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Our people: Hanna

Our people: Hanna

In her personal story, Hanna shares her top tips for success and explains how KPMG is supporting her to realize her full potential.

Hanna shares her personal story and her top tips for success.

Our people: Hanna

What made you decide to join KPMG?
My career at KPMG began when I was in university in Columbus, Ohio, with the summer leadership program (a pre-internship program, 2012). It provided me insight into what a career at KPMG could look like. It was during this program that I decided KPMG was the firm for me, largely because of the people and the opportunities available at the firm. After the leadership program, I participated in a busy season internship, with a focus on financial services clients. At the close of it, I was fortunate to receive a full-time job offer, to begin after I graduated. In between graduation (May 2014) and beginning work full-time (August 2014) I studied and sat for all four parts of the CPA exam, ultimately passing the exams. When I started work, I was placed on a large national insurance client, and my career expanded from there.


How has your career evolved?
Since starting with KPMG, I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible people on a variety of audits. The most impactful of those audits also being the most challenging. I lead the first year audit of a regional insurer, as the lead senior, for year-end 2018. That was the turning point of my career. Since that audit, I have been afforded the opportunity to join a second first year audit, this time for a global reinsurer based out of Zurich, Switzerland. I relocated from the U.S. to Switzerland in October of 2020.


Who has particularly supported you on your way?
I have had a great support system through the years, both inside and outside of the firm. First and foremost is my Fiancé. He has encouraged me to take on these difficult opportunities, even when I felt I could not. He understands the benefit I stand to gain from these experiences and even when I feel like giving up, he encourages me to push on. One of the key reasons I joined with KPMG was the people. That has held true for the entirety of my career. I am constantly surround by talented people, who support and teach me. These individuals include, but certainly are not limited to:

  • My first ever supervisor, she has helped mold me from day one into the auditor I am today.
  • The partner on my initial first year audit, whose support and guidance has been irreplaceable. He took the time to train and coach me on a variety of topics and provides incredible support, he always made himself available should I or the team have needed anything.
  • My manager and mentor who always took the time to explain complex accounting topics and who encouraged me to take on the Switzerland challenge.
  • And lastly the leader of my current engagement, he supports and guides me every day, encouraging me to be the best I can be.


What tips would you give others to successfully navigate the business world? What are your top tips for success?

  1. Strive for opportunities that are challenging enough to make you uncomfortable – this is where you will grow the most. If you’re not growing and learning, you are not taking full advantage of your potential. For myself, volunteering for a second first year audit, knowing what lies ahead and how big a challenge this engagement will be was daunting. However, I was confident that the knowledge gained, experience and opportunity would out-weight the difficulty.
  2. Raise your hand – no one is going to give you anything unless you work for it and make it known you want it. You won't always get a “yes”, but you’ll never know unless you ask. I was fully transparent that participating in an international assignment was a goal of mine. The first time I tried for an opportunity I was turned down, but I did not give up. I took the time to continue to build myself and when a second opportunity presented itself, I was ready.
  3. Find your “why” – find the deeper meaning behind why you are doing the work that you do. It is important to enjoy your work and identifying the “why” can help. For me, my “why” is carving a path and making it better for those that come after me. I enjoy training and mentoring a team, doing my part to make our engagement the best it can be and implementing frameworks, tools, ideas, etc. that will make it a better place and environment to work in.


Did you aim for a leadership position?
Yes and no. My deeper “why” for what makes me enjoy my job is the people. I truly want to help build a team that is top of its class, best for everyone, and extraordinary. Leading by example is an effective way to promote change and to set the tone of an engagement. While I do not think you need to be in a leadership role to lead by example, I certainly think it helps. I wanted to be in a position that allowed me the ability to make decisions that set the tone of the engagement team, with the previously mentioned goal in mind – extraordinary.


“KPMG provides me flexibility. Over the course of a year, KPMG allowed me to work remotely one week a month so that I could visit my Fiancé in Washington D.C.”


How does KPMG support you in balancing your private and professional life?
KPMG provides me flexibility. A specific example of KPMG “walking the walk” occurred a few years ago. My Fiancé was transferred to Washington D.C. for a year. Over the course of that year, KPMG allowed me to work remotely one week a month so that I could visit him. This was pre-COVID, meaning working remotely was not yet considered normal and manageable. Further, my KPMG engagement team provides me flexibility each day, allowing me to set my schedule and balance my work and personal life.