Women @ EY

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Karen Hopkins

 


Run your own race. This equally applies to work and sport.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I'm a passionate property investor and have renovated about a dozen properties to date, together with my husband who is a builder. I enjoy the whole process of researching, purchasing, transforming and monetizing a property. The first property we renovated took five years and we lived in that house for the whole time. It's true to say, it'll either make or break your relationship. Happily, we're still together and I've since learnt a lot about building.

2. What do you like most about working for EY?

The EY culture is the aspect I like most about the firm. I particularly enjoy the friendliness, willingness to team and professionalism and have been pleasantly surprised that these qualities are inherent in EY people in all the offices and countries I have travelled to or worked in.

3. Who has inspired you in your professional life?

Don Fitzpatrick was seconded from the US in 1999 to develop our EY Business Development team into a professional sales function. He promoted me to EYA Marketing Director having been in a national marketing role for less than two years prior - in hindsight it was a stretch for me. His passion for doing the right thing, setting the bar high so you'd have to stretch your abilities, and persistent courage to improve the sales culture in the firm, were inspirational.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to share with others?

"Run your own race". This equally applies to work and sport.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

A key aspect of engagement is communication. In my view organisations should not make assumptions about what women will or won't do, without talking to them or extending the opportunity. Not all women, regardless of whether they have families or not, have the same aspirations. And the only way to improve engagement is to encourage conversations between leaders and women in their teams about career and personal plans, and then develop mutually beneficial actions.

  Contact: Karen Hopkins
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Rita Da Silva

 


Don’t be afraid to accept opportunities and challenges as they are presented to you with both hands.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

My family of 3 children, husband and I lead active and busy lives. We enjoy sports, travelling, trying new things, entertaining and spending time with family and friends. I feel I have the best of both worlds and flexibility at work has allowed me to actively contribute in the school and local community which is very rewarding and provides a good contrast to work. It also keeps me grounded with what is important in life. Each year I also challenge myself to try a new activity, be it dance classes or zumba or a sport.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

I have been at EY now for 23 years. The people, clients, flexibility, variety of challenges and opportunity to continue to grow, learn and develop constantly are in a nutshell the key factors for me staying with the same organisation. Now I value the opportunity to make a difference and ensure that we continue to offer the same and more for those just starting their careers.

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

I have been inspired by many different people, male and female, over the years, be it work colleagues, clients, family or business leaders. Those that inspire me tend to love what they do, have sound moral values, genuinely want to make a positive difference, encourage leadership and challenge you to be your best. My parents and family have been the constant that have instilled a strong work ethic and offer constant support for me to achieve to the best of my ability.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Don’t be afraid to accept opportunities and challenges as they are presented to you with both hands. Have confidence in yourself as those offering you genuinely believe you can do it.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Most people want to work with organisations that have good values that are aligned with themselves. Work is a big part of our lives and people need to feel connected and valued. By living these values everyday and throughout all levels of the organisation and culture, positive change can occur. I also believe that both conscious and unconscious bias does exist in organisations. If we can address such bias, offer opportunities to everyone equally, support flexibility and importantly respect all women’s choices without judgment, then we will significantly improve engagement and increase women in leadership.

  Contact: Rita Da Silva
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Katrina Zdrilic

 


Have a vision and envisage achieving it. Believe in yourself.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself

Not sure if it is interesting but I do a mean kookaburra voice impersonation! Clearly, I do things to entertain my 3 boys.
I love shoes, some call me Emelda, but I know some of my girlfriends have more than me, so it can’t be that bad.
I speak Croatian which is my background, and my husband, I and our 3 sons travel there regularly as we love the country and have a gazillion relatives there.

2. What do you like most about working for EY?

The people I work with - my teams and my clients. The work is interesting, with new opportunities regularly. The flexibility for family life is also very important to me and there is much flexibility in the way we work at E&Y, which means I can do tuckshop duties, sports carnivals etc.

3. Who has inspired you in your professional life?

My father - he runs his own business which he started from scratch as a non-English speaking immigrant in the 1970's and he always taught me and my siblings that Australia is a country that you can achieve anything in, so believe in yourself and give it a go.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to share with others?

Have a vision and envisage achieving it. Believe in yourself.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Build environments where women can reach leadership positions, ensure that opportunities are provided fairly to men and women, recognise that women may need something different in their careers to make them stay engaged, want to stay and to help them grow, and what this looks like is different for each women.

  Contact: Katrina Zdrilic
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Fiona Wee

 


Australians need to be more open minded when dealing with women and with others of different ethnic backgrounds.

1. Can you tell us a couple of interesting things about yourself

Having made the conscious decision to emigrate from Singapore to Perth, I then had to make the conscious acceptance that I was unlikely to be able to find a position in the Financial Services Industry that was equivalent to what I had left in Singapore (my last position being CFO & Head of Technology of International Personal Bank at Citibank Singapore). I then had to "transform" myself and build a new career path here in Perth. Fortunately for me, EY opened that door by taking me on board as a Senior Manager 4.5 years ago. My timing was perfect as the Oil & Gas market in Perth had just started to grow and investment was flowing into that industry. I have leveraged off my past experiences to then bring value to my clients in Oil & Gas and other government organisations.

2. What is it that you like most about working at EY?

The one thing I really appreciate about EY was the flexibility, empowerment and trust that they had in me. One of the first positive encounters I had with EY was when I was negotiating my contract terms to work a 4 day week. Bradley Farrell (a fellow partner and then ED) told me this "Don't worry about what EY wants, tell us what would work for you and we can work things out from there!" This was such an enlightening and fresh perspective to flexibility that I immediately knew I had found the right place to work. As a new migrant and new employee, I never felt isolated or excluded from the team.

The other thing that I really enjoy at EY is the high energy and drive amongst the people I work with. Life is always buzzing with work and being balanced by time with family, holidays and adventures that we share with one another.

3. Who has inspired you in your professional life?

I have been inspired by several senior women that I have worked with through my career, 2 of them held very senior positions at Standard Chartered Bank, one was the Head of Finance and my immediate boss and the other was a lady who later was appointed the CEO of the Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore. Both had a very balanced outlook to life, were very successful but unassuming women who stood up for what they believed in and were very supportive of their team. I was very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with both of them.

4. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received that you would impart to others?

My advice would be that whilst it is important to have role models and mentors, at the end of the day, one needs to find one's own place and style of doing things and it must be one that you are comfortable with. Trying to be someone else does not work. It is also important to remember that no matter how senior you are, you are still human and can make mistakes, hence I always still confer and discuss and bounce ideas and thoughts around with my team and colleagues.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

This is the eye-opener for me. Coming from Asia and the Banking industry, there were lots of senior women in management and Board roles. This had never been an issue that I had to ponder or think about when it came to work. Hence I am still grappling with the fact that it is an issue here in Australia. I think first of all the unconscious bias against women has to be removed and Australia has to be more open and integrated with their Asian neighbours as this is an area where they can learn from them. Australians need to be more open minded when dealing with women and with others of different ethnic backgrounds.

  Contact: Fiona Wee
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Stephanie Fahey

 


When there are more women who truly look out for each other, the sense of isolation is reduced and as a group they can create the space to mentor others who follow.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I was born into a remote rural family of six girls of which I am number three. I went to a one teacher school and fortunately our teacher was highly dedicated and inspiring. We had no library, we all sat together in one room but he managed to engage with us as individuals. The astounding thing is that we all went to University and some of us to postgraduate level. Hence my conviction that education can change the world.”

2. What do you like most about working for EY?

“You might think that a large firm such as EY could have prescriptive expectations of its employees but what I really like is its tolerance of diversity; its acceptance of the individual. You can be who you are and it’s a delight to meet and work with others who feel the same: comfortable, challenging, motivated people.”

3. Who has inspired you in your professional life?

“My parents: they were very perceptive about people. When you are born on the land and a long way from what we might call sophisticated living, people rely on each other, sometimes in situations of life and death. It is that inner strength and truth that marks the character. Truth: seeking it out, acknowledging it, standing up for it, they are the most inspiring qualities.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to share with others?

“In Australian farming life, there is a rather graphic saying ‘you don’t need to get on your belly to fight a snake’. It’s stuck with me. I guess because it is such a strong image but, again, it is the truth of it that resonates. You have to fight in this life for many things but be wary of the compromises you think you need to make.”

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

“I am convinced it is not enough to have just a few women in leadership positions. A diverse cohort of women at the top gives rise to the acceptance of alternative management styles for women. If you are the sole woman at the top of an organization, you can feel isolated; you have competed fiercely to get there and stay there and you are acutely aware of potential threats. When there are more women who truly look out for each other, the sense of isolation is reduced and as a group they can create the space to mentor others who follow.”

  Contact: Stephanie Fahey
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Winna Brown

 


Organisations need to better embrace flexibility - women juggle a lot in their lives but with flexibility and trust they can deliver top notch results.

1. Can you tell us a couple of interesting things about yourself.

I have an award winning wine named after me. I came to Australia on a three month transfer with EY and 13 years later I am still here and still working for EY. I met my husband during a backpacking tour of Tasmania.

2. What is it that you like most about working at EY?

Most, it’s the people that I work with – we are like a family. I also enjoy the variety of work that I do – it always keep me interested and challenged.

3. Who has inspired you in your professional life?

My parents are my biggest inspirations – they always believed I could do anything I wanted, even when I didn’t believe it myself. It always keeps me going.

4. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received that you would impart to others?

Always be confident enough to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers – but make sure you know how to get them!

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Organisations need to better embrace flexibility - women juggle a lot in their lives but with flexibility and trust they can deliver top notch results. Also, women need to feel that they will not be 'penalised' in their career progression for taking time off to have kids – if they are performing they should be promoted irrespective of their family circumstances.

  Contact: Winna Brown
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Lynn Kraus

 


When values aren’t aligned, women vote with their feet.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I have two beautiful boys, love being outdoors and consider myself to be at my best when in the company of good friends and family. From a work context I believe I have had a fantastically varied career and believe that I have been able to capitalise and learn from each experience good or bad.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

I enjoy the teaming aspect of what we do at EY - we bring people with diverse skills together to solve complex problems for our clients - 1 plus 1 definitely makes 3.

3. Who has inspired you in your professional life?

I have been lucky to have worked with some amazing people during my career but my first thought is that of a female partner who coached me during my first four working years. She came through the partnership at a time when there were very few females in the partnership ranks - she unfortunately had to make a lot of personal sacrifices that I have never had to make but I understood from her that hard work is the foundation for success.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Be the CEO of your career - no one else - no matter how well intended- will ever have the same vested interest as you.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

I think women are inclined to want to work with organisations that have values they share. I think most Australian organisations have good values sets and therefore to engage better with professional women they simply need to live those values and let those values guide decisions and create the culture within the organisation. When values aren’t aligned, women vote with their feet.

  Contact: Lynn Kraus
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Soseh Grigorian

 


Be pro-active in developing yourself both professionally and personally.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

Whilst I might be conservative at work, I'm quite an adventurist in my personal life. I enjoy most things that involve heights or speed, such as sky-diving and para-gliding!

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

The talented people who I have worked with over the years and who have guided me in building my career.

3. Who has inspired you in your professional life?

Many people have inspired me professionally but the greatest inspiration for my professional development and achievements has been from my parents and family, who have always encouraged me to contribute to the fullest as an individual whether in my personal or professional life.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

"Open your own doors". Be pro-active in developing yourself both professionally and personally, and drive your own destiny to the extent possible.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Be open to diversity of views, encourage more diverse senior representation and role models, address any unconscious bias and barriers that may exist in the workplace. All that said, many organisations are progressing well with gender diversity. Ethnic diversity is a matter close to my heart, and addressing this within the corporate market has the potential to deliver powerful results (quantitative and qualitative) for organisations.

  Contact: Soseh Grigorian
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Annette Kimmitt

 


I love the incredibly bright people I get to work with and call my colleagues every day.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I've finally arrived at that point in life where I'm completely guilt free about being a mum with a full-time career. I have two children who, despite their mother working full time for virtually all their lives have turned out to be two incredibly bright, well adjusted, funny and outgoing young adults, who have done well at school and who love and are proud of me. I've also managed to hold a loving marriage together for 27 years by sharing a genuine partnership with my husband in every respect. So it can be done and it's got nothing to do with whether or not you have a career.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

I love the incredibly bright people I get to work with and call my colleagues every day. I also genuinely connect with our aspiration as a firm of helping people to achieve their potential and make a difference. It's the ethic that my family have instilled in me since I was a little kid.

3. Who has inspired you in your professional life?

I have been most inspired in both my personal and my profession life by my Mum. She kept reminding me throughout the years, whenever I questioned whether having a career was worth it, that she and Dad didn't work as hard as they did to put me and my three brothers through private school to have us give up, and that we owed it to ourselves and to our own children to achieve our potential and make a difference.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Outsource everything your budget will allow on the domestic front (cleaning, gardening, etc, etc) and make your time with your family count.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

I've been working for nearly 29 years and holding out for the promise of a genuine level playing field, but still haven't seen any real improvement in outcomes for women who aspire to leadership, despite all the rhetoric, programs and policies. I've therefore become in recent years a true believer in the need for gender quotas in leadership, because until we get weight of numbers, organisational decision making will continue to be biased -whether consciously or unconsciously- against women.

  Contact: Annette Kimmitt
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Lucille Halloran

 


I value the relationships that I have and love working with my team.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I am married to Glen Halloran, who I met in Australia on a secondment. Our oldest son is 22 years old and is working as a graduate for Boral while undertaking his Masters and our youngest son, at 21 years of age is studying in Canada to become an architect. My immediate and extended family means everything to me. We have two spoodles - Coco and Hugo. We live a healthy and wholesome lifestyle - we value our friends and quality food. I am a gym junkie - I exercise for stress relief and to feel good - so moderately.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

The people and the clients. I value the relationships that I have and love working with my team. I also love helping people and clients so EY is great for me.

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

Something to believe in, someone to believe in and someone who believes in me.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

If you really believe you can or should do something then back yourself.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Organisations need to be aware of unconscious biases that may exist in their workplaces, be prepared to raise awareness and help people to see through an objective lens and to create environments and opportunities open to everyone.

  Contact: Lucille Halloran
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Megan Wilson

 


Every day brings different challenges and the opportunity to meet different and interesting people.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I’m an avid gardener, novice wine collector, part time golfer and procrastinating house renovator.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

Every day brings different challenges and the opportunity to meet different and interesting people.

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

It’s difficult to narrow that down to one person. Different people have inspired me at different times. Those who challenge my thinking and are passionate about what they do inspired me the most.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Nothing is impossible to achieve - every challenge/obstacle just needs to be broken down into smaller pieces that can be solved with the help of those around you.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Rather than judge anyone in the workforce for what they do not or have not achieved, look at what they have done and what they can achieve.

  Contact: Megan Wilson
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Emma Spiers

 


You can maintain your values and be successful - you just need to understand how the game is being played.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I’m a passionate competitive sailor – I was one of only four women in a fleet of 120 men at the last world championships. I’ve participated in a world championship in Moscow where I was the only female competitor. I am hoping to finish my Graduate Diploma in Counselling soon – I’m fascinated by the emerging field of neuroscience and what it tells us about behaviour, leadership, change and sports psychology.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

The variety of clients and business problems that I am engaged to provide advice on, and our ability to truly blend different skill sets and knowledge to bring the right advice to the client. No project or team is ever the same. When I walk through the EY lobby, I know I can be myself at work and that what I bring to our organisation is valued.

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

My father - he is on the Skype fast-dial for business / work-related advice.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

We only exist / have an identity by relating to others - relationships are the most important thing in life. It is important to make relationships with your family and friends a priority. At work, the relationships with your clients, team and peers are also the key determinant of success.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Organisations are reflective of the cultural norms of the broader society in which they operate - change is happening but it is slow. Therefore, to be practical, I would coach women earlier in their careers on what behaviours and competencies are sought in leadership roles - often women hold a different set of values and behaviours or have not thought about leadership requirements. This is not about making women behave like men - if we talk in stereotypes- it is about giving women the opportunity earlier in their careers to understand what they will need to flex / develop to be successful professionally. You can maintain your values and be successful - you just need to understand how the game is being played.

  Contact: Emma Spiers
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Merryn Stewart

 


Australian organisations need to be more flexible around the whole people agenda.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

Travel is a passion of mine. I have lived half my life outside Australia. One of my first jobs was as a nanny to a wealthy Indian family in Jaipur in India. From India I went to Kathmandu and spent some time there and did the Everest Base Camp trek which was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I then went to the UK at the age of 24 with the intention of six months' work and six months' backpacking and returned home to Australia some 20 years later! I worked in many wonderful cities around the world and also had the opportunity to live in London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Berlin and Amsterdam for periods of time plus have many fantastic personal adventures; Favourite personal memories would come from my travels in Tanzania, Cambodia, Jordan, Egypt, Canada and Morocco. I have been back in Australia for almost five years now and am happy to be feeling "Australian" again.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

The collaborative atmosphere - working in team environments where the sharing of ideas is not only welcomed but encouraged. Having the opportunity to work with interesting and inspiring people who all have a story to tell and can bring something different to the table, makes every day at work a good day.

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

I worked at another ‘Big 4’ Accounting firm for many years and had as a mentor one of the global leaders of that firm. He was an inspirational leader and very much a team player, who respected every single person in the organisation and what they had to bring to the success of the firm. He was a great believer in the saying "great leaders make other people great"; he probably borrowed that quote from someone else, but it is very much the quote that I live by. He inspired my leadership style.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Treat people the way you yourself want to be treated.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Personally, I think Australian organisations need to be more flexible around the whole people agenda including professional women. People have very varied lives and different lives than people even 20 years ago and I think flexibility of work environment - whether it be where you work from or how much you work and when - is key to any organisation having a diverse population of employees that bring the best of themselves to their organisation.

  Contact: Merryn Stewart
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Julie Hood

 


Be prepared to listen to diverse opinions and every now and then act on it.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I left school at 16 to complete a Cadetship as a Junior Architect, completing my Diploma of Architecture after four years working four days a week, studying night school and one full day. I have lived and worked in over 10 countries throughout my working career.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

The calibre of individuals we work with - both clients and colleagues. The opportunity to support clients to address some of the most challenging and complex issues they face.

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

I have a huge respect for people who undertake jobs I could not ie. a teacher or a nurse. It reminds me that we are not good at all things - so work out what you enjoy and be great at it.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Surround yourself with exceptional people, who will continuously challenge you to be better than you are.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Be prepared to listen to diverse opinions and every now and then act on it.

  Contact: Julie Hood
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Jo Barker

 


Your career is a big part of your life, so you need to enjoy it.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I am passionate about fashion, architecture and interior design - very different to my professional career - that and being a mum to two beautiful children, Stella and Ned - three if I count our gorgeous dog, Archie - provides the balance I need in my life.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

I love the fact that every day is different working with a variety of clients and Ernst &Young teams including local, international and across all service lines.

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

Interestingly I have had more male mentors over my career but that is probably a result of the small number of females that I have worked for and with. My parents both instilled a strong work ethic and fierce independence that has definitely helped me persevere in my professional life.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Your career is a big part of your life, so you need to enjoy it.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

I believe that unconscious bias is one of the biggest contributors to women either leaving organisations or not succeeding at the same rate as their male counterparts, and dealing with this actually begins at home and in the education system. Notwithstanding that, a leader - male or female - who gets how important D&I is to the success of an organisation will make a difference rather than what D&I policies exist.

  Contact: Jo Barker
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Fiona Campbell

 


Every day should be like a school day - you should try and learn something new.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I was born in the "deep south" of New Zealand and lived in three different states of Australia by the time I had finished high school. Moving around gave me good people skills - you need to learn how to make new friends quickly as well as how to maintain relationships with the people you no longer see regularly.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

I love the people I get to work with and learn from as well as the intellectual stimulation in dealing with really interesting and difficult issues. Every day should be like a school day - you should try and learn something new.

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

I have been inspired by people who work in the mail room of organisations right through to Chairmen of Boards. I find inspiration in a wide variety of people - and inspiration usually presents itself when you need it most.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Whenever you are asked to do something you don't think you're smart enough, experienced enough, good enough to do, think to yourself "what's the worst thing that can happen?" Typically the only risk is that you might learn something and if you make a mistake, make sure you learn from it. Very rarely do people get sacked for making a mistake - particularly if they learn from it. I have often reflected on the internal insecurities I have and remind myself of these words as well as "they wouldn't have asked you if they didn't think you were capable of doing the job!"

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Keep listening!

  Contact: Fiona Campbell
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Catherine Friday

 


I love learning, and EY is a great place to learn about how the world works.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I am married and have a nine year old daughter, two dogs, two horses, and one budgie. I enjoy regular horse riding, and my horse, Tom, is the keeper of all my secrets. I also love to read, and would one day love to publish a novel loosely based around the lives of women in a professional services firm!

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

I love learning, and EY is a great place to learn about how the world works. My favourite move is "Dead Poet's Society" and right through University I thought I was going to be a teacher. In some respects, I think I've landed in a job where I am a teacher, but my work is with clients and our teams, and conducted in the "real world". Every client organisation is different, and provides a different lens on the economy. And every person brings a different history and view to each engagement, and that makes our work environment "learning rich". Best of all, EY is a great place to learn about yourself: what you're good at, what you want to be good at, and what matters to you. The pace of learning is invigorating, and you're never "done".

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

Many, many people: I've felt inspired by a number of great managers, counsellors, mentors and friends at EY, who have made me feel valued and part of something bigger than myself.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Back yourself.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

Women are still terribly under-represented in the top echelons of organisations and so don't have the chance to speak for themselves. Until the balance is redressed, the current incumbents in those roles ie, mostly men should actively, deliberately, specifically, mentor and advocate for women and pull them into the forums where their opinions and voice can be heard and counted. Women don't need women as mentors: women know how to be women. They need individual and active advocacy from the cohort wielding the power.

  Contact: Catherine Friday
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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Alison de Groot

 


I find that the Partners and leaders at EY really want to listen.

1. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I have been at EY now for 22 years and personally think that is a great achievement in itself. Why have I stayed this distance? Because I am forever doing new things, meeting new people and being challenged. My husband Adrian and son Mitchell make the most of our time together entertaining, travelling, and enjoying good food and great times.

2. What do you like most about working at EY?

The people and the challenges excited me about joining EY and are the reasons why I am still here- there is always a challenge and something new to do if you look for it. Also you can really make a difference if you want to. I find that the Partners and leaders at EY really want to listen.

3. What has inspired you in your professional life?

Many people have inspired me over time – colleagues, clients, family and friends. I find inspiration in things that people have done or in what people say in specific situations rather than in one person.

4. What is the best piece of advice that you received that you would like to impart to others?

Learning is up to you - when you go to a training session, a lot of people think they can sit back and let the facilitator take over. They will judge a learning session by how good they think the facilitator is rather than how open they are to learning new concepts or skills. It is not about the facilitator, it is about you and what you want to learn from the time you are spending – right there and then.

5. What do Australian organisations need to do to better engage with professional women?

I personally think many organisations, and the people within them, are doing really well at this - a lot of it is about listening to the many perspectives they have available to them and being open to more diverse thinking than what they have done or seen before.

  Contact: Alison deGroot
  The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young.
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At EY, we value all our people and recognise the diversity of thought they bring to the table. The Women @ EY series, showcases some of our female leaders who inspire and role model the values that make EY a great place to work. We invite you to read their stories:

Karen Hopkins Rita Da Silva Katrina Zdrilic
Asia-Pac Brand, Communications and Marketing Director Partner – Assurance Partner – Assurance
Fiona Wee Stephanie Fahey Winna Brown
Partner – Advisory Partner – Advisory Partner – Assurance
Lynn Kraus Annette Kimmitt Lucille Halloran
Office Managing Partner – Sydney Office Managing Partner – Melbourne Office Managing Partner – Canberra
Megan Wilson Emma Spiers Merryn Stewart
Partner – Assurance Partner – Advisory Oceania Communications Director
Julie Hood Jo Barker Catherine Friday
Partner –
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Partner –
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Partner – Advisory
Fiona Campbell Alison de Groot Soseh Grigorian
Partner – Assurance Partner – Assurance Oceania Operations Director

The views expressed in these articles are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young. These articles provide general information, does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under the Professional Standards Legislation.