Carlisle accountant drives equitable health as Capital Region Leaders of Impact winner

William Oyster, certified public accountant at the Carlisle, Pa., office of Smith Elliott Kearns and Company LLC, has been named the American Heart Association Capital Region 2023 Leaders of Impact winner for their work in driving equitable health in the community. In the greater Harrisburg area, life expectancy varies by 22 years which can often be caused by the social determinants of health and the barriers to achieving health equity for all communities — factors that include structural racism[1] and lacking access to quality healthcare[2].

Over the course of seven weeks, Oyster participated the blind fundraising competition and was named the 2023 Leaders of Impact winner with a total of $20,100 raised.

Oyster is a member of the firm’s tax and accounting services department and has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting. He serves as an instructor for the firm’s in-house training programs on governmental and nonprofit accounting, a presenter for the firm’s annual client seminars, and has been invited to speak at numerous external association events. In addition to his work with the American Heart Association, Oyster serves on the finance committee for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, treasurer for Poiema Visual Arts and past treasurer and past president of New Hope Ministries.

“Being involved with the Leaders of Impact campaign was an amazing experience,” said Oyster. “Getting to work with the first-rate team at the American Heart Association, and the overwhelming support from the community was tremendous!”

Funds raised through Leaders of Impact will support the Association’s 2024 Impact Goal which aims to advance cardiovascular health for all including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality. In the Capital Region, the Association is focused on improving nutrition security and reducing uncontrolled high blood pressure.

“For nearly 100 years, the American Heart Association has been devoted to a world of healthier lives for all and has invested in community health and innovative research that save and improve lives,” said Christian C. Merritt III, chair of the American Heart Association, South Central Pennsylvania board of directors and 2022 Leaders of Impact winner. “I got involved with the American Heart Association through the Leaders of Impact campaign last year to honor my grandfather, and also my mother’s siblings, who share a history of cardiac events. The mission is personal to so many of us who have the opportunity to make an impact through our personal and professional networks.”

Leaders of Impact launched on Sept. 29, World Heart Day in 150 cities across the nation and culminated on Nov. 15, National Philanthropy Day. Each nominee’s participation focused on opportunities to be a changemaker with a shared purpose to raise the critical awareness, action and fund the mission of the American Heart Association.

Susan Yohn, director of human resources at Brown Shultz Sheridan and Fritz, was also a Capital Region Leaders of Impact nominee and raised over $8,000.

Leaders of Impact is held annually as a part of the fundraising campaign for the Capital Region Heart Ball, set for Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 at the Hershey Lodge. The event will celebrate the American Heart Association’s 100-year anniversary and significant milestones in the Association’s history.

For more information about Leaders of Impact and the Capital Region Heart Ball, visit

Read more about all of the 2023 Leaders of Impact nominees in Pennsylvania. Leaders of Impact campaigns in full swing across Pennsylvania