2021 EY Young Tax Professional of the Year finalists

Forty-three finalists representing 62 countries will be participating in this year's EY Young Tax Professional of the Year competition. The competition is part of our commitment to fostering the next generation of tax leaders. We’ll update this list as more winners are announced. Congratulations to all the 2021 finalists!

Potographic portrait of Urja Maloo

EY Young Tax Professional of the Year

Congratulations to Urja Maloo, this year’s EY Young Tax Professional of the Year winner. 

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Meet the other 2021 finalists 

  • Australia – Ben Gordon

    Photographic portrait of Ben Gordon

    Ben, representing Australia and New Zealand, graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) degree this past June. He joined EY in 2019 as an intern and later returned to the organization as a graduate in the Global Operations team amid the lockdown, working remotely for the first few months. He is currently on a short-term secondment in New Zealand, but in the longer term, he hopes to settle in Europe or the United States for work. Ben enjoys going to the beach, sports, cooking and travelling. He is taking virtual Italian lessons because he’d like to be fluent in Italian.

  • Austria – Stefanie Stöcklinger

    Photographic portrait of Stefanie Stöcklinger

    Stefanie received her Master of Law degree in July 2021 from Vienna University of Economics and Business. She is currently working as a teaching and research associate at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law while completing her PhD in law. Stefanie believes that practical experience is important, so she has worked in various law firms and tax consulting firms while completing her degrees. Although Stefanie enjoys reading thrillers, hiking and cycling, she likes running the most and has participated in a half marathon. She hopes to cross the Vienna City Marathon finish line next year.

  • Belgium – Yannick Sonck

    Photographic portrait of Yannick Sonck

    Yannick is the finalist from Belgium. He has been working as a junior corporate tax consultant in the EY Ghent office since August 2021, following the completion of his Master of Taxation from the University of Ghent in June 2020. When not busy with EY work, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and other friends, and is passionate about sports-oriented activities like football, cycling, and running. When he was in school, he says he often worked as an educator and coach for children, which was very rewarding.

  • Brazil – Lais Claus

    Photographic portrait of Hajar Nadhirah

    Lais, from Brazil, is the finalist representing Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. She is currently a consultant for EY People Advisory Services, but Lais began her career as a lawyer specializing in contracts and labor law after earning her Bachelor of Laws from Mackenzie Presbyterian University in 2016. She co-wrote articles on labor rights and related topics. She is studying Law Economics at State University of Campinas, which “is helping me improve my analytical skills.” She aspires to combine technology with tax work in an international environment. She loves to travel and spent time as an exchange student in Alabama (USA), where she improved her English. Nowadays she gives back as a volunteer teaching English on Saturdays.

  • Colombia – Linda J Ladino

    Photographic portrait of Linda J Ladino

    Linda, based in Colombia, recently graduated as a lawyer from Del Rosario University with minors in Commercial Law and Tax Law. During her time there, she was a member of the University’s tax clinic. Linda is pursuing a postgraduate degree in Commercial Law while working at the EY office in Bogota. She joined EY in 2019 as an intern and is now part of the Business Tax Advisory team. Previously, she worked as a legal assistant at a firm that serves the oil and gas sector. She aspires to work in the entertainment, technology or sports industry on the tax or business side. A former gymnast, Linda is a fan of musical theater and plays the saxophone and the piano. She enjoys building Lego, doing jigsaw puzzles and running.

  • Denmark – Jeppe Straarup

    Photographic portrait of Jeppe Straarup

    Jeppe is in his final semester before earning a Master of Law from Aarhus University in Denmark. While completing his studies, he works as a legal aid lawyer. Jeppe hopes to work on international tax matters because working with people of different cultures is very appealing to him. It is also one of the main reasons for entering the EY Young Tax Professional of the Year competition. In his spare time, he is a boat builder and a sailor. It gives him an opportunity to get outside and work with his hands, learning a lot about a completely different field of work.

  • Dominican Republic – Dionigi De Santis

    Photographic portrait of Dionigi De Santis

    Dionigi is the finalist representing Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. He completed his law degree from Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo in July 2021. He is working with the EY Law team in the Dominican Republic while doing a master’s degree in Business Law at ADEN International Business School. Before joining EY, he served as head of the claims and legal department at an insurance agency. Dionigi is a sports enthusiast. Despite being a fan of football for as long as he can remember, he has recently taken up volleyball and is loving it. Fun fact: he was born in Italy, moved to Cuba as a toddler and is now living in the Dominican Republic. 

  • Egypt – Shehab Abdelqader

    Photographic portrait of Shehab Abdelqader

    Shehab, from Egypt, is one of the four finalists representing the Middle East and North Africa region. He is a graduate of Cairo University with a bachelor’s in Business Administration, has four specialization certificates in investment management from the University of Geneva and is a recipient of the CFA Institute Investment Foundations Certificate®. Shehab joined the EY team in Cairo in early 2020, participating in different kinds of tax-related engagements. The former Egyptian Army soldier’s aspirations include becoming the youngest EY MENA regional managing partner and possibly running for president of Egypt someday — goals befitting one whose name in Arabic means “a shooting star.” His hobbies include playing the guitar and singing, working out, watching films, and reading.

  • Finland – Maija Arimo

    Photographic portrait of Maija Arimo

    Maija is pursuing an MSc in Economics and Business Administration at Aalto University School of Business in Finland. She is working for a tax technology company with a mission to revolutionize transfer pricing by automating documentation and introducing advanced analytics tools. She says it’s a thrilling place to be. She describes herself as “a bit of a foodie” who loves searching for delicious new flavors locally and in her travels. In the summertime, she enjoys sailing and “visiting the beautiful Finnish archipelago.” During the winter, you can find her cross-country skiing “as much as possible.”

