Linda Zhang

Linda Zhang
Partner in Charge, U.S.-China Practice, KPMG

Education: BBA, Baruch College; MS in Tax, Fordham University
What I’m Reading: Bossypants by Tina Fey
Interests: Travel
Company Headquarters: New York, New York
Primary Business: Audit, Tax, and Advisory services

What are the major values of your heritage? How have they helped you in your career?
Building trusting relationships is key to business success. In the Chinese culture, trust is fundamental to any relationship, and it’s especially important in business. Trust is earned by consistently meeting or exceeding expectations, and in professional services, clients rely on their service providers to consistently deliver the highest quality. My cultural heritage definitely provides me with an advantage when it comes to understanding the importance of trust in business.

“For Asian Americans to be successful, we need to be true to ourselves–preserving the valuable elements of our own culture while also incorporating Western values. It is a process that requires an understanding of and respect for the values of both cultures.”

How do you think Asian Americans have evolved in terms of industry/field diversity?
I think as generations of Asian Americans have adapted, they’ve moved away from the industries or professions traditionally perceived as attractive to Asians. Nowadays, at least here in the United States, Asian Americans are working in a variety of fields. Given the welcoming nature and openness of American society, it became easier for Asian Americans and other immigrants to enter a wide range of fields. Basketball player Jeremy Lin is a good example of this: As an Asian American with traditional cultural ties who went to Harvard, Lin might have pursued a very different career. Instead, he pursued his dream, trying out with different NBA teams until he could play professional basket ball. He’s a great example of how Asian Americans have evolved in American society.

What do you think is the greatest issue or dilemma facing the Asian/Pacific-American community today?
How to balance our culture heritage and western culture. Maintaining and preserving Asian values is essential. But Asian Americans also need to balance that with Western values. Sometimes they conflict, so we must understand and respect both cultures to achieve optimal balance.