Managing Partner, Toronto and Canadian Managing Partner, Community Leadership, KPMG LLP
WHAT SETS HER APART
Beth leads the largest KPMG Canada practice with 2,500 employees, leveraging her skills and position to improve the lives of others
Chair of the Toronto Board of Trade and involved in 6 committees, including the United Way Toronto
Active internal and external mentor to women
Bill Thomas, CEO and Senior Partner, KPMG Canada
From Bill Thomas
As told to Allison Lawlor
Possibly the smartest person in any boardroom she enters, Beth keeps this little secret to herself. As KPMG’s Toronto managing partner, overseeing an office of about 2,500 employees, and the firm’s Canadian managing partner, community leadership, she not only has the intelligence to frame a debate, but the passion to pursue her goals and the charisma to get people to follow her.
When we first met about eight years ago, I was taking part in a two-year KPMG program called the Chairman’s 25. The program develops partners to take on senior leadership roles. As the firm’s then chief human resources officer, Beth had the top title in the room. But you wouldn’t have known it—except that she was probably the brightest person there. Actively engaged in discussions around the table during the day, at quitting time she was the first one at the bar ready to have fun. She is definitely not a shy person.
After I became CEO in 2009, we launched our Community Leadership Strategy and made it a top priority. With KPMG in dozens of cities across the country, we wanted to allow the firm’s 6,000 employees to follow their passions in the places where they live and have it be part of their job—not just something they did after work. This was Beth’s baby.
I put Beth in charge because I knew she could motivate the firm and was an excellent example of a business leader bringing about positive change in her own community. She was most proud when one of the firm’s reluctant partners or employees came to her with a story of how rewarding their volunteer experience had been, whether it was coaching their kids’ soccer team or sitting on a hospital board.
Beth’s current passion is making Toronto a great place to do business. As chair of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, she’s working hard to make the city more competitive. A fervent supporter of women’s leadership, she also mentors many women both inside and outside KPMG and helped lead a United Way initiative called Women Gaining Ground. There are a lot of people who follow Beth’s lead. Thanks in large part to her work, KPMG can now boast that it has many women progressing to the partnership level.
As dedicated as she is to her work, she’s also a proud mom. If you give her the chance, she’ll talk your ear off about her husband, their time at the cottage or on the ski hill, watching their two teenage boys race. She’s driven, but she has her priorities straight.