Elena Richards is a Principal and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at KPMG LLP. She is an accomplished HR, talent management and diversity professional with deep knowledge of the professional services industry.
As CDEIO, Elena leads the firm’s national Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) team and works closely with KPMG’s management committee and board of directors to advance the firm’s Accelerate 2025 strategy, a commitment for more underrepresented talent to choose KPMG as their employer of choice, experience thriving careers within an inclusive culture, and advance to partnership and leadership levels. Elena further collaborates with KPMG’s functional business leaders on the business integration of the firm’s strategic priorities. The outcome of her leadership has earned the firm recognition as a top workplace by Fortune, DiversityInc, Seramount, Human Rights Campaign, and more.
Elena leads key firmwide initiatives including the ‘people’ section of KPMG’s annual U.S. Impact Plan outlining progress against the commitments set forth by Accelerate 2025, the Business Resource Group (BRG) Leadership Council which oversees 200+ national and local BRG chapters and inclusion councils. She serves on the Talent and Culture Leadership Team, driving the collaboration with people-centric processes to further embed DEI in talent acquisition, people strategy and solutions, learning and development, communications, and total rewards.
As a thought leader, Elena recently published KPMG’s first-ever survey on corporate DEI progress (The Diversity Journey), along with a whitepaper series on embedding DEI into hybrid and return-to-office work strategies and making hybrid work, work with a DEI lens. She has hosted a series of chief diversity officer (CDO) peer exchange, bringing together CDOs across various organizations to discuss DEI strategies and challenges impacting businesses across all industries.
With over 20 years of experience, Elena’s north star is to create psychologically safe workplaces and equitable experiences for underrepresented talent. She is an ambassador of the firm’s DEI commitments, and has been the driving force behind KPMG being a signatory on pledges holding the business community accountable with organizations including Business Roundtable, the Gender and Diversity KPI Alliance, and Disability: IN. In 2021, she was the recipient of the NJCPA Ovation award, recognizing her passion and contributions towards promoting diversity and inclusion across the finance and accounting profession.
Elena earned her BA in criminal justice at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and is a certified executive coach.
She currently serves as a board member for the KPMG U.S. Foundation, Inc. and the Community Foundation of New Jersey. She is on the board of advisors for Catalyst, a member of the Boston College Center for Work & Family advisory board and a member of Seramount’s Diversity Best Practices collective. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ National Diversity & Inclusion Commission and was previously an advisory board member for Howard University’s Center for Accounting Education.
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