I still remember it like yesterday…May of 2013…hanging out on Marshall Street with some of my friends just a few days before graduation. I was the only one without a confirmed job after graduation, as I was still wrestling through a few different options. It’s a terrible feeling not knowing what you are going to do as graduation day looms.
I had specific goals and values in my life that I did not want to compromise: a high level of job satisfaction, feeling like my role would make a difference and not just provide a paycheck, healthy work-life balance, travelling, and giving back to the community. Would NYC give me these things? What about D.C.? How about somewhere completely new?
After graduating, I evaluated my job options in light of my goals and made the difficult decision to turn down some promising opportunities in larger east coast cities. Instead, I took a job in Kansas City, Missouri, to work as a mutual fund accountant. To be honest, I didn’t know much about the field or what would be involved in that career path. However, I made this decision based on the goals and values that mattered to me, and I also knew I loved the pace of the Midwest life. I moved on to work as an auditor at a local CPA firm before ending up at KPMG’s IT Advisory practice.
I have now been at KPMG for three years and I truly feel that the work that I am doing is making a difference, which was one of my main core values. In addition, KPMG has provided me the opportunity to work with some of the largest corporations in the nation and gain valuable project management skills. Our firm in Kansas City is committed to giving back to the community, even providing time off for volunteering. Employees are readily encouraged to achieve a healthy work-life balance. In addition, I have had the opportunity to travel internationally and am currently living in Melbourne, Australia, as part of an international rotation opportunity provided by KPMG. My path to KPMG and experience here is something that I know was out of my control and never would have happened had I not had faith big enough to take the risk and move to Kansas City after graduation.
Making a difference in the community has always been something that has meant a lot to me personally. After moving to Kansas City, I realized that basketball could provide me with an opportunity to build relationships and mentor kids in my community. This led to me sitting across the table from the head basketball coach of a local high school varsity team, as we talked about my experiences with the Syracuse Basketball team and how I could help the program. This is now my fourth year as an assistant coach on the team. My roles have focused on player development and leading workouts with individual players, analyzing film, and using data and analytics to track our performance throughout the season. I am proud to say that we just won the Missouri Class 4 State Championship, which was a first in school history. See below for some links from the local newspaper following our historic journey to the championship.
http://www.kansascity.com/sports/high-school/article205617314.html (SEMI FINAL WIN)
http://www.kansascity.com/sports/high-school/article205714994.html (STATE CHAMPIONSHIP)
It has been extremely fulfilling watching the kids grow and develop over the past four years–especially knowing that in addition to our success as a team, all of our seniors were successful in high school and are graduating and moving on to college (some to play basketball and football at the D1 level). In addition to teaching them skills such as leadership, teamwork and, obviously, basketball, my hope is to encourage our students to develop a vision for their life which is bigger than what they originally thought possible.
It’s amazing to look back and see the directions my path took to bring me to where I am today. I know what it’s like to be a college student, with the vast array of career decisions at your feet. It can feel like a whirlwind. If my story can help you in any way, please hear this: don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and push yourself to do something new or different, don’t compromise on your passions and goals, be willing to take on different experiences and, most importantly, don’t be afraid of failure.