KPMG will pay golfer Stacy Lewis' full contract on maternity leave

11 July 2018

LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis revealed that accounting and consulting firm KPMG – her main sponsor – will be paying her sponsorship deal in full when she goes on maternity leave. According to Lewis, this is the first time a female pro golfer will be paid the full value of her contract while on maternity leave.

Top female athletes often have to choose between becoming mothers and continuing their athletic careers. Without a maternity leave system in place, pro female athletes potentially have to make the choice of whether to give up their income for a year (or more) in order to have a child. As such, many will leave off motherhood until after they retire. It’s an imbalance not felt by male athletes, as well as by women employed at organizations with progressive maternity leave benefits.

As such, the news that KMPG will pay LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis’ contract in full during her maternity leave is a watershed moment in female pro sports. The accounting and consulting firm is the 12-time LPGA Tour winner’s main sponsor.

According to Lewis, this is the first time that a female pro golfer will be paid the full value of her contract while on maternity leave. And according to Lewis, KPMG were the ones who proposed the idea.

KPMG will pay golfer Stacy Lewis' full contract on maternity leave

Not long after Lewis told KPMG she was expecting, the Big Four firm informed the golfer that they would still be paying her sponsorship in full, regardless of how many events she played. Lewis said the decision came from CEO Lynne Doughtie, a working mother herself.

"They've felt from the get-go that I'm a part of their company,” remarked Lewis. “I'm a part of what they do, and they wanted to treat me like that. It 100 percent came from them."

KPMG is a company that strives to be an inclusive workplace that supports the careers of its female employees. Therefore, the firm offers its employees generous maternity leave benefits, including 16 weeks paid maternity leave and 10 weeks unpaid leave, according to women’s workplace review site Fairygodboss. KPMG also offers strong paternity leave benefits to its employees.

Consequently, the decision aligns with the company’s corporate values, while also generating good press for the accounting and consulting firm.

Lewis hopes KPMG’s decision will set a precedent for sponsors of female athletes. "More than anything, it brought attention to it, and that's the goal,” she said. “I didn't necessarily want to put it out there, but the more I thought about it, I was like, this could bring about some change, and we need to get it out there."

"I definitely hope with what KPMG decided to do, I hope it changes the way contracts are written, that that is already included in there, where it doesn't have to come from a CEO or whoever is making all the decisions," Lewis said.

Lewis hit par at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last week, finishing in 28th place. It was one of her final tournaments of the year before taking maternity leave.


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Former NFL player and coach to become full-time consultant

16 April 2019

Robert Mathis spent 14 years playing for the National Football League (NFL)’s Indianapolis Colts. He is a six-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl winner. After retiring, he joined the Colts again, first as a volunteer assistant coach in the 2017 offseason, then to full-time when the season began.

Mathis has now stepped down from his coaching position – but he isn’t done with the Colts just yet. He plans to stay with the team as a pass-rush consultant. “Yeah, he just stepped back to just a consulting role,” Frank Reich, the Colts’ head coach, told reporters. “So still kind of helping on pass-rush stuff, but not full-time. Just periodically coming in, helping. So in spirit still with us.”

Mathis holds a Colts franchise record of 123 sacks and 54 forced fumbles – the most in NFL history. As for his consulting career, Mathis will be on staff at Pro X Athlete, a professional-level training facility which employs several former pro athletes in Westfield, Indianapolis.

The move comes from Mathis’s desire to step away from the playing field and spend more time with his family, according to ESPN. It will also allow Mathis to spend more time with players, should they need it. Under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, an assistant coach is limited in the amount of time he or she can spend training athletes during the offseason. This point is moot if players are training with a consultant or trainer, such as those as Pro X Athlete, as they are not officially associated with any team.Former NFL player and coach to become full-time consultant“The Colts have done a great job supporting me,” Mathis told ESPN’s Mike Wells. “I’m still a partner with them. I’m just not a coach with the team anymore. They know my heart is in a good place. They know I have good intentions and that I want the best for them. This is one of the ways I feel like I can help them. It’s a win-win because I still get to do what I’m passionate about in teaching while helping guys on the team I spent my entire career with.”

“It’s a big jump going from playing to coaches. It’s a big commitment,” Reich added. “I think it can be a win-win, where he can still be there and still offer his wisdom and stuff to us at appropriate times and in appropriate ways.”

Mathis’s somewhat lateral move isn’t entirely strange. Professional athletes often stick around their chosen sport after retirement. To do otherwise can prove difficult. While often wealthy, retired athletes are sometimes lost to the wind when it comes to marketable skills that would allow them to enter other areas of business.

EY and Athlete Career Transition (ACT) joined forces to combat this in March 2017, with EY offering “athletes around the globe with professional roles within its global operation, as well as the necessary training and development resources to make the transition possible." 

Related: NFL coaches and Fortune 50 CEOs go head-to-head