I loved working at KPMG as it was full of extremely intelligent people and the culture was fast paced and highly performance based. Unlike other consulting firms at the time, KPMG promoted you based solely on your annual performance, not how long you were in your role. Therefore to make it to the partnership, you needed to work hard, achieve extraordinary performance and work as a team player. It was all up to you!
This was my ultimate goal – to make it to the partnership. It was the beginning of my second year at KPMG and I was a senior consultant. My manager and I put together a very aggressive performance plan, that if I achieved it, I’d certainly be up for promotion to Manager. It was an exciting time for me as I had a great first year, exceeding all of my goals and I fit into the fast paced culture of KPMG well. Married 5 years, my husband was very supportive of my career and had an equally successful career himself. We had it all as a dual income no kid family. However, we did want children and now in our early 30’s we began to talk about starting a family.
My goal was to get promoted to Manager and then work on getting pregnant. As it often does, life took a different turn as I immediately got pregnant. While the most exciting news of our lives, the timing just couldn’t be worse. I began to wonder what I was going to do now. Most certainly I wouldn’t be promoted as how can they promote a pregnant woman? The job was fast paced and full of travel, now that I’m pregnant will I have to slow down? So many doubts and confusion seeped into my confident mind. What was I going to do now.
Since I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, I focused on doing my job well. It was great because I felt great and no one could tell I was pregnant for the first 5 months so I didn’t tell anyone. I was just as determined to get promoted and so continued to work my fast paced job. When I had to finally buy maternity clothes 5 months into the pregnancy, I knew I was going to have to tell someone. I was so scared as I so wanted that promotion. There weren’t many women partners at the time I could seek advice from, but came across one after looking through the partnership list. The woman happened to be the Partner in charge of the entire southeast region that I was part of, so I called her up.
I explained my situation to her and how I wanted both a family and a career. After congratulating me and talking for 15 minutes about children, she asked why I hadn’t told anyone. I told her that I really wanted to get promoted and feared my hopes would be dashed when people knew I was pregnant. She strongly lectured me that if I deserved to get promoted, I would be promoted and being pregnant had no relevance to this. She strongly stood by the integrity of the firm and said she would never work for a place that discriminated in this way. She said keep performing like you always have and it will happen. To this day, this woman is a mentor and a friend. She gave me so much confidence and strength and belief in myself and in the firm. I had a beautiful baby girl and made Manager the same month. After that I had my second child and was promoted to Senior Manager. My third daughter came as I was promoted to the partnership.