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Academics
March 26, 2007

Lecture Celebrates Women's History Month

Deloitte & Touche Executive Speaks on Rewards of Risk

The Women's Studies Minor program at St. Francis College welcomed Deloitte & Touche Deputy Managing Partner of the Northeast Region Ami Kaplan Monday, March 26 to speak as part of Women's History Month. St. Francis Accounting and Business majors as well as members of the College's athletic teams were in the audience.

Kaplan talked about her transformation from someone who went along with the pack and played it safe to a successful leader who not only recognized opportunities, but seized those chances.

"I learned the importance of relentless focus, perseverance and sweat equity," Kaplan said in recounting her first days at Deloitte working under the Global Director for Banking Practices. "Maybe I was too young or stupid at the time but I never considered the option of failing. I never stopped to measure the risk versus the rewards."

A working mother of four, Ms. Kaplan has been featured in Working Mother Magazine for her success in juggling her career while climbing the ranks at Deloitte & Touche. In her 25 years with the company she has helped with the development and implementation of Deloitte's highly acclaimed Women's Initiative and witnessed firsthand how the programs now benefit both men and women.

She points out it was not a straight climb up to get where she is now and even when she was moving forward, sometimes she had to start all over again.

"I became a new partner in record time and lo and behold I was back to the bottom of the totem pole," Kaplan said. "As a new partner my senior partners were not going to leave me on a large client I had helped acquired. So I went from working on a $50 million annuity to managing 20 clients each at $15,000 of revenue. But soon I had a $10 million portfolio of clients."

Ms. Kaplan now advises some of Deloitte's largest and most complex global clients on assurance, risk management and other financial and organizational challenges. She is the Lead Client Services Partner on the UBS and Xerox accounts, is actively involved in leading the NE Strategic Client Program and serves on many other high level committees.

William Parrett, the CEO of Deloitte and a St. Francis graduate was Kaplan's mentor for many years. She stressed the importance of cultivating a mentor relationship, but also of always remembering to give back to others.

"I climbed the ladder of the firm with one hand reaching up to my mentors and friends, and one behind to bring the next generation along. Take the time to develop meaningful relationships not just acquaintances." Kaplan said those relationships are what help make you a strong leader.

Last week, the Women's Studies Minor also hosted a concert, Women of Music: Composers of the Baroque, featuring Rebecca Pechefsky (harpsichord), Elizabeth Baber (soprano) and Carlene Stober (viola da gamba).

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
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