Princeton, NJ – WithumSmith+Brown, PC (Withum), a top nationally ranked public accounting and advisory firm, recently named seven employees as the recipients of its Strength Awards, an annual peer-nominated recognition program celebrating staff members who embody Withum’s core values. The honorees were recognized by more than 800 of their peers at Withum’s annual State of the Firm meeting.

“These extremely talented and innovative-thinking Withum team members have raised the bar when it comes to industry expertise, client services and genuine consideration of others,” said Bill Hagaman, the firm’s managing partner and CEO. “Because of these attributes, we are proud to recognize each of them for their position-of-strength achievements.”

Among this year’s Strength Awards honorees are:

  • Val Orekhov of Arlington County, VA, is the recipient of the Frederick S. Withum Outstanding Achievement Award. Demonstrating enormous expertise, leadership skills and an admirable level of proactivity, the firm’s Chief Technology Officer embodies expertise, leadership and proactivity. Notably, he excels in the Office 365 and Azure technology platforms and, as a result, continually expands the potential of Withum’s One Window product. Not only did Orekhov work tirelessly to release the next product, he also is committed to Withum’s customers and shows unparalleled initiative in developing solutions and generating requirements.


  • Jessica Giresi of Ocean County, N.J., is the recipient of the Leonard H. Smith Strength of Client Service Award. In her role as a senior manager within the Forensic and Valuation Services Group, Giresi is more than an accountant who provides outstanding service. She is widely acknowledged by industry peers and leaders alike for her expertise in forensic accounting, financial reporting, business valuation and litigation consulting. In addition, she is a past recipient of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Standing Ovation Award.


  • Vicki Beirne of Monmouth County, N.J., is the recipient of the Withum Administrative Strength Award. As the office manager of Withum’s East Brunswick location for the past six years, she has spearheaded a team of 11 administrative professionals – the backbone of the office operations. In 2017, she supervised and coordinated every facet of the office’s relocation, ensuring efficiency and a smooth transition for one and all.


  • Robert Ghanem of Monmouth County, N.J., is the recipient of the Withum Innovative Strength Award. Based in Princeton and a member of the Corporate Value Consulting (CVC) team, Ghanem was recognized for designing and developing the firm’s Global Transfer Pricing Analysis Model, which has resulted in cost savings, greater consistency and a rise in quality control. Thanks to his innovative design, Ghanem’s model takes two to three hours for completion, significantly decreasing the once two-to-three-day timeline. In addition, he created a Best Practices Manual Guide detailing how to run this program.


  • Matt Basilo of Bergen County, N.J., is the recipient of the Withum Community Strength Award. For 10 weeks, this Interactive Marketing Manager worked unflaggingly while campaigning for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Man and Woman of the Year award. Establishing an ambitious goal to raise $50,000, Basilo hosted special events and an online auction. Not only did he surpass his goal by raising $62,000, he was named the Beacon of Hope honoree by the LLS. Basilo also collaborates with Withum’s Community Outreach Group to help organize the Withum Week of Caring and their $5 Fundraising Fridays. In addition, he organizes the firm’s 300 Running Club.


  • Anurag Sharma of Mercer County, N.J., is the recipient of the Withum Marketing Strength Award. With Sharma at the helm, the rollout of Withum’s Cyber Secure Services has raised cybersecurity awareness within the business sector to new heights. Deeply committed to this ever-challenging and evolving sector, his persistence to client and industry education is unwavering. Sharma, along with the SOC Services team, also signed several key contracts and contributed to numerous SOC assignments in auditing and consulting commitments.


  • Jennifer Safeer of Ocean County, N.J., is the recipient of the Ivan C. Brown Withum Way Award. The firm’s Chief Financial Officer was honored with this year’s CEO-selected award for her commitment to excellence and loyalty during her 23+ year tenure at Withum. Safeer, who leads by example in the spirit of the Withum Way, spearheaded the Practice Engine build out, which resulted in higher-quality reporting. Her inexhaustible work ethic also led the firm’s efforts to be even more metric and data driven in terms of its centralized billing. Safeer earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Georgian Court University and is active in several professional and civic organizations, including the Lakewood and Toms River Chambers of Commerce.

Established in 1974, Withum is committed to providing quality services and innovative solutions to businesses, not-for-profits, individuals and communities. As one of the nation’s largest accounting and consulting firms, Withum also is a member of HLB International, worldwide network of independent professional accounting firms and business advisers committed to assisting clients to build and expand globally.