KPMG’s Sponsorship Program Propels Ladies of Coloration to Success By Significant Connections and Alternatives
1. To what extent was the KPMG sponsorship program particularly helpful for you as a woman of color?
The KPMG sponsorship program was particularly helpful for me, a woman of color, because it gave me direct access to a partner within the law firm who gave me open feedback on my development; challenged me to get out of my comfort zone in areas where I might want to be in the shade; offered me the opportunity to be sponsored by someone who worked in a different industry; and was a representative of a different race and sex than me.
As a woman of color, I have always drawn to mentors and sponsors who “looked like me” and thought that support from those who are completely opposite to me from a demographic point of view could not be experienced or flourished. I am living proof that a meaningful impact can be made by partnering with the right person to take care of the career development and advancement of their protégés. I also recently heard at a panel event that women of color were statistically given too much support and too little support. KPMG’s sponsorship program is strategic to differentiate the role between mentors and sponsors, and to ensure that sponsors are truly an advocate for their protégés when it matters most.
2. To what extent has the support from your colleagues / company helped you to grow in your career?
I experienced my most significant development in my career through my involvement in the business resource groups and leadership development programs of our company. I am actively involved in KPMG’s Network of Women (KNOW) and African Ancestry Business Resource Groups. My involvement has allowed me to participate in a variety of leadership development programs covering topics such as personal leadership styles, communication skills, and business acumen – all of which have made me the leader I am today. I find these resources to be as useful as the technical training that is part of the curriculum in helping me meet my professional standards as an accountant.
3. What are some of the biggest barriers to your career advancement?
When I think about my 15 year career in public accounting, I would sum up my biggest obstacles in my career as not being able to move up to different levels / positions at the pace I wanted most. Right now, hearing the words “not yet” can be frustrating and can sometimes blow your mind. I always take my time to think about the “not yet”, but I don’t stop. I regroup and take the insights from my reflection phase to reevaluate and create an action plan for the next phase to achieve my next goal. In retrospect, when I have achieved my goals, the purpose of the delay or detour becomes clearer and I appreciate what has been achieved even more.
4. Was there a crucial moment in your career and what did you learn from it?
I can’t identify a single decisive moment in my career, but I can say that in the seven years I’ve been with KPMG there have been many milestones in my career. I switched to work for a large private equity client in asset management, traveled internationally with the firm, spoke at numerous training and recruitment events and now share my career highlights and advice with others in a Seramount feature. I learned that a young, introverted black girl who grew up in a neighborhood called Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas, can dream big and dream big.
5. What advice would you give other women of color as they advance in their careers?
My personal guiding principles are to be true to your authentic self, to know who you are and what you value most, and not to allow anyone to downplay or devalue what is important to you.