MARIA BLOHM

Making a difference for local kids one book at a time

I was born in Pittsburgh, the oldest of three girls, and went to school at the University of Virginia where I majored in Accounting. I was excited to start working with KPMG in their Washington DC office after I graduated. While working there, I met my husband Brian. We got married in Pittsburgh in 2007 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland. After living in Washington DC for several years, we moved back to Pittsburgh in 2012 after having our daughter, Bella, to be closer to family. Both Brian and I still work at KPMG in Pittsburgh, and we have two kids – Bella is now six-years-old, and our son Anthony is four-years-old.

Are you a lifelong Pittsburgher? If so, what keeps you here? If not, what brought you to Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh has changed a lot from the time I was in high school.  It’s been amazing to see the transition. I’m proud to be a Pittsburgher. This is such a great place to raise a family and the city has so much to offer in terms of the arts, education, sports, restaurants, philanthropy and more.

How does Pittsburgh inspire and inform your work?

I think the people in this city are extremely hard working and generous. My husband and I both feel incredibly grateful for everything we have and are always looking for ways to impart that sense of humility, kindness, giving back, and hard work to our kids.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ll tackle this week?

December is always a crazy time of year! But even though it’s busy, I love the holidays and spending time with family, eating good food, and of course giving presents. After the holidays wrap up, I’ll roll right into our busiest time at work which is January and February. I’m in the Audit practice at KPMG and audit opinions for companies with calendar year-ends are issued in February or March.

What excites you the most about your work?

I am inspired every day by the people I work with – they are some of the best I’ve worked with in my entire career. They are bright, innovative, dedicated, and always pushing themselves and the rest of the team to improve on the status quo. And they are lots of fun to be around, as well.

It’s time to unwind. Where do you head?

To the beach! Anywhere that is warm and has lots of sunshine.

Why is giving back important to you?

I was raised in a hardworking, blue collar family, and always understood that we were more fortunate than some, and it was our obligation to help others as much as possible. It’s one of the things I love most about my job – commitment to our communities is one of our core KPMG values – but it’s not just something we talk about. It is something we live, breathe, and DO each and every day. The feeling you have when you know that you’ve mentored a child that doesn’t otherwise have good adult role models to look up to, or provided books to students who don’t have access to quality literature, or provided gifts to children who won’t be getting anything this holiday season, is priceless.

Why United Way? How has your Bridges membership helped you, personally and professionally?

United Way brings everything together. The organization has a proven track record of vetting the organizations they work with to ensure funds are spent in the most efficient and effective way to help children, women, struggling families, veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and others. I appreciate how United Way brings diverse, caring, thoughtful people together from both the business and nonprofit worlds to work toward a common goal.

I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of wonderful people through the Bridges Society and the Women’s Leadership Council, participate in fun and meaningful volunteer events, and learn more about the impact United Way’s work has on our communities.

How has KPMG worked with United Way through the 100,000 Books Campaign?

It was a natural fit to partner with United Way for the 100,000 Books campaign since KPMG’s flagship citizenship program is KPMG’s Family for Literacy (KFFL). KFFL’s mission is to eradicate childhood illiteracy by putting new books into the hands of children in need and developing the next generations of young leaders through reading. We have a very active local chapter here in Pittsburgh, and through our adopted elementary school, West Liberty Elementary, we had already been providing books and organizing reading and other literacy programs.

By partnering with United Way, we’ve been able to leverage our networks to achieve our goal of providing 100,000 books to local communities and are in our final year of this three-year mission. We recently had a really successful “Beers for Books” happy hour at a local brewery and are planning a big spring volunteer and distribution event (stay tuned for details!) to celebrate the success of this campaign.

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