Jan I. Sylvis
2019 Hall of Fame Inductee
Jan I. Sylvis began working for the state of Tennessee in 1979, spending almost 12 years with the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury before moving to the Department of Finance and Administration. After four years as director of audit and consulting services, she became chief of accounts in 1995, a post she held until her retirement in December 2014.
As the state’s controller, Sylvis implemented Tennessee’s first financial data warehouse and developed the financial infrastructure for statewide e-commerce initiatives. She initiated the state’s web portal, providing citizen access to departmental financial transactions. Under her leadership, Tennessee was the first state to participate in NASACT’s Benchmarking Program, which was developed to measure state performance against peers and the private sector.
Serving during a time of rapid business process transformation, she leveraged data and innovative technology to improve financial operations for her state.
Sylvis was a member of the AICPA’s Government and Not-for-Profit Expert Panel. She was active in both NASC and NASACT, serving as president of NASC in 1999 and president of NASACT in 2007.
Also in 2007, she was selected to serve as a member of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. During her tenure, the Board addressed significant standards including Statements 67 and 68 on pensions, 74 and 75 on OPEB, and the financial reporting model project. In addition to serving as a regular board member, in 2015 Sylvis was named vice chair of the GASB and was tasked with facilitating stakeholder outreach and enhancing GASB’s communication to constituent groups.
Sylvis has been recognized for her commitment to government excellence and innovation by her peers with a number of awards, including several from AGA, as well as President’s Awards and Distinguished Service Awards from both NASC and NASACT. In 2017, she became the first woman to receive the NASC Louis L. Goldstein Distinguished Leadership Award.
Sylvis has been an inspiration and a mentor to many and has worked tirelessly during her career to improve government effectiveness and transparency at all levels.