5 Pieces of Advice from Women to Watch in Sales Tax

March is the official Women’s History Month, but we’ve spent the last 18 months celebrating women making history in our field with our Women to Watch in Sales Tax YouTube series. So far, we’ve spoken with 32 women with diverse experiences in sales tax, from government to consulting to tax technology to industry and beyond!

Everyone’s path to sales tax is different. The stories from these women inspire sales tax pros, new and experienced, to follow their passion, to seek out connections in the field, and to never stop learning.

Check out these memorable highlights from the series and soak up the advice from five awesome women in sales tax.


Chanel Christoff Davis

Founder & CEO, Davis Davis & Harmon LLC

Over the past 20 years, Chanel’s leadership has grown Davis Davis & Harmon, a boutique sales and use tax advisory practice, into the largest woman and minority owned sales tax practice in the United States. She is a leader and educator in the field who is mentoring and developing the next generation of sales tax consultants.

“You’re in the right place. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. When I started, we weren’t the sexiest professional service group out there. Now when I introduce myself, [people are] immediately drawn to me, they immediately have questions for me. We were tenacious and persistent, and we didn’t give up on our practice because we weren’t popular. We used to be the bore in the room, now we’re the new kids on the block!” – Chanel Christoff Davis


Kate Shields

Chief Customer Officer, Vertex Inc.

Kate works at one of the largest sales tax technology firms striving to make the customer experience and partner experience best in class. Kate recognized the need for a space to connect women in the field, so she started a group called “Women in Tax Technology” that has had a resounding positive response from hundreds of women.

“Be who you are and be that well. In sales tax, you bring something special regardless of where you’re at in your career. What your perspective is, what makes you different – that is part of what makes you who you are and helps to show the value you bring to any situation.” – Kate Shields


Jamie Szal

Partner, Brann & Isaacson

Jamie focuses her practice on assisting businesses in all aspects of state and local tax controversy, from regulatory and administrative proceedings through civil litigation. Fun fact, Jamie worked on the legendary South Dakota v. Wayfair case! She uses her legal background and experience with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue to guide her clients forward in the new post-Wayfair sales tax world.

“Pursue that interest if you have it. Don’t be concerned that there’s not that many women, or that there’s not that many people. We’re here. We’re really supportive of one another, we love what we’re doing. I can’t wait until there’s more of us at the table.” – Jamie Szal


Kexin Smith

Sales Tax Team Lead, LedgerGurus

Kexin was recruited by LedgerGurus, an accounting services firm that specializes in e-commerce, to head a new sales tax team even though she had no prior sales tax experience. She took on the challenge and quickly became the go-to sales tax leader in her company by throwing herself into research and being thirsty for more knowledge. 

“You need to have the attitude of continuous learning. There’s so much to learn and there are always updates and changes to legislation. As long as you remain curious and eager to learn, you will thrive in this field.” – Kexin Smith


Christie Comanita

Director of Research and State Compliance, Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board

The Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) Governing Board plays an incredibly important role in simplifying sales tax across the country. Christie provides leadership through state law research and ensuring that SST member states stay in compliance with their agreement. Her involvement in SST dates back to 2001 when she was an original state delegate during its formative years.

“What I would say to women in college, just starting out, or looking for a new career is that sales tax is a world of ever-changing issues. You don’t get a lot of dull moments in sales tax. If you’re looking for something that changes nearly every day and is challenging, sales tax is a world for you.” – Christie Comanita


Women in Sales Tax: Leaders, Mentors, Nerds!

A huge thank you to all of the women who have participated in our Women to Watch in Sales Tax series thus far. You inspire and encourage us to be bold, unabashed sales tax nerds who pursue work with passion and make a difference in the workplace and beyond.

Make sure to check out the full series: Women to Watch in Sales Tax

If you know a woman working in the sales tax field (in any role!) that should be a part of our series, please nominate her by emailing us at [email protected]! We are excited to keep expanding this project to bring you more diverse voices and experiences and inspiring stories.

Cheers to the resilience and the influence of women in sales tax everywhere! Happy Women’s History Month.

Posted on March 8, 2022