Role models and mentors have had a significant impact throughout my career and in developing my strategy on how to integrate my family, career and community activities. I have been fortunate enough to have had many women leaders as role models during my career at KPMG, from senior partners who are now retired to women leaders in the firm who are encouraging and supportive. From them I have learned much. It is my mentors, both men and women, who have contributed most to shaping my views.
Over the course of my career, my mentors have encouraged and inspired me. They’ve served as a sounding board and provided level-headed advice. They’ve asked me tough questions and told me hard truths. In sum, they’ve helped me see things more clearly and inspired me to strive to reach my full potential.
There are three pieces of advice I received from listening and watching important mentors in my life that I’d like to pass along.
One has to do with dealing with adversity. Many can lead when times are good; however, a great leader must be big enough to admit their mistakes, smart enough to profit from them and strong enough to correct them. And our conduct when we are correcting our mistakes will tell others the most about our character.
The term work-life balance sometimes conjures a sense that to have more of one means having less of the other. Another piece of advice from a long-time mentor challenged me to defy this thinking. Work is part of life; family is part of life; and focusing on excellence, whether I’m with my kids, my spouse, or my work, makes me better at all aspects of what I do. It also provides me with the capacity for more of both. Finding ways to integrate all aspects of life provides balance for me when demands sometimes cause conflicts.
The last piece of mentoring advice I’ll share I learned from my dad, who was an outstanding elementary school principal. He always told me that a great leader is one who excels at helping others achieve their goals. I placed this simple philosophical ideal at the center of how I’ve served clients, how I lead my teams, and how I continue to serve my fellow partners at KPMG.