Cheryl Cruz


The career of CPA Cheryl Cruz is nothing short of impressive. She’s been a legislative aid to Massachusetts Rep. Royal Bolling Jr.; a special assistant to New York Sen. H. Carl McCall; a law clerk for the Attorney General of California, the California Court of Appeals and the SEC; a real estate developer; and a tax supervisor for Coopers & Lybrand—just to name a few.

But the apex of her career, she says, is working with students as an accounting educator. “Whether it’s helping them with the subject matter, or finding the career path that’s right for them, or expanding their résumés to land that first job, I love being a mentor,” says Cruz.

Cruz is associate dean of undergraduate studies at California State University, Los Angeles. There, among other things, she reviews curriculum across all of the university’s disciplines, encompassing six colleges and more than 50 departments and programs. Cruz began at Cal State LA in 1990 as a lecturer, quickly rising to professor and, later, chair of the department of accounting.

To what does she owe her success? “My father always told me, without a good foundation, the building crumbles. And accounting is the foundation upon which all other business disciplines stand,” Cruz says. “Any part of a business—whether it’s finance, management or marketing—can’t do anything until accountants provide the numbers.”

Cruz holds a bachelor’s degree in retail marketing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; an MBA in finance from Northeastern University in Boston; a J.D. from UCLA Law School; and a master’s in business taxation from the University of Southern California.

But after all those degrees and job titles, her career has come full circle, back to the halls of a school building. And she couldn’t be happier. “It’s a very rewarding career,” she says.