Q: How has your career at PwC grown you in ways you didn’t expect?
A: I attended the senior associate Leadership Development Program, called Discover, shortly after I was promoted to senior associate. The Discover program is all about personal development. This program was extremely important to me as it has had a major impact on my personal and professional life. Before the Discover program, I'd never spent three-and-a-half solid days focusing solely on my life and myself. The program showed me that when you are creatively stimulated and your interests are pursued outside of the office, you are going to be much more dedicated and focused inside of the office.
The Discover Program also helped further my focus on music. I grew up singing and outside of work I'm a DJ in New York City. I made it a goal to move from corporate parties and private parties to clubs and lounges and now I’m DJing at many different types of venues and events in many different geographic locations.
I would not have taken that step without PwC to inspire me to reflect on what really drives me and what rejuvenates me. If someone had told me before the program that I would be able to work this hard at a day job and then DJ on a Friday night at a club, I would have said, “You’re out of your mind.”
Q: How has PwC supported your flexibility to pursue outside interests?
A: The firm has enabled me to build flexibility into my schedule to pursue this creative release, while still fulfilling my work responsibilities. Communication and planning with my teams is key to making this work and the support I've received from PwC has been amazing.
Q: How did you get involved with recruiting for PwC?
A: While I was at UVA, I helped start a fraternity and co-founded an investment organization. Throughout my college career I really loved and enjoyed getting to know students from different organizations.
When I joined the firm, I said I was interested in helping with recruiting and I immediately was given the opportunity to help support a local recruiting team, and now I'm able to help support national recruiting efforts. I was impressed by how much responsibility I was given. It really meant a lot to me that the firm showed so much respect for my abilities and my opinions.
While recruiting, I like to help shed the misconceptions of what some people assume what life at an accounting firm is like. I also like to show how PwC brings a variety of people into the firm.
Q: Share one of your most memorable moments at PwC.
A: As an Associate, I did not expect to have as much responsibility as I was given. Early on I was given real responsibility and exposure to clients. For example, I was brought to a client meeting shortly after I began with the firm, since I'd spent a lot of time developing a financial model for this client.
When we arrived at the client site, I took a restroom break and I washed my hands at the sink. While at the sink, a gentleman and I started a dialogue and carried the conversation outside the restroom for another ten minutes. Later, at the start of the meeting, the clients walked into the room. You could imagine my surprise when I realized I had just met the company's CFO in the restroom! The first thing the CFO said while we all sat down was, “Hey Keller, great to see you again.”
I hopped up and said, “Art, it’s a pleasure.” I think all eight people in the room were surprised when the most junior team member in the room was welcomed by name by the CFO, the most senior member of the client present at the meeting. Throughout the meeting, he asked me to talk through the financial model I helped develop with the team. This was truly one of my most favorite memories.
The CFO and I still keep in touch and exchange emails and messages on LinkedIn three years later.
Q: What have you learned from your experiences at PwC thus far?
A: Everyone in my group and everyone at PwC that I’ve met and worked with are really focused on coaching and development. The culture is what helped me to progress to a senior associate in two years.
Q: Describe the coaching you provide for new associates and interns.
A: I think an important key to success is building personal connections and relationships so that people feel comfortable to be open and honest with you. This is the atmosphere I seek to create for my coachees - I want them to feel trust and support.