This program, a charitable initiative announced by KPMG LLP, is funded by proceeds from the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit. The Future Leaders Program affords top female high school seniors across the country the opportunity to enhance their personal growth through college scholarships, a leadership development retreat at Stanford University, a mentoring relationship with a woman business leader, and an introduction to golf. The firm also named sixty-sixth U.S. Secretary of State, Miss Condoleezza Rice, as its ambassador to help facilitate the program.
Heather learned about the program through Girl Scouts® of Northern NJ, who emailed Gold Award winners with the opportunity. She wrote three essays that covered her background information, any challenges she’s faced and how she has overcome them, and various activities and leadership positions she has held. Heather was told in May that she was one of twenty young women chosen out of hundreds of applicants.
KPMG flew Heather out to California to attend the leadership retreat at Stanford University from July 15-18, 2018. Attendees were welcomed by KPMG CEO, Lynne Doughtie, and then they heard from a Stanford faculty member who spoke about first-generation, low-income students. Sunday ended with a meeting with Miss Rice, and then a tour of Stanford. On Monday, attendees received golf lessons from PGA and LPGA professionals, including Ms. Mariah Stackhouse, an LPGA golfer and KPMG ambassador, and Mrs. Suzy Whaley, the first woman President of the PGA of America. KPMG bought all retreat members their own set of Callaway golf clubs. “That was a great surprise because now we can all continue playing the sport…along with the cute golf outfits they gave us.” Heather said, “It was amazing getting to learn golf and get personal instruction from LPGA and PGA legends.”
The conference continued with sessions on leadership, body language, negotiating, and goal setting. Heather’s program mentor, Senjal Gross, works for Citibank and lives in Chicago, about a two-hour drive to Notre Dame, where Heather is currently a freshman. “Our mentors have interests similar to our own, and we are required to have four sessions (in person or online) with them throughout the year,” she explained. “I was very happy with mine because it’s convenient to meet with her when I am at Notre Dame!” The young women ended their trip with dinner at Stanford Stadium, taking part in Stanford’s “fountain hopping” tradition, and attending a bonfire with the RAs.
Heather, who was the salutatorian of her IHA Class of 2018, said she learned many things at the retreat that she can apply in her life. “I learned a lot about body language and how we should/shouldn’t stand,” she said. “I also learned about how to negotiate and get what I want in a deal. It was great to hear from Condoleezza Rice and learning that she went to graduate school at Notre Dame! She is compassionate and I knew she really cared about us.”
Heather is very happy at Notre Dame and stated that she’s convinced “it’s one of the best places on earth.” She’s currently studying mathematics but is also exploring engineering. “There is really nowhere else like it; every day, I fall more in love with it and realize how lucky I am to be here.”
As an alumna one year out of Immaculate Heart Academy, Heather said she felt IHA definitely prepared her very well for college and beyond. From handling professional interactions to arming students with the confidence and communication skills needed, Heather said she is grateful to have attended IHA. “A lot of my classmates now have been so overwhelmed with everything that comes along with college, but I feel IHA saved me from that stress—I’ve experienced it all already!” she said. “Interestingly enough, a lot of students here never took notes in high school and have been really struggling with that. I always took notes at IHA. I’ve actually been using them to help me with my classes now. IHA just didn’t prepare me well for what to wear every day!”