Kymberly Messersmith, ’88, Recognized for Achievement in Public Service
By Eva Richards
Kymberly Messersmith, ’88, was always interested in government. One might even say it was in her blood.
“My father (Frank Messersmith) was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in my final years of high school, and I would spend time in his legislative office observing meetings, hearings and negotiations,” she remembered.
Today, as managing director of government affairs at KPMG LLP, Ms. Messersmith has had an impressive career in governmental affairs, spanning from nonprofit companies to large corporate entities. Last year, Messersmith was one of 77 women featured on the 2019 Crain’s New York Business list of notable women in accounting and consulting.
She will be recognized later this month with the NIUAA's Alumni Achievement in Public Service Award.
Messersmith has an extensive network in state legislative, regulatory and executive offices. Messersmith’s considerable experience in issue management, strategic offense and defense, brand building, coalition leadership and development makes her a leader in the field of government relations and analyzing political risk.
Among her responsibilities at KPMG, Messersmith coordinates with state CPA Societies and Chambers to craft responses to proposed policy that would impact the profession. Messersmith currently serves on The Accountant’s Coalition (TAC), a national organization, and leads TAC on state tax and privacy issues.
She credits her family for helping her find her strength and direction at a young age. Even though she tagged along with her dad at work many times over his years in government, she was especially impacted by “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.”
“My parents and my grandparents led by example,” she said. “Even when there was not much money in our homes, there was always space for more visitors at the table or an extra bed for a person that needed a safe space. My grandmother and my mother were small business owners. As employers and as community leaders, they taught my family and neighborhood children confidence and self-respect and demonstrated that women could be successful in the world of business.”
During her time at NIU, she was very active in student government. She served as a student regent for the Board of Regents (now the Board of Trustees) and as a senator and a member of the budget committee with the Student Association. Messersmith also served as vice president of the Illinois Student Association.
“Like KPMG, NIU fosters a growth environment and recognizes progress,” she said.
Always one to give back, Messersmith still finds time to mentor NIU political science students and was recently invited to campus to give the keynote speech at the School of Public and Global Affairs’ annual event for high school students enrolled in AP Government and Economic classes.
“As cheesy as it sounds, doing for others brings me joy,” Messersmith said of her pro bono and public work. “And when I cannot get moving or am in a dark mood, I find that focusing on someone else lifts me up.”
A strategic, outside-of-the-box thinker, Messersmith has been able to thrive at KPMG because of the company’s unique environment, which encourages self-starters, creative thinking and innovation.
“Once a concept has some bones, the more seasoned KPMGers help you get to where you need to be to deliver on the idea, project or program,” she noted. “I am always learning, and the firm is ever evolving. It is nice to continue learning at this point in my life.”