Rudrani Djwalapersad, Netherlands
Rudrani Djwalapersad graduated from Erasmus University in Rotterdam in 2010 with a masters of business administration and also a masters on financial law. She subsequently joined EY in 2013.
Can you tell me about your work prior to joining EY, and what your current role is here at EY?
So I completed a masters of business administration and financial law at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. I graduated from Erasmus in 2010 and due to the current state of the economy at that time I took a year off and travelled. In March 2011, after my travels I started working at Atos Consulting which was a small consulting company, in which I mainly focused on information security and risk management. It was different from business administration, but was an area that I always had an interest in. After two years at Atos, I was contacted by Dedrick’s college and asked would I work for EY? They were looking for people to travel to London to gain experience and knowledge. EY was not the first firm to come to my mind, in fact I was looking to apply to PwC and Deloittes due to their vast knowledge in cyber security, however, I was told that EY was looking to develop their cyber security division and would I join the team. So on the 1st April 2014 I started at EY as a senior in the cyber security division. I was the second person in the team, and we now have 10-15 people in the team. The challenge was that we needed to start from scratch as everybody knew us as the IT auditor and the account assurance partner but not as advisory partner. That was a big challenge, it still is, to change people's mindset, and now that we are advisers as well, we know cyber security, but Tony and myself started actively organizing client defence, building up the practice, and not only us two but we were the main two dedicated team members, and then together with the old group, started dissolving it. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to come to EY. Cyber security was the field of my interest, but I'd like to be able to build and be a bit entrepreneurial within a big company as well. Now, within EY, I received the opportunity to help build a practice like a business under the label of EY.
We also have a lot of conversations with our colleagues in different countries. So, in the projects that I work with, we have a French team, a team in Hong Kong, a team in the UK, and you work all together with one client. So, it's very international and I like that. It's diverse, and it's over the links and the network that I started, and that is something that I really enjoy. Together with colleagues from other countries, you build up some solutions. At EY if you work hard and people notice it, you will get rewarded for it. Yeah, that's something that I experienced in my team, and I know I cannot speak for others, but it's just that if people show you, if people notice you, they will help you as well. So, all the hard work paid off definitely.
Can you please tell me about the network for non-native woman and you role with the network and what see in the future for the network?
After I graduated I went back to Suriname in South America, it is a small colony of the Netherlands as is where my family resides. So, what I found more interesting, after I graduated, I saw a lot of networks specific for some non-native groups - for Chinese, one specific for Indians, etc., and I wanted to do some networking for young professionals to help each other. I enrolled in a couple of workshops and learned more about networking and entrepreneurial ventures. One thing I didn’t like about the workshops was the fact that at each one it was all the same people. So I thought I should build my own network, after a while a couple of non-native women had shown some interest. I looked up their profile on LinkedIn and saw they were after that same things I was but was not hired anywhere. At EY we talk a lot about management, and also diversity. I see a lot happening I the lower level of the organisation, but not a lot in the higher levels and I wanted to help so I suggested the non-native women network to a manager and he liked the idea and helped me launch it. We held a brainstorming session with 21 women from different backgrounds and they all showed an interest in the network. EY plays a big role because they are our sponsor and have provided us with resources, which we’re very grateful for. Now, the challenge that I have, because if I talk to my friends who work in government or other universities or any other companies, they are experiencing the same thing. So, if you have more different people from different backgrounds and different perspectives, and as well what they say, it’s non-native women in power, but it is not the fact that they are not strong enough, they are strong enough already, we want to empower them, and you can only empower them, in our belief, if it’s not only specific to female.
The main focus point is creating a community, so with the members that there are, we want to build a part on the website that you log in as a member and create like an online community, a mixture of LinkedIn and Facebook, so then when you’re a member, when you have a certain question, just pop it up in the discussion forum, and people who have experience on it can react on it. So, really gives people resources if they have a challenge or share interesting information to each other. We also want to have ambassadors, more on coaching, female and male, native and non-native, who are already successful and have a lot of experience so that they can share their insights. So, it’s not only about events, it’s more about creating a community where people are empowered by thinking, giving them resources to empower themselves and each other.