KPMG US Chair and CEO Paul Knopp Visits Lehman

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A group of people standing in front of a Lehman College banner.
After the discussion, KPMG CEO Paul Knopp met with Lehman students.

Paul Knopp, KPMG US Chair and CEO, addressed a full house of 150 Lehman College students and alumni—plus a substantial overflow crowd—at Lehman College this week as part of the New York Jobs CEO Council's CEO Speaker Series.

The February 6 event featured a fireside chat with Knopp and Lehman president Fernando Delgado; they discussed leadership, talent development, and the collaboration between the public and private sectors in driving job creation. Knopp’s visit also included a meeting with campus leadership and faculty, where they explored how Lehman and KPMG can work together to better prepare students for their careers.

“At our firm, we are committed to attracting high-performing talent, and I enjoyed meeting with the students and faculty during my visit to Lehman College,” said Knopp. “In partnership with the New York Jobs CEO Council, we are working to build a pipeline of future business leaders from CUNY campuses while making a difference in our communities.”   

Launched in 2020, the New York Jobs CEO Council (Jobs Council) is an organization that represents the collective commitment of 30 CEOs of the largest employers in New York, including Mr. Knopp. These leaders collectively pledged to hire 100,000 low-income New Yorkers, with a focus on communities of color, including 25,000 from the City University of New York (CUNY). Since 2022, the Jobs Council has hired nearly 30,000 jobseekers within the target group, with nearly 6,000 of those graduating from CUNY. The CEO Speaker Series supports this mission, connecting influential business leaders with students and faculty in the city’s public education institutions.

"It was a pleasure to host Mr. Knopp and provide students from our School of Business the opportunity to gain insights into the business world," said Delgado. "Fostering connections between students and influential leaders is part of our commitment to their professional growth, and our collaboration with the Jobs Council’s CEO Speaker Series helps establish that groundwork."

Following the fireside chat, students and alumni had the opportunity to network with KPMG US leadership, including Yesenia (Yessi) Scheker-Izquierdo, New York Office managing partner.

“At KPMG, we're committed to shaping future leaders. Engaging with Lehman students through this event was inspiring as they build a foundation for their career journeys,” Scheker-Izquierdo said. “We know a rich pool of CUNY talent exists right in our backyard and we were excited to spend time with them.”

Thomas Bonner, a student in the Lehman College School of Business who interviewed Knopp, said he “was personally inspired by Paul’s conversation around inclusion and diversity at the firm, in addition to the role that AI will play in the future. He was down to earth and, overall, a normal guy. He also shared that no matter where you come from, the skills that you learn at any job can be applied to future roles.”

New York Jobs CEO Council knows that representation matters. “We believe that if you can see it, you can be it,” said executive director Kiersten Barnet. “Bringing influential leaders like Paul and Yessi to CUNY campuses not only inspires students, but also highlights career pathways they may have not considered or known about before.”