The Little Things Truly Are Important

I recall meeting the former chairman of KPMG when I was a young manager, working on a large proposal and he was in a regional industry partner role. He always made it a point to say hello or leave a personal note when he visited the office where I was based. I’ll never forget those notes. It was a small gesture. But it said a lot about Tim Flynn, and a lot about the importance of the little things impacting those around you. It sounds a bit cliché, but in my view, the little things do make a difference and are remembered.

KPMG clearly is focused on audit quality, and we are focused on people and culture across our multidisciplinary firm, designing programs that build strong teams by engaging diverse professionals from various functions. We encourage a learning culture, not only for technical skills, but also leadership development. We’re also making progress on inclusion and diversity, but recognize we can get better and we’re passionate about always looking forward.

Our Women’s Advisory Board, Audit 90 Experience, and Stacy Lewis Rising Stars Invitational program are among the initiatives that encourage the development and retention of talented women through support and mentorship. I’ve been privileged to have mentored many of our bright professionals, and I encourage them to keep an inventory of their accomplishments, to be confident that the next step is attainable, and to set goals. I urge them to get outside their comfort zone, and to develop strong relationships within and outside our firm.

I try to lead by example—serving on the Women’s Advisory Board and the KPMG Board; co-chairing KPMG’s Network of Women (KNOW); and working with the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the Minnesota chapter of Women Corporate Directors, and other groups in my community. My experiences have helped me be more open-minded, think strategically, and adapt gracefully to challenges and opportunities.

I was fortunate to have had exceptional mentors and sponsors early in my career, and I believe I have a responsibility to pay that forward. Here are some of my strategies for building a successful career:

  • Show up prepared—technical knowledge is the price of entry.
  • Integrity and core values are key to success.
  • Exude confidence and humility, and pass those skills along by teaching others.
  • Inspire others to lead.
  • Be empathetic.
  • Earn respect and then nurture it.
  • Communicate—a quick note or a small expression of appreciation is as effective as a big public acknowledgement.
  • Enjoy the journey!