• Sarah Hayward, Author |

3 min read

Every now and then, a project at work takes on an unanticipated meaning. For me, KPMG in Canada's "We're invested" brand campaign is one of them. With the goal of shining a light on the amazing impact our people are making in helping Canadians, their businesses and our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic, I learned first-hand not just about the work they were doing but about the stories behind the work—the stories of the people themselves. What motivates them. What they care about. Why they do what they do. Who they are.

And you know what? The 'why' behind every single one of their stories can be distilled down to the purest of reasons: they wanted to help.

I invite you to read their stories, and I hope they inspire you as much as they have me.

Stories like Minci's, for whom the opportunity to help in this way has changed the way she sees her future.

Like Yanic, who knew in an instant his skillset could help companies navigate the unimaginable.

Like 'Dele, who shared that the opportunity to do this work and give back as a co-op student was one of the reasons why he signed on permanently with KPMG.

Like C.J., who remembers a personal tragedy all too well and the healthcare workers who were there for her. She wanted to return their compassion with more of the same.

Like Davin, who'd never expected his particular knowledge and skills could make such a difference to frontline workers.

Like Micaela, who knows her neighbours like she knows herself. It's just who she is to be by their side in times of hardship.

And like Amy, who, as a mother of three, couldn't bear the thought of school children going hungry.

These seven people and the teams they work with live our firm's values completely. We chose these stories because they very much represent who we are, what we do and the role we play in our Canadian communities. The positive impact these seven had, their eagerness to jump in to lend a hand and their commitment to their communities represents our people, regardless if they are a KPMG Partner, Manager or Administrative Assistant, or whether they live in Victoria, Halifax, Toronto or Montreal. While just a small sample, stories like these fill every KPMG office across the country. I am inspired to be "invested."

Two years ago, we could have said our work matters and our people would have agreed. But, during COVID, they've said they felt like the work they were doing didn't just matter—it was making a positive and lasting difference they could actually see.

It was, in short, no longer in any way theoretical or abstract.

We saw individuals and organizations in unprecedented numbers reach out to our teams for guidance in navigating COVID; they engaged with us in social media conversations and spent more time on our website to find answers to the growing list of questions we all faced during the peak of COVID. Our work shifted to focus on what organizations needed to survive this unprecedented period—and the difference our people were making to their clients and communities was very tangible to our teams across Canada.

It has, of course, been the hardest of years for all of us. For me, it's also been one of the most inspirational. Like any brand marketer, I'm always looking for differentiators. What makes KPMG special or even unique? I've worked here for 17 years—in pursuits, accounts, marketing and communications—and have always known the answer, but I've never really understood it. It's quite clearly our people, but it wasn't until "We're invested" and I learned the individual stories behind each of these KPMGers (and others!) that it truly hit home.

KPMG in Canada is a values-based organization, filled with values-based individuals who attract other values-based people. Distill that down and you get seven stories from six different locations, all of which have one simple truth in common: these individuals are motivated purely to help others in need, to make a tangible difference in their lives.

Put another way: we're talking about some 8,000 people in villages, towns and cities all across Canada all eager to stand by their neighbours. To be the rising tide that lifts all boats.

I'd say that is a true differentiator.

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