After one of the most challenging periods in our collective history, KPMG leaders are committed to working together towards a common goal: to help build a stronger and more prosperous future for our communities, clients and Canadians.
This is our leadership team. These are their stories. Their values. And the commitments they are making to drive positive impact in Canada.
When I started at KPMG, I didn’t expect to stay. A full career later I am still here.
I have always been the kind of person that looks to others to help push me, to challenge me, and to support me in taking big steps. Having that support has gotten me to where I am today. It has also given me a collaborative spirit and a desire to be there for others. And it is why I have stayed at KPMG.
When I was building my career our partnership was not nearly as diverse as it is now. Most of the partners and leaders were men, and while I didn’t feel as though my gender was a barrier, it did give me a different perspective on things. I knew where I wanted to get to and what my ambitions were, and I delayed having children. Accomplish one before the other.
I was lucky. I had mentors who not only helped me get there, they encouraged me to aspire for more.
I came to understand that I could be both a mother and a successful leader. And in doing so, I could set an example for the women who came behind me. Our boardrooms and our leadership teams look a lot different today than they did when I started. It is a responsibility we don’t take lightly.
We all need to continue to drive change. To create opportunity. To push ourselves to give people the tools they need to reach their goals, and to set bigger goals.
If we can do that, just imagine what we can accomplish.
I have always been someone who approaches things a little differently.
There is an approach and perspective that I bring to leadership that comes from my parents and the values they instilled in me throughout my childhood. The values were simple – work hard, be kind, always try to do the right thing. It was implicit that we also had to work a little harder than the rest, which is something that I have always considered an asset, an advantage even.
My father came to Canada to work on a railway – he left everything he knew behind in order to create a new opportunity for his family. He told us he was selected from a group of young Italian men because he had the biggest calluses on his hands. He understood the value of hard work and he insisted that his children did too. It made us each ambitious, resourceful and comfortable being uncomfortable.
When I was hired at KPMG in Canada I never thought I would spend my whole career here. I certainly never imagined being CEO.
I stayed because I was given a chance and because I understood that there was always another opportunity around the corner – a new challenge, something I could do that would stretch me. This is now my chance to pay it forward by creating opportunities for the diverse and talented partners, leaders, and young people who join the firm each year.
My team knows that I never want us to get too comfortable. That I think being different makes us better. I know that growth isn't always easy, but it is what makes us who we are.
When I think about what I want my legacy to be, it is quite simple – for KPMG to be the firm that attracts the most talented people. I feel confident that we will collectively accomplish that goal, because we push each other to work hard, to do the right thing, and to focus on the future. Simple values that never get old.
This is my last job. One thing I know for certain is that I am going to make it count.
I learned early on in my career that what we do matters. And how we do it matters even more.
This past year has been many things - it has been immensely challenging, it has shown us our collective weaknesses and vulnerabilities as communities and as individuals. It has also shown us our strengths, our resilience and our ability to come together, for better.
I run the audit practice at KPMG Canada. We have a team of 3222 people supporting clients across the country from Victoria to St. John’s. Everyone has had to adjust and learn to approach our work differently. Some adjustments have been easier to make than others. Our digital transformation has made so many things possible, but over the last 12 months our team has worked countless hours supporting Canadian businesses and some of them have yet to have the simple pleasure of meeting each other in person. It might seem like a small thing, but in a business that is all about collaborating, it matters. For me, those connections have created lifelong relationships.
When I think about a defining moment earlier in my career it is when I was hired to be our Head of People. That’s when I found my voice. I would not be where I am today without having had that experience. It taught me to find a better way and to speak up for what I believe in. That to lead is not just about creating the vision but about clearing the path. Because our people are our greatest strength.
This past year has made us all innovate, accelerate our thinking, and find new ways of doing things. It has changed the way we think about our jobs and our lives. I want to make it better, easier, kinder. That means thinking about physical health, mental health, individual needs and collective goals differently than we have before.
It is time for us all to fight for the things we care about and to do it in a way that will lead others to follow. It is time to be bold and tenacious. To make inclusive decisions. To do the right thing.
So, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you.
Thank you for persevering through adversity.
Thank you for supporting each other.
Thank you for inspiring me.
I have always thought of myself as an entrepreneur.
I don’t remember ever thinking of myself in any other way.
My family immigrated to Canada when I was eight. We all lived in a one bedroom apartment together while my father started his own business, just as my grandfather had done when he left Europe. We were taught to understand that finding success is not about ideas, but about making ideas happen.
I grew up knowing that while talent is universal, opportunity is not. I always understood that I needed to go out and find it, and I was driven to make that happen.
When I was hired at KPMG I was determined to get as much experience and knowledge as I could before launching my own business. I had no intention of staying and yet the firm surprised me - they made it clear that there were countless opportunities to be entrepreneurial if I was prepared to work for it. That I didn’t have to leave to create something, that I could build something inside the firm. I stayed.
Thirty years later our team is filled with entrepreneurs who serve other entrepreneurs every day. Whether it’s a large family business, a start-up, or a business like the one my father started, we share a passion to build and create. We manage business risks together. It is not how I imagined things unfolding, but when our clients tell me that I am “one of them” I know there is no bigger compliment.
KPMG today has more agitators and innovators than ever before. I am very proud of that.
My father and grandfather would be too.
The world is calling out for change.
When I was growing up, I believed that I started with a disadvantage and was conscious of that, to a fault. I never thought I was better, smarter or more accomplished than anyone else. I had to chart my own path.
I will never be the loudest voice in the room, but with a quiet confidence, I have found my place.
KPMG certainly isn’t perfect, but we have the framework, the leadership and the culture to break down barriers and open up opportunities. When I first joined the firm 32 years ago, I believed I belonged, but I didn’t see a lot of people who looked like me. Still, I advanced from a staff accountant, to manager, to senior manager. I left and then I came back with my sights set on becoming a partner. One who saw things others didn’t always see.
It’s a different place today - there is diversity in our team, diversity in our thinking, and diversity in our approach to finding solutions. And I am more optimistic than I have ever been because individual Canadians, politicians, and business and community leaders seem to be committed to addressing the issues we have lived with for far too long.
When my appointment to Chair was announced the reaction was overwhelming. The weight of expectation can feel like a heavy burden some days, but it has also given me a renewed sense of purpose.
It has helped me understand that I have an obligation to lend my voice and my experience to create opportunity. I need to harness my success in a new way, and I have an obligation to ask the people around me to be accountable too.
It’s time for change and it’s an opportunity for us all.
This past year has changed us.
When COVID-19 hit, the world was thrown head-first into something we had never experienced before. We were suddenly isolated, seeking information, and re-evaluating our priorities and our perspectives.
At KPMG, I was asked to lead our firm’s pandemic response team. Not knowing what we were facing, we set out with simple guiding principles – keep our employees, our communities and our clients safe. It soon became about much more than that. How do we close offices, how do we better support our people, how do we learn to work and collaborate in new ways?
We pulled together, linked by a common purpose, and showed kindness, empathy and resilience.
I think what I have noticed most is our collective agility. There has been a willingness to try vastly different ways of doing things. Barriers have come down and in that new space, we have become more willing to fail, more prepared to take risks, and more flexible as we search for solutions.
The pandemic has also changed the way we look at one another. This year has made the world seem smaller, because even with borders shuttered, we have felt our interconnectivity. It has shone a light on our humanity and laid bare the inequities that are all around us, inequities that cannot be ignored. It is a call to action and we all have a role to play.
As we find ways to return to some sort of normalcy, and to interact again with each other and our communities, I hope we can build on all we have learned.
And I hope we can embrace our collective ability to move forward together.
I’ve always seen myself as an underdog.
In fact, I come from a long line of underdogs. After their marriage, my parents came to Canada with limited resources - my mother a nurse, my father charting a new entrepreneurial path in a country that didn’t recognize his academic credentials. They raised four children and set an example for us by always demonstrating support, kindness, and generosity even as they struggled to create a new life for themselves.
We learned to work hard, and to never allow other’s expectations of us to limit our aspirations.
Growing up, no one was betting on me. I was a long shot to earn a spot on the high school football team, to be on the executive student council, to be accepted into the University of Waterloo’s accounting program, or to earn a co-op placement with KPMG.
So my family and I bet on ourselves.
In 1998 KPMG hired me, made it clear that they believed in me, and created an environment where I could make an impact. I found mentors, I built relationships, I started to see things differently. I also became part of a leadership team that is driven to succeed and create opportunity. It also fundamentally believes in trying to make a difference in people’s lives. Because of that, I now know I can open doors for others as they have been opened for me.
If you consider yourself an underdog, you may well have the key to unlocking your potential.
Stay tuned for more stories from our leaders....