KPMG Literally Shatters Glass Ceilings In New Campaign Starring LPGA Champ Stacy Lewis

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It seems like an odd combination, two golfing champions teaming up with a major corporation, but the common goal between both is what makes this partnership impressive: women in leadership.

KPMG, of the biggest financial services in the world, has teamed up with some of golf’s biggest pro players for a new championship that also seeks to promote the increased presence of women in the boardroom.

Phil Mickelson who has won 42 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships: three Masters titles, a PGA Championship, and an Open Championship, and women’s champ Stacy Lewis who has won two major championships: the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2011 and the Women’s British Open in 2013 are featured in a video which simultaneously showcases her boss skills on the green, as well as a literal glass ceiling being shattered in a number of different boardrooms at the same time her driver connects with the ball.

Both pros have endorsement deals with KPMG and are now involved in helping them promote a new tournament called the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship which takes place June -14 at Westchester County, NY. During the championship, a KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit will also be held over the course of one day, which will gather together leaders from the sports, media and business worlds to see how they can inspire the next generation of female leaders.

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“This summit is intended to build on that effort and positively impact the number of women in C-suite positions in corporate America in the years to come,” said John Veihmeyer, Global Chairman of KPMG.

“The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will raise the bar for professional golfers by ensuring they play on the best courses, increasing the purse size, and delivering national TV exposure,” he added about this community-building gender equality initiative.

Here’s hoping they walk the talk because as it stands, golf is still one of the biggest global sports that has a significant pay gap between men and women on the pro circuit. However, it is the only sport other than Tennis where the top-100 women earn a salary that allows them to be full-time professional athletes. This championship will have a prize total of $3.5 million, making it among the highest purses in women’s golf.

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Part of the cyclical argument about women not being paid enough in major sports is the lack of coverage, which affects the amount of sponsorship, and on it goes. KPMG is really trying to break that cycle (while also shattering a number of glass ceilings in video campaigns and hopefully in real life!) by signing a deal with NBC to broadcast the championship in June which will become only the second women’s major to be shown on TV.

In a press release Stacy Lewis said she was surprised Phil Mickelson agreed to be part of the campaign, because in the second video below, we see him lose a round to her on the green and is then forced to be her caddy in the next one.

“I love what they’re doing with getting involved with the LPGA,” Phil said. “I was not aware of how difficult it has been to work their way up in corporate America and the challenges they’ve had to overcome. I love the whole idea of the glass ceiling commercial and not having any limits in what they can do and achieve. It’s a cool message.”

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Stacy says she is excited to be positioned as a leader for other women in her field.

“Mine has become more of a women’s leadership platform. It’s something I’ve always been close to but never had the resources to know how to do it,” she said.

KPMG are wanting to make a statement and be industry leaders when it comes to gender equality. On the same token they want to break gender stereotypes that often exist by showing world champ Phil Mickelson helping Stacy Lewis as a caddy, without attaching any gender stigma to it. The scenario happened purely on merit, and Phil accepts it humbly in the video.

“The subtle message is Phil supporting Stacy … and men and women competing together,” John Veihmeyer said. “The back and forth and all those subtle messages contribute to women being positioned in a way that they’re on equal footing and have the potential to achieve. It’s a very serious commercial about what we view as a serious topic.”

And aside from the on-the-green discussions about gender equality and promoting women in leadership, KPMG are doing this in the office as well. They just named Lynne Doughtie, 52, as their new US CEO and Chairperson of the firm. But it’s not just KPMG. Deloitte, one of the other “big four” companies (KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Deloitte) recently appointed Cathy Engelbert, 50 to be their new CEO and became the first out of all four of these big world renowned accounting firms to do so in February this year.

“This is a topic where competition doesn’t matter,” Lynne Doughtie said in reference to gender equality in the boardroom. “We all benefit when we get better at this.”

She is right, the competition should remain in the sports arena only, which is fitting that they are holding their own golf tournament in the summer. An equal representation of men and women in all positions of leadership is crucial to advancement.

You can get familiar with KPMG’s new campaign by clicking on their  Women’s Leadership landing page.

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