Great Women of Texas 2019: Donna Rutter

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Donna Rutter, CPA

Executive Director – Indirect Tax Services


Donna Rutter has emerged as a leader in Texas state taxation matters among her peers in Texas and across the country and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants relies on her leadership and tax technical experience to train and support other CPAs in the state, said nominator Susan Montgomery of the Rainwater Foundation.

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Rutter graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a BBA in accounting. She has more than 25 year of experience in taxation with 21 of those years being multi‐state tax experience at Big 4 accounting firms, including Arthur Anderson, KPMG and Ernst & Young. At Fort Worth’s Hartman, Leito & Bolt, she served on the executive committee for the 90-employee accounting firm.

Rutter reviews tax legislation and provides comments to the Texas Society of CPAs and testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee.

As a member of the Comptroller’s Taxpayer Advisory Group, she meets regularly with the Texas Comptroller and executive leadership to review and advise on pending state tax regulations or policy changes.

Philanthropic and civic involvement includes Alliance for Children, membership in United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, Fort Worth’s Good Neighbor Animal Rescue, North Texas Food Bank, the YMCA, Girls Club of North America, as a children’s Sunday School teacher at St Michael’s Church, a Girl Scout Assistant Troop Leader and The Board Connection.

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– Paul K. Harral

What advice would you give young women rising to a position of prominence?

You have to be willing to leave your comfort zone, to try new things and challenge yourself. It seems to me that the most rewarding feeling of satisfaction comes when you work hard at something that challenges you and causes some level of discomfort. You may have to try it more than once before you get it right, so don’t give up. That is key to growth and self-improvement. It’s how you reach your full potential and get to the next level.

You could choose to spend your time many ways; why do you choose to spend it the way you do?

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I am very fortunate and grateful to have such a wonderful family that I want to give back to our community and try to help others as much as I can. Volunteering with organizations such as Alliance for Children, that have such a positive impact on our community, is very rewarding. Knowing that you are helping a child heal and recover, at the same time you are educating the community to stop the cycle of abuse is a great investment of time.

As a CPA, we have a responsibility  to our profession and to the community. I choose to volunteer with our Texas Society of CPAs and our Fort Worth Chapter of the TXCPA’s because of all the great CPAs you get the honor of serving with in Texas.

Who is the most significant role model and/or mentor in your life?

There are many people who influence your life, so it’s difficult to choose one. My mother, Gloria Hughes, taught me to work hard, be independent and take care of yourself. She was a single mom raising three children in Diamond Hill in the 1970s while going to school to give us a better life. My brothers and I owe our success to her. In the workplace, I was fortunate to have two mentors that had significant impact and shaped my career. Both Tracy Bolt and Jim Leito saw the potential and were willing to invest in me. Their confidence and guidance gave me the confidence in myself that was lacking.

What would you like for us to know that we might not know to ask?

 I ran my first marathon at the age of 40 in Chicago and qualified for the Boston Marathon. I learned to Scuba dive at 50, and that was really out of my comfort zone!  Both of my daughters and son-in-law are all TCU alumni. Go Frogs