KPMG’s Leaders in the Clubhouse: Lynn Doughtie

June 29, 2015

This is the second in a three-part installment of “Leaders in the Clubhouse: Executive Women in Golf” presented by KPMG.

At the global professional-services giant KPMG, which she joined straight out of Virginia Tech 29 years ago, Lynne Doughtie currently manages a wide-ranging group of services focused on helping companies of all sizes succeed. Recently, Doughtie was elected to serve as the next U.S. Chairman and CEO effective July 1. Doughtie’s golfing ambitions are smaller in scope but no less significant. When she’s on the course she expects to have fun and use the game to help build successful business relationships. In her three decades of experience, there is often significant overlap between these goals.

How did you get interested in golf?

I started playing golf when I was just out of college and starting my career with KPMG. I took a few lessons, and my husband has always loved to give me pointers—for better and for worse! I realized that you could really enhance relationships by being on the course with clients. In fact, my very first golf game was with some clients.

That sounds scary.

My personality is to want to be the best at everything. Golf isn’t one of the things I’m best at. You’re in a situation where you’re vulnerable when you’re not a good player. But what I’ve found is that those are the times that you can build the most lasting relationships. You’re letting people see your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re open and honest, you find that people genuinely want to help you out. Taking advice from others can enhance your relationship, especially if you can laugh about things.

What else have you learned from golf over the years?

There are so many lessons. I’ve realized that I play better when I’m relaxed and enjoying the company I’m with rather than thinking about every single aspect of my swing. Overanalyzing, you can miss the big picture. The reason why I’m out there is the camaraderie, and to have fun.

Given your busy career, do you have much time to play these days?

Not as much as I’d like, but since we’ve launched the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, I’ve been inspired anew to reinvigorate my golf game. I was out on the course over the weekend, and I’ve got some lessons lined up. I’m ready to get back at it.

Why did KPMG become involved in women’s golf?

Golf is a great avenue for women in business, where relationships are so important. Our objective through the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit is to elevate women in business and in the sport of golf. A few years ago, we also started an internal career-development program at KPMG for up-and-coming women called the Stacy Lewis Rising Stars Invitational. It provides leadership training with instructors from Harvard Business School—which we couple with a day of golf instruction. Stacy Lewis, who’s a KPMG brand ambassador, works with these women. We think matching up leadership development with the relationship-building that golf can offer is a very powerful combination and a fantastic way to help women advance their careers.