Miriam Hernandez-Kakol Principal, KPMG
Miriam is a Principal with KPMG’s Advisory Practice, and serves as the U.S. service line leader of the firm’s Customer & Operations business.
Her extensive and varied background spanning more than 20 years (from telecommunications operating company to software firm to Big 4 management consulting) provides her with strategic vision, strong management capability, and hands-on operating experience.
Ask her what she enjoys most about consulting and she says: “Helping my clients solve business challenges and knowing that our team is providing bottom-line value. Being my client’s trusted advisor.” In addition, she says: “Growing teams and developing leaders for the next generation. Growing new businesses that take KPMG into a different service area, leap-frogging the competition and delivering innovative solutions that accelerate our clients’ success. Having a positive impact on my world!”
Hernandez-Kakol has deep industry knowledge of the communications and media industries and has been involved in rolling out large, transformational programs at some of the industries’ leading companies. In addition, she previously led the KPMG’s U.S. Technology Enablement practice.
Ask her to identify her greatest achievement and she says that “it’s been quite a career—so I have a few from different times and different roles,” she says. But she lists her most notable accomplishments as: Leading the research and project teams that automated directory and operator-assistance for the telecommunications industry; Being part of the leadership team that built and helped shape KPMG’s Management Consulting business from the beginning. “Having that business grow at a double-digit rate over a five-year period was definitely a highlight,” she says.
In addition, Hernandez-Kakol lists: The numbers of partners she has been fortunate to help develop and sponsor into KPMG; Working with Verizon over the last eight years to develop a strong partnership built on trust and results that have benefited both KPMG and Verizon. “And that will last long after me,” she says.
On a more personal note, she says her greatest achievement is being a mother. “Raising three sons who are strong men, who cherish women and children, and who are each individually realizing their passions in their own careers,” Hernandez-Kakol says.
As far as great advice she’s received along the way, Hernandez-Kakol says to “surround yourself with individuals who are smarter than you, but first and foremost, realize your own potential and use it to fuel your passion,” she says. “Have confidence in your abilities. Form a point of view and share it. Stretch yourself and deliver results.”
Consulting: How did you get into the consulting profession? Was it by design or accident?
Hernandez-Kakol: “I was recruited by KPMG in 1999 as a direct-entry partner. At the time, I was working for a software, engineering and consulting firm that had just been acquired by SAIC. I was doing quite a bit of systems transformation work in the Telecom industry, and KPMG Consulting was looking for a leader to continue to grow its billing implementation practice. Given that I had just rolled out Telcordia’s first integrated software and consulting business unit, the KPMG opportunity looked like a natural progression. After a year, I was hooked on advising multiple clients on their largest and most strategic initiatives. I never looked back.”