2018 Powered by Women
From reader nominations, DBusiness selected eight professional women who are driving growth in Michigan, the nation, and the world.
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Terri Harwood // Katie Bowman Coleman // Amy B. Robinson // Monica Martinez
Lilly Epstein Stotland // Christine Sitek // Tricia Ruby // Sara Blackmer
Managing Partner • KPMG, Detroit
Employees: 35,000+ (U.S.) • Revenue: $9B
One of six children, Betsy Meter was born in Pittsburgh and spent her early years in California and Boston before her family moved to Michigan after she finished the eighth grade. She met and dated Terry, her future husband, at Andover High School in Bloomfield Township, and earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Michigan State University in East Lansing.
“I grew up in a family of lawyers and entrepreneurs,” she says, “so I knew I wanted to go into business. I took (my first) accounting class at Michigan State University. I liked the professor and did well, (so that was the start of my path to becoming a CPA). I’ll never forget calling my father and saying, ‘I think I’m going to be a CPA.’ He laughed and said, ‘I don’t think you’re CPA material.’ Yet here I am, 35 years later, as a managing partner of KPMG’s Detroit office.”
Meter interned at KPMG while at MSU and has been there ever since, working her way up to manager, senior manager, and partner. On March 1, she was promoted to managing partner — all while raising three children with her husband.
“I’ve held numerous leadership roles over the course of my career, including the Detroit audit practice, and numerous other local and national roles,” she says. “Now, as the Michigan managing partner, I lead approximately 400 people in two offices in Michigan. One nice thing about a large public accounting firm is that you can do a lot of different jobs while staying with the same employer. I’ve worked … with automotive suppliers, defense firms, and chemical companies. It’s been a great run. I’ve had a great career.”
In addition to her professional career, Meter is a board member, chair of the nominating committee, and past chair of the Michigan Association of Public Accountants in Troy; board and chair of the audit committee for Oakland Family Services In Pontiac; and a board member of the Detroit Economic Club and the Detroit Regional Chamber. She’s worked with several other professional and community organizations, as well.
Meter calls her leadership style inclusive. “I believe that we make better decisions as a team than we do individually,” she says. “But when I have to make tough decisions, I make them. The nature of a service business lends itself to a team leadership style, building loyalty and commitment to team performance, because we work in teams to serve our clients.”
Her advice to young women? “Work hard, take leadership opportunities when they arise, and stay true to yourself. Your integrity and your brand are the most important things you have in the workplace, so if you stay true to those, good things will happen.”
She adds that maintaining the right balance between family and work is extremely important for both men and women, and says having a supportive spouse has been a great advantage. “It truly has to be a partnership. But I tell all the young women with children who work for me that their children are their No. 1 priority. You only get one chance to raise someone right, so you need to balance those priorities with work. With computers and flexible hours, it’s a little easier today. Technology helps, so you don’t always have to be at your workplace.
“You have to keep your priorities straight. That’s the most important (part) of having a successful career. And having a support network around you, whether it’s a spouse, parents, family, siblings, or whoever can help you is the key to working while raising children.” — Gary Witzenburg