N.J. Society of CPAs names Johnson to succeed Thomas as CEO

Aiysha Johnson, who brings decades of accounting experience at both public and nonprofit organizations — and domestically and internationally — has been selected to replace the retiring Ralph Thomas as CEO and executive director of the New Jersey Society of CPAs, the organization announced Monday.

Thomas announced earlier this year that he will be retiring June 30.

Johnson will bring a wealth of association management experience to the NJCPA as she transitions from her role as executive director of BKR International’s Americas Region, where she was responsible for overseeing the implementation of all strategic efforts for BKR accounting and business advisory member firms in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. She also has more than 20 years of experience working for nonprofits, including professional and trade associations, building strategic partnerships and developing member value strategies.

Prior to BKR, Johnson held various leadership positions, including director of brand experience and marketing. She also worked at Vizient, the nation’s largest health care performance improvement company, supporting members with complex benchmarking needs. Throughout her career, she has organized meetings domestically and internationally, convened CEO roundtables and led organizational change and governance efforts, technological transformation and member development.

Johnson, who goes by A.J., acknowledged the work of the highly regarded Thomas while expressing enthusiasm for the chance to succeed him.

“It is an honor to continue to support the profession and build upon the amazing success of my predecessor,” she said. “My experience at BKR International has equipped me with the knowledge to understand current challenges facing the profession globally.

“The NJCPA remains strongly positioned to support CPAs and accounting professionals. I look forward to working closely with constituents and our members to ensure that their needs are represented and addressed.”

NJCPA President Kathleen Powers, the chief financial officer at Chelsea Senior Living, said the organization is thrilled to have Johnson join the team.

“We could not be more excited to have A.J. at the helm. She is well-versed in the accounting profession globally and in New Jersey,” she said. “She is knowledgeable about how CPAs can strengthen their organizations and personal brands.”

Johnson, who lives in Jersey City, has a Midwest background.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in health education and promotion at Western Illinois University and a Master of Arts at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice at the University of Chicago. She also completed the Global Senior Management Program at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and the IE School of Business (Madrid). In addition, she completed the American Institute of CPAs Data Analytics Executive Program.

Johnson recently served on the University of Chicago’s alumni board, and previously served as the vice president and director-at-large of the Chicago Women’s Alliance. She has volunteered as a professional coach for students in the college and was the Crown Family School’s New York alumni regional chair.