Honoree Headshot

Mary Ellen Harris

Chief Human Resources Officer
Kreischer Miller LLC

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Founded: 1975
Industry: Professional Services | Public Accounting

Mary Ellen Harris, Ph.D., followed a unique path to her role as chief human resources officer at Kreischer Miller because she’s been hired by the company three separate times.

She first joined the firm in 1999 and served until 2005. In 2007, the owners requested that she return to lead the company through an acquisition of another firm. She remained with Kreischer Miller until February 2014. In the summer of 2021, the owners reached out to her again to request that she return as the firm’s chief human resources officer.

She has come back to the same company each time, in part, because she values integrity above all else, and Kreischer Miller has demonstrated that.

“Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to observe people in leadership positions who demonstrated integrity as well as people in leadership roles who did not,” she said. “The results and impact of those who operated with integrity compared to those who did not is astonishing. The leaders who acted with integrity led their organizations to success and growth. Whereas the leaders who did not act (with) integrity led their organizations into failure and, in one case, to bankruptcy.”

Kreischer Miller is a leading independent accounting, tax and advisory firm, serving the Greater Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley areas. The firm is built to address the needs of private companies, helping them transition through growth phases, business cycles and ownership changes.

Harris’ career began in 1990 when she joined Rent- A-Center as a regional human resources assistant. She progressed into increasingly more responsible and executive-level roles with numerous employers. Harris initially joined Kreischer Miller in 1999 as the firm’s first human resources professional, charged with building the human resources function organically and establishing all aspects of peoplerelated programs and policies. Her efforts resulted in the growth of the organization from 65 employees in 1999 to 250 employees today, as well as growth in the firm’s revenues from $7 million in 1999 to $43 million in 2021.

Two of Harris’ most noteworthy initiatives include establishing a full-scale, in-house training program known as Kreischer Miller University, which provides for all of the learning and development needs for employees. She also helped start a people development model that creates pathways for success for each employee by focusing on competencies, career paths, feedback and development plans.

“I plan to remain influential by continuing to teach as an adjunct professor at Eastern University as well as continuing to serve as a coach and mentor to others,” Harris said. “Sharing my time and experience with others will enable me to assist others as they traverse their learning journeys and career journeys. It is extremely fulfilling to be a witness to the success of the individuals I have taught and mentored.”

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Honoree fun fact

A fun fact about Mary Ellen is that she and her husband David enjoy traveling via motorcycle. Her favorite motorcycle trip was the summer vacation they took when they toured upstate New York and visited Old Forge, Lake George, Lake Placid, Thousand Islands, and Niagara Falls. They traveled 2500 miles during that trip!

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