Who in your family had the most impact on your success? Like many leaders in the African-American community, I have to credit my mother for having the most impact shaping me to be the person that I am today. My mother was a high school graduate who cleaned houses for a living. She instilled in my brother and me the importance of taking pride in everything you do, and doing it to the best of your ability at all times. She knew the importance of education and worked to help us to understand that there were great opportunities awaiting us, but we would have to work hard to reach them and achieve our personal goals. There have been times when I’ve stumbled, but I’ve learned and grown from every experience. My mother passed away 21 years ago, but I know that she would be pleased that I still hold true to the values that she instilled.
What’s the worst fault a leader can have? Not communicating in a timely manner, or not at all. As a leader, you will sometimes find yourself in situations that require you to make decisions you know will not please everyone. Communicating such decisions is not always an easy task, especially during challenging times, but people still want and need to know that they are important to the organization, and that their contributions are valued. Good leaders communicate in bad times as well as good, and that communication helps to instill trust and loyalty throughout an organization.
Headquarters: New York City
Web site: www.us.kpmg.com
Primary Business: Big Four Accounting firm providing audit, tax, and advisory services
Professionals: 20,700 U.S.
What advice can you provide for young leaders? You have one chance to make a first impression. Always try to treat others in the same manner in which you wish to be treated. Also: Be prepared, be on time, and don’t be afraid to take chances.
What are the personal and/or professional sacrifices to being leader? The more we progress in our professional careers, the more difficult it can become to balance professional responsibilities with personal time for family and friends. We all understand the meaning of the term, “work/life balance,” but actually achieving a true balance between your work life and your personal life becomes more difficult with each promotion. That said, it is very important to make time for ourselves, and to unplug, relax, and recharge when we have the opportunity to do so. You have to take care of yourself, and recognize your limits.