Diversity at EY

Marion Smith, Australia

Please tell us about your current role at EY.

I am a manager in FS Assurance in FSO. In my role I am involved in leading audits across our insurance and wealth and asset management sectors. My role also involves helping to manage our business, and I am involved in a number of people initiatives in our FS Assurance division.


What attracted you to FSO at EY?

Before I joined EY, I heard about the culture and experiences from people I knew who worked at EY. The culture appeared to me to be a positive one where people felt encouraged and supported. When I was interviewed for a graduate position, I was shown around the office, and their appeared to me to be this great positive attitude which I had heard about and people appeared to be really motivated and enthusiastic to be at work. This was something that drew me into joining EY.


How would you describe the culture at EY?

I would describe the culture at EY to be one of high energy and motivation for what we do, a culture in which people’s different backgrounds and ideas are encouraged, and one in which people really care about their co-worker’s and their career development. It is also a fun culture, in which we balance out our hard work with a lot of laughs around the office, and plenty of off-site events.


Why do diverse teams matter to business?

Diverse teams matter to business as the best teams involve people with different points of view. If teams are made up of people who all think the same, then we will only ever come up with one set of answers to a problem, and only one set of skills in the team. When you have diverse teams with people that have different backgrounds and experiences and ways of thinking, our teams become more creative and innovative. We will come up with more ways to solve a problem and different skills sets to achieve our goals. In this way, diverse teams help our teams to become high-performing.


Talk about the diversity of your team, or a project team.

As I work in audit I work with a range of teams across my clients. I have a high level of diversity across the teams that I work with. Across my teams we have quite equal male to female ratios, and we have a lot of people from different cultural backgrounds as well as expatriates. For example, I work with people who have either permanently moved or seconded from America, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Estonia, as well as Australians with different cultural backgrounds. We also have people across my teams with different degrees and education, with those who have completed arts degrees, maths degrees or other non-accounting backgrounds. This diversity is great across my teams as it means we have a lot of different points of view, experiences and knowledge that we can leverage from in our work.


Please provide your cross boarder teaming examples and what you learnt?

I have had a number of cross boarder teaming experiences at EY. I have worked on smaller international clients as well as large and complex global clients. These engagements have meant the opportunity to work closely with our US colleagues across a number of cities (Boston, Chicago and New York), as well as colleagues in Japan, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and New Zealand. In working on these types of engagements, I have learnt about the industries in these other countries, as well as the global trends affecting our clients. I have also learnt about the regulations and reporting obligations of these different jurisdictions. I have also been provided with insights into managing large and complex global clients, as well the strategies that such global clients implement. These engagements have also meant I have learnt the different working styles of different cultures, and how to adapt to these different styles.

As a senior I also took part in the initial pilot program of our new CANVAS tool. I represented AsiaPac, with a manager from the Sydney office and a Director and Partner from Hong Kong. We were flown to Chicago, where we used the CANVAS tool and provided our feedback. We have the opportunity to speak with a large range of people working on the CANVAS project. The teams collaborating on the project were filled with EY representatives from all over the globe. This was a fantastic example of how global EY is, and how well we collaborate with all of our talent across the globe.


Are you involved in any programs to support women at EY?

While I am not involved in any specific EY programs that support women at EY, EY has supported me in my role at the YWCA. I am an EY representative on the Y-Connect committee which is a committee for young women in which we support the work performed by the YWCA. The YWCA is charity that runs community services and programs for women, families, children and youth.


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