Kathryn Jörgensen got her first taste of KPMG as an intern in Glasgow in 2007. Now, some years later she is still with KPMG working as a Partner in Deal Advisory at KPMG in Denmark. Kathryn is originally Scottish but grew up in Germany before heading back to Scotland at the University of St. Andrews to pursue her studies. 

Two years in Denmark just weren't enough

After having completed her internship within audit at KPMG in Glasgow, Kathryn talked to her partners about what else KPMG had to offer. Deal Advisory came up as an option, and that turned out to be the perfect match. Kathryn was admitted to the graduate program at KPMG in London, where she spent her time studying to become a chartered accountant and working on exciting transactions with a focus on financial due diligence. This also meant a lot of late nights spent in project rooms, and eventually it was time for a change:  

After 6 years, I decided that it was time for me to get out of the project room, explore the big world of KPMG and learn another language! If you want a new challenge, there are a lot of opportunities, and I have over the years found a lot of support within the firm to pursue these. I had some good conversations with my managing partners and different member firms, when suddenly, the new KPMG was created in Denmark in 2014. My husband, who was also in KPMG at the time, and I were approached on whether we would be interested in working here for two years to help support the new business. We jumped on the amazing opportunity to be part of this journey!

Katrine Gybel
Kathryn Jørgensen

Being part of the Deal Advisory team in Denmark was, and continues to be, special. There wasn’t much structure initially, but the challenge to get back to where KPMG belonged in the marketplace was exciting, tough and intensely rewarding. Two years went by and Kathryn found it hard to imagine going back to the London life: 

- Life in London was super fun, and very intense. One of the things that is special about Denmark – and KPMG - is the increased focus and respect for balance in your life. The people around you pay attention to you as a person, regardless of seniority. That was something I didn’t always see in my previous roles, and something I strive to bring myself every day as a leader. I am proud to be part of a team that values the individual and we have shown many times over the years that we truly value and support the well-being, as well as the professional development of our amazing team members. Being able to cycle to work every day was also a new and enjoyable experience!

Becoming a mother and a Partner

After having worked at KPMG in Denmark for 7 years, Kathryn was promoted to Partner in October 2021. This happened only two years after another life-changing event in Kathryn’s life, as she and her husband became parents to a baby girl in 2019. 

One thing that ensures that I continue to enjoy and thrive at work is the growing acceptance of men’s role in daily childcare and sickness in Denmark, compared to many other countries. The reality isn’t always 50/50, but there is much more acceptance that childcare is also part of a working dad’s life. That really makes it much more accessible for both of us to pursue the exciting careers we chose. And of course, having a husband who truly values his time with our daughter!

Kathryn Jørgensen
Kathryn Jørgensen

To be more present at home, Kathryn has implemented a new rule: her phone now stays at the front door, when she gets home from work. Even though it doesn’t always stay there for long, it still helps to disconnect for short periods of time: 

- This helps me to be present with my daughter in the moments that are important to her. I have recently read a lot of research around multitasking – and that as humans, we are not particularly good at it. So, I am also practicing focusing on one thing at a time – whether that is being fully focused on an important conversation with a team member, my client or my personal life. 

Being a foreigner at work

When asked about whether Kathryn had experienced prejudice during her career, her answer is a clear no. She, however, mentions that being a foreigner, and sometimes also a woman, can make her feel different in a room – and sometimes leads to comments she is not entirely comfortable with. Kathryn makes a conscious choice to focus on finding her voice regardless of the audience, not on the disadvantages of being a little different:

I have done some work myself to reframe the feelings associated with being ‘different’ – when, let’s face it, we are all different and unique, and we should be. I try to just be myself and accept that maybe I don’t have, or need to have, the same precise interests as some of the other people in the room. By looking a little harder you often find something you can connect with, and that is what is most important.

And throughout her career, Kathryn has learned that it is extremely important to focus on the now and the opportunities at hand, instead of worrying about what might happen in the future:

- In M&A, we see both talented women and men leaving consulting, because they are worried about what might happen in the future – the perception that working hours are always going to be tough, that there could be a reluctance to promote women, that it’s not possible to be a ‘good’ parent at the same time as being a strong professional in our industry… That can be limiting to our careers and personal development. In my experience, I have always found a way to tackle any challenge I have come against by being open and honest with my managing partners.  As an example, during my pregnancy, I worked a four-day week for the last months due to the increasing lack of energy. This ensured that I was better rested and happier - and I continued to do some great work for my clients in this time. 

- I think it is important to articulate and ask for the changes needed to live and work in a way that suits us, rather than living in fear that these might be rejected. Workplaces and practices aren’t going to be more flexible if we don’t ask them to become so! Consulting in my view genuinely has the opportunity to be one of the most flexible and rewarding working environments around, but only if we collectively make it happen. 

We are happy and grateful that Kathryn has decided to stay with us more than two years!