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Speaking Up and Standing Out, after Audit 90

Abby Galen had only been at KPMG about two years when she was invited to join the company’s Audit 90 class, a leadership development program for emerging female talent.

“It was an honor to be selected,” she said. “It didn’t take long before I really understood its purpose and realized how much I could get out to the program, if I put it to work.”

For Galen, key takeaways centered around stepping away from her digital devices and learning to own her place in the room. Historically, she says, she’s had a fear of standing out in a crowd or being scrutinized by strangers. But since Audit 90, that’s fallen away.

“Professionally, I’m forcing myself into those situations,” she says. “I volunteered to speak at a training. I raise my hand to contribute. And at the graduation event, I was the speaker. These are things I wouldn’t have said yes to before.”

Galen worked on confidence issues with her coach as well as healthy time management strategies. A highly-motivated, schedule driven professional, she had this drive to accomplish everything on her to-do list for a given day. If that didn’t happen, she felt like the day had been unsuccessful.

Her coach gave her useful tricks, like building slack into her day for inevitable interruptions and surprises. And she’s getting better at prioritizing work according to the appropriate effort required (great, good, done), instead of throwing all her energy at everything that crosses her desk.

“It’s an unbelievable program,” Galen says. “Your firm is investing in you for almost two years. The opportunity for life coaching in particular,” she says. “I know a lot of career-minded women would be really envious of that.”

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