Throughout my 27 years at KPMG, I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities to take on many roles. With each, I was able to develop myself and others, and work with world-class companies.
Soon after I became a partner in the firm, and transitioned to consulting with clients on key business and financial risks, I met one of the leaders of KPMG’s Network of Women, and she asked me to help lead the network’s New York chapter.
I accepted, and it turned out to be one of the most meaningful roles I’ve had. Spending time with our young women, helping them set career goals, coaching and mentoring them, and providing them with leadership opportunities has given me even more purpose in a career that was extraordinarily satisfying.
As an executive and a member of several boards, I’ve become attuned to many issues, including the depiction of girls and women in media, equal access to education, and health and safety. This knowledge makes me more passionate about finding ways to help women within and beyond KPMG. I’ve done this by working with NGOs and leading KPMG’s Women’s Advisory Board (WAB), in addition to my responsibilities working with our key insurance clients.
Leading the WAB has given me the opportunity to work with a team of senior men and women partners, as well as our most senior leaders, to connect with high-potential women, and initiate and evolve policies to help develop, advance, and retain them.
While all the roles I’ve held at KPMG have been professionally and personally rewarding, it’s my role as the chair of WAB that has helped define my purpose. I believe that, together, we can continue to make our firm a place where women thrive.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
To succeed in consulting, you need depth in many different areas, including being an “expert” in your practice area, and understanding your clients’ businesses, and emerging risks and opportunities in their industries. You also need to develop and nurture strong relationships, both with colleagues and clients, and to surround yourself with really bright people. As important, you must always be focused on talent management—that’s the key to success in my field.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
I have had too many role models, sponsors, and mentors to name them all, but my family probably has had the most impact on my career and my life. My mom and dad instilled in me that I could do anything I wanted, and always provided the encouragement and support I needed. My sister is also a role model to me, in every way. She is an amazing mother of six, as well as an artist and friend.
Suzanne’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Own your career and ask for what you want. So often, young women will put their heads down, work hard, and expect to get ahead. It doesn’t work that way. Be able to talk about the value you bring, work hard for your leaders, and ask that they sponsor you for the opportunities you want. Develop a strong network, both inside and outside your organization, and don’t be afraid to ask those individuals to help you. And when someone opens the door to an opportunity, run, don’t walk, through it!