From Santa Maria to New York: A Journey of Success and Philanthropy

Samantha Gloede (1994) transformed her career from science to global technology leadership in New York. Explore her story of seizing opportunities, embracing diverse cultures, and giving back through philanthropy. From her days as a student overlooking the Swan River to marathons in iconic cities, Sam’s path is one of passion, resilience, and making a positive impact.

What did you do when you left Santa Maria?

After I graduated from Santa Maria College in 1994, I attended Murdoch University studying for a Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Accounting and Information Systems. I graduated from Murdoch in 1998. 

When I was at Santa Maria, I was heavily focused on science and maths and always assumed I would become a pharmacist. My Mum had amazing foresight and gave me great advice to study something in the technology space, which was an amazing pivot because a business and technology degree was not a typical combination at that time. It was really the start of an amazing career for me.

I now live in New York City, with my husband Rory, our 6-year-old son Aidan, and our two dogs Bergie and Maddie.

What jobs or career have you had?

While I was studying at Murdoch, I had a couple of summer internships at KPMG and Coopers and Lybrand (now known as PWC). I accepted a graduate offer with KPMG in their Technology Risk practice based in the Perth office. During my first year as a graduate, I was sent on a project to the Hong Kong office, and that started my absolute passion for working across KPMG’s global network.

After three years with KPMG in Perth, I was offered a position with KPMG in New York and relocated in March 2001. While in New York, I worked on Technology Risk projects with clients like Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and many other clients in the Financial Services industry. I stayed in New York for three years and then relocated back to Sydney. During this time, I took on an Asia Pacific regional business development role and a global leadership role with KPMG’s Risk Services practice, which allowed me to travel all over Asia, Europe and North America. 

I permanently relocated to New York in 2011, where I held various roles in Technology Risk and Technology Innovation. As a leader in our Life Sciences Consulting leadership, I worked with amazing clients like Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and McKesson. It was incredibly interesting working with organisations at the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic response. In my current role, I am the Global Trusted Leader, leading a significant investment portfolio of digital solutions in the risk, regulatory, and ESG space. 

Where have you travelled to or lived?

I have lived in Perth, Sydney and now I call New York City my home. My husband calls New Zealand and Ireland home, and we have a house in an Irish town called Youghal in County Cork. I have travelled to so many countries all across the world, in Asia, Europe, North and South America. 

What do you love to do in your spare time?

I am very active keeping up with my son and two dogs! I am an avid runner. There is rarely a morning that I am not running through the streets of NYC at 5.16 am! I’ve run 14 marathons in New York, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Boston, and Philadelphia. I am currently training for the Washington DC marathon this November, and then next year I have London and Chicago scheduled!

I also practice transcendental meditation every morning before I run. I think this is an important part of my routine which sets the tone for a calm, productive and positive day.

What are you passionate about?

I am most passionate about my family (including my fur-babies!), and my friends. I am also passionate about the charities that I serve and giving back to the community. I feel very blessed, and I think it is important to pay it forward.

And my guilty pleasures are watching reality TV on Bravo and buying handbags and shoes, I am not sure I will ever have enough!

What is your favourite memory from your time as a student at Santa Maria?

I feel so lucky to have spent my entire school education at Santa Maria, Mel Maria, and Saint Joseph Pignatelli, over 12 years forming friendships that are still strong to this day, even with the enormous distance between many of us.

I have the absolute best memories of sitting with my best girlfriends on the Figure 8 grass for recess and lunch, with the most magnificent view of the Swan River and Perth. I think about those days often and just how lucky we all were.

I also have a very strong memory of sitting in my clarinet class on the top floor, looking over at the Perth City skyline, thinking to myself that one day I would work in a big city like that! Little did I know, I would not long after be living in one of the biggest cities in the world. I guess my music room dream did come true!

Another fond memory is buying homemade toffees from Sister Gemma, that was the best day of the week!

Did you have a favourite teacher at Santa Maria?

I have so many favourite teachers from all three schools, they were all so great! I think Sister Sheila was my all-time favourite because she also taught my mum, and I always felt a very special bond with her because of that. But I also had the most fun in Physics with Mr Ryan (who used so many crazy and fun techniques to help us learn), and Italian with Ms Lewis (she always made us feel like friends and we had a great time in class with her). Ms O’Flaherty was also very special, and she wore the coolest fur jacket when it was cold!

What has been a highlight for you over your career?

Growing into a leadership role at KPMG, a firm I really love and who I’ve worked for since I was a graduate 25 years ago. Now, I am a mentor to many young women across the global firm, and seeing these women grow in their own careers is a real treat.

Tell us a little about your philanthropy.

I am on the Advisory Board of the Animal Haven,  a shelter committed to enriching the lives of homeless cats and dogs, including behaviour intervention, enrichment outings, and ongoing support after adoption. Every animal rescued stays in care for as long as it takes to find their forever home.

I am an Alumni Member of Women in America, with a mission to empower high-performing women to achieve positions of influence in business through mentorship and community.

I served as the Advisory Board Chair of Back on My Feet (New York City Chapter) for seven years. Back on My Feet combats homelessness through the power of fitness, community support, and essential employment and housing resources.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy life to share your story with us, Sam.

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