Kelly Watson, National Service Group Leader, KPMG
Kelly Watson is the National Service Group Leader of KPMG’s Risk Consulting Practice, leading a team of more than 7800 partners and professionals who provide the risk and compliance insights organizations need to protect themselves and grow. Prior to this position, Kelly spent six years as the Office Managing Partner of the firm’s Short Hills Office, which houses more than 1100 people who serve the state’s largest companies and mid-market clients.
Risk Consulting professionals help organizations transform risk and regulatory compliance into competitive advantage. They identify how businesses’ corporate strategies can expose them to various forms of risk – ranging from failure to adapt to fast-changing regulations to susceptibility to cybercrime – and help them avoid those pitfalls while maximizing value.
Kelly has 27 years of global auditing and advisory services experience serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and industrial product industries, and also has experience in acquisitions and regulatory and compliance issues. She previously served on KPMG’s Legal, Risk and Compliance committee, and in October 2013 was elected by her fellow partners for a five-year term on the KPMG Board of Directors, where she sits on the Professional Practice Ethics and Compliance and Nominating committees.
She is the global lead partner on a number of priority accounts and serves as an account executive on two SEC audit clients. Her international experience includes more than two years in the KPMG Czech Republic member firm’s Prague office. During her time abroad, Kelly served on several global accounts and helped establish and develop the Central and Eastern European practice training program.
A fierce advocate for developing leaders in the firm, the accounting profession, and the community, Kelly initiated KPMG’s relationship with the United Nations Millennium Village Program, a global development initiative designed to alleviate poverty and promote gender equality in Africa. She is actively involved in KPMG’s Family for Literacy/First Book program, whose mission is to combat childhood illiteracy, and serves on the Essex County (NJ) Advisory Board of First Book. Kelly is also a member of the Liberty Science Center’s Women’s Leadership Council. She chairs the New Jersey Women’s “Network-to-Network” organization, a consortium of women leaders from some of New Jersey’s most prestigious companies that provides a forum for professional women to share best practices and form mutually beneficial business relationships. Most recently, she has joined Advisory Council of The New Agenda, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls and advancing them into leadership roles by bringing about systemic change in the media, the workplace, at school and home.
Kelly’s leadership has been widely recognized. In 2014, she was honored by the Executive Women of New Jersey as an influential policy maker in the State, and by New Jersey Business magazine as a top managing partner. In 2010, Diversity Inc. named her among their “Women Worth Watching,” and she received the Helen Keller “Women Who Make a Difference” and the Boy Scouts’ “Woman of the Year” awards. In 2008, she was Garden State Woman magazine’s “Woman of the Year”; in 2007, she was named one of the Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ and won the YWCA Tribute to Women in Business Award.
Kelly received a BS from Fordham University in public accounting and finance. She is a certified public accountant in New York and New Jersey and a member of the New York Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Kelly and her husband Derek Watson have two children, Victoria, 16, and William, 13.