Talented Tax Manager and Dedicated Mom: Meet KSM Team Member Karen Lewis
For Karen Lewis, balancing her roles as a first-time mom and a CPA working remotely at a Big Four firm seemed like a constant struggle. “I had my first child, and my husband was in the military, so I was the sole caregiver, and the demands were really hard for me to manage. I also felt like I had to hide the fact that I was a mom.” Karen was weighed down with stress as she tried to keep her young son completely silent during work calls, which every parent knows is unrealistic.
“I really wanted to have a career and be a mom and feel I was really doing well at both,” Karen explains, but she didn’t think that she was doing well with either one. “After a while, the stress just got to be too much. I needed a change. And that’s when I found KSM.” Karen joined the KSM team as a contract worker helping during busy season and soon discovered a very different environment.
“The first time I realized how different KSM was, I had to have a conversation with my boss to explain to her that I could not work the hours I’d agreed to. I was afraid it would be a deal breaker, and they wouldn’t want me to come back.” To Karen’s surprise, her supervisor offered understanding and reassurance. “She told me it was something I did not need to worry about at all,” says Karen, and together, they came up with a schedule that accommodated her family commitments. “That really showed me that KSM was different.”
Every firm says, ‘we encourage you to bring your whole self to work, bring your authentic self to work,’ but in my experience at other firms, that wasn’t really what they meant. At KSM I truly feel like they mean it.
Karen is now empowered to be her best as a CPA and a mom (now of four), and she relishes the firm’s strong culture. “One of my favorite parts of the job is being able to connect with my staff – and these are calls that don’t have to focus on work. They can be, you know, ‘Personally, how are you doing?’” And in trying times such as busy season during a pandemic, Karen knows that sense of being truly cared for is especially meaningful. “Everybody’s struggling; everybody has their own challenges. Taking the time to build up those connections is so important.”
Karen particularly appreciates being part of a culture that supports employees’ individual needs and embraces the unique perspectives and experiences each team member brings. “The firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative is called INSPIRE,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for networking, and it’s a great opportunity to increase our understanding of how to be more inclusive, and the steps that we can take to really build an inclusive culture at KSM.”
Even the experience of working remotely seems different at KSM. As a long-term remote professional, Karen is familiar with the challenges a blended work environment can pose for employees and firms. Yet, the strong community and special support strategies for remote staff, including a remote employee resource group that Karen helped organize and now leads, keeps her fully connected with her colleagues. “They don’t want us to be in-office people and remote employees. They want us to be one KSM.”
Finding innovative ways to support individual needs and goals—whether a client’s or a colleague’s—is integral to who we are as a firm. If that sounds like the environment you’ve been searching for, we invite you to learn more about career opportunities at KSM.
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