When financial executive Michele Heath arrived in Cincinnati nearly three years ago, she came with two goals in mind: mentoring young women and breaking the minority barrier in her profession.

At Ernst & Young, an international accounting firm, the Cleveland native is now senior manager in the firm’s risk advisory practice and leader of its Ohio Valley data analytics team. She’s also moving forward with her goals.

“Growing up in an urban environment, I received a lot of resources,” she says. “I want to give back to others. I’m new to the city and have been able to accomplish a lot in a short period of time.”

At Ernst & Young, Heath serves as a mentor to new female colleagues to help ease their transition into the firm. She also is Ernst & Young’s ethnicity leader for its Cincinnati and Dayton offices. In that role, Heath spearheads an effort to ensure minorities receive the right tools and resources to help advance their careers and also are provided with professional development and networking opportunities.

Outside of work, Heath has mentored young women to help them excel academically. She has coordinated curriculum and activities for high school students through the Cincinnati chapter of Leaders of Tomorrow, a program that recognizes young people who have been active volunteers in their communities.

She is Greater Southern Ohio president for the National Association of Black Accountants and president of the Cincinnati chapter of the National Black MBA Association.

She also works with Ohio College Tech Prep, a program that promotes interest among young women in the profession of technology, and serves on the board of The Women’s Circuit, an organization that promotes women in technology. In addition, through Girl Scouts of the USA, she works with elementary school girls to develop leadership skills and self-esteem.

Heath also gives her time to the YWCA, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, public service organization Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., CET public television, Cincinnati Works, which helps bring hope and encouragement to people living in poverty, and The Cincinnati Chapter of the Links Inc., a predominantly African-American women’s volunteer service organization.

Heath, who was part of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Leadership Cincinnati USA Class of XXXI and named a 2007 YWCA Rising Star, says she’s not slowing in her efforts anytime soon. “I would like to continue to advance my career and be the first African-American partner in the big four accounting firms in Cincinnati,” she says. “I’d also like the opportunity to sit on a for-profit board.”