Knowing When It’s Time To Go

Published on May 25, 2016, Principal-in-Charge of U.S. Government, Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy at PwC, LLP


After almost 12 years as a partner and member of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ executive management team and head of our public policy and external engagement strategy, I’ve decided to make a career change.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to learn from amazing mentors, extraordinary leaders, and true friends who make our firm so remarkable. It’s been a privilege to work closely with these talented leaders to help create a culture that attracts amazing talent each and every day. It’s due in part to these individuals that I am pushing myself beyond what is comfortable and safe, to think differently about my passions, and where I want to invest time and energy. I leave PwC knowing that I will always have the support, encouragement and friendship of my PwC family as I look for new ways to challenge myself, add value and make a broader impact.

My work at PwC has always been immensely satisfying. The importance of what we do as a firm and the contribution we make to the capital markets across all three of our business lines is critical to companies, their employees and their shareholders. While I remain passionate about those issues, I see new ways in which I can use my skills and experiences coupled with my passion for women’s leadership and political engagement to engage differently and help facilitate greater collaboration and dialogue needed to help address some critical challenges that face our country.

Specifically, I will be engaged in several initiatives that have become passion projects for me and that build upon some of the initiatives I began while working at PwC. In particular, I hope to help increase the pipeline of young women interested in public policy and elected office. As a Republican, I am troubled by the lack of gender balance on my side of the political aisle and I see opportunities to do more to address this fundamental misalignment, including thinking more holistically about how the private sector engages with women candidates and how we encourage women’s political engagement overall. I’ve learned a great deal from some amazingly talented women – political leaders, NGO leaders, and academics — on this topic, and look forward to continuing and expanding those collaborations. I will also continue speaking and writing on these topics, as well as on other talent-related topics that I believe are important as we look to the next generation. And, I will continue my engagement on a number of boards and committees focused on topics of concern and interest to me.

I’m very proud of my years at PwC, and the incredible team we built here. The challenges we have tackled together and partnerships we have created – internally and externally – have been critical to the firm’s success. I am also especially proud to have played a significant role in helping the firm adapt to an extensive new regulatory environment, while also working collaboratively to restore our brand and reputation following corporate governance failures of the 1990s. That proud legacy and the expertise I have gained made it both difficult and essential that I push myself beyond what I know and into a world where I can continue to grow personally and professionally. I am enormously grateful to so many people from all aspects of my life who have and continue to support me on my personal and professional journey.

Figuring out when it’s time to leave a job or position can be difficult. I have always been deliberate and thoughtful about my career, and my personal life. But I suppose the flip side of a rural Texas upbringing that instilled in me determination, reliability, and a strong work ethic might be that I’m not a natural risk taker.

A few years ago, a friend wrote a book urging women to “lean in” to their careers. As she prepared to launch her foundation, she asked women, including me, to write about a time when we had taken a career or personal risk that paid off. I agreed, somewhat reluctantly, and doing so changed my perspective. It wasn’t what I wrote that affected me… It’s what I didn’t write – or couldn’t write. I was struck by how safe and deliberate my path had been, and I realized I hadn’t done enough to challenge myself, to live larger and attempt to make a bigger contribution. It was a wake-up call.

Between Sheryl Sandberg’s example and the thought process she triggered, and PwC’s renewed focus on our collective purpose, I started to challenge myself to define a clearer personal legacy both at PwC and beyond. I realized I needed to push myself harder and potentially beyond the confines of my existing role, and to use my voice, perspective, and experience to have greater impact.

Among other things, I took a hard look at what we were doing in the public policy space and realized that we needed to think more broadly about our mission and our level of engagement and outreach. I saw some very specific ways that we could more closely align our culture, brand, and our commitment to diversity in the public policy and political space. My team and I created new and innovative ways to use our brand and our voice, and developed interesting partnerships and unique collaborations to increase awareness of our efforts. One area of focus has been on working to close the gender gap related to the number of women serving in congress (on both sides of the political aisle). While accomplishing that will take more than a few years and greater investment across a number of critical fronts, we are having an impact, and have helped increase awareness of the importance of this goal, which has never been more important.

I am proud of what we’ve accomplished. And, I’m grateful that PwC supported these efforts and allowed us to challenge the status quo in ways that are innovative and that have yielded important benefits, including ones that help call attention to the role private sector organizations can play in doing more to support women in the public policy space. But, as my public policy focus has expanded along with a heightened awareness of critical challenges facing our country, my interests and passions evolved and expanded as well. I’ve realized how much working on women’s leadership, empowerment, and creating a stronger and more robust pipeline of women who ultimately run for office ignited my professional passions and interests and showed me new opportunities to utilize my skills and experiences.

For a non-risk taker, leaving a job and an organization that has been such a big part of my life for nearly 12 years is a bit scary, but the network and strong relationships I’ve built at PwC (along with an amazingly supportive husband, family and friends) give me the confidence and experience to know I’m making the right decision. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities that lie ahead or more grateful for the support I have received that make those opportunities possible!

I look forward to staying in touch with you as I embark on this new chapter. #