  • France – Anthony Roustan

    Photographic portrait of Anthony Roustan

    Anthony completed his master's degree at Aix-Marseille University in France in 2020. He is currently enrolled at Haute École des Avocats Conseil in Versailles and is working at a law firm’s tax department because he hopes to become an international tax lawyer. He is also working with friends to create an association of young tax professionals in France that would draw on the experience of renowned tax lawyers, tax authorities and heads of tax. Anthony enjoys running, different sports and nature.

  • Ghana – Abraham Glover

    Photographic portrait of Abraham Glover

    Abraham completed studies for his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Ghana in September. The bachelor’s program gave him the opportunity to study courses outside of accounting, including finance, taxation, marketing, HR and public administration which broadened his understanding of the challenges companies face. With a pair of internships under his belt, Abraham is now completing Ghana’s mandatory year of national service. After that, he hopes to get a job at one of the Big Four firms. During his spare time, he enjoys catching up on sports news and watching movies and science documentaries. He also says he values a good upbringing, and therefore helps teach kids as a volunteer at his church as well as in the community.

  • Hungary – Milan Zamodics

    Photographic portrait of  Milan Zamodics

    Milan is the finalist representing Hungary. He earned his Bachelor of Laws in 2020 from the University of Surrey in England. He joined the EY Hungary VAT team that August and has worked on cases ranging from complex VAT advisory projects to compliance-related work for domestic and international clients. He has an eye toward becoming involved with EY teams that work to effectively digitalize and automate tax processes. He participated in a tree planting initiative in Budapest as part of the EY Ripples program. In his spare time, he enjoys exercising and has recently taken up squash. 

  • Indonesia – Viennie M Lians

    Photographic portrait of Viennie M Lians

    Viennie is in her final year at Petra Christian University in Indonesia. She is an intern in the business tax advisory team with EY in Indonesia, assisting in tax dispute and tax compliance matters. She served as a tax volunteer at school, helping individual taxpayers submit their annual tax returns. At home, her passion is listening to music and compiling playlists based on different emotions. 

  • Japan – Zhiyun Du

    Photographic portrait of Zhiyun Du

    Zhiyun is originally from China but currently lives in Japan and speaks Chinese, English and Japanese. She is an undergraduate student at the University of Tokyo, majoring in East Asian studies with a sub-major in Global Economy and Management. She was an intern in the human resource department of an international mobility corporation. While in that position, she gained basic tax knowledge, such as income tax and residence tax calculations. She hopes to use her international education to pursue a career in international taxation, specializing in transfer pricing. Zhiyun has enjoyed playing the piano for over 15 years. As a gourmand, she loves discovering new foods and is an avid reader.

  • Mexico – Viviana Vilaboa Benitez

    Photographic portrait of Viviana Vilaboa Benitez

    Viviana graduated in June 2020 with a BSc in International Public Accounting from CETYS University in Tijuana, Mexico. She is on the EY Global Compliance & Reporting team in Tijuana, preparing and reviewing tax obligations for multinational clients operating in Mexico. She plans to pursue a master’s degree while working as a tax consultant to get the most from classroom lessons and real-world experiences. Working alongside other EY teams, Viviana hopes to play a role in helping clients understand the changing tax legislation landscape and manage risks. She participated in an intercultural leadership exchange with the United Nations and has volunteered with a legal aid group that helps immigrants return to their home countries. She enjoys art expositions, visiting vineyards and being a “tourist” in her own city. 

  • The Netherlands – Pim Koppel

    Photographic portrait of Pim Koppel

    Pim came to EY in the Netherlands as an intern while working toward his Master’s in Tax Economics at Tilburg University, which he completed in October 2020. He’s eager to gain tax technical knowledge and share the knowledge with his team and others. In 2019, he visited the University of Sao Paulo. He was asked to give a lecture on the Dutch corporate income tax system and how the tax system works in Europe. He believes this resulted in a great discussion with those students. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and is especially passionate about barbecuing.

  • Nigeria – Faithful Ayo-Salako

    Photographic portrait of  Faithful Ayo-Salako

    Faithful is working on his Bachelor of Law at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. He has also completed online courses in accounting, business law and business management from different institutions. He hopes to have a career in tax, being interested in areas such as transfer pricing, tax advisory, tax litigation and tax compliance. Faithful’s activities include tax club, serving as president of the literary and debate club, and head of Faculty of Law Chamber Support Force. He also belongs to the Headfort Foundation, an organization that works to support inmates and ex-inmates in Nigeria. When relaxing, he likes watching animations and football, singing, reading and just being with friends.

  • Norway – Therese Langum Sandhaug

    Photographic portrait of Therese Langum Sandhaug

    Therese is the finalist from Norway. She is a student at the University of Oslo and expects to complete her master’s degree in Law in the fall of 2022. In the spring, however, she’ll relocate to England for an exchange semester at the University of Leicester. She has served as an EY intern, along with internships at two law firms, and is currently a part-time insurance claims handler. During the last four years, she has served as a volunteer for both Amnesty and a Norwegian animal rights organization. She says the work gives her meaning and introduces her to new people. In her spare time, Therese stays active through her boxing classes, playing tennis and hiking. She also enjoys playing the piano, listening to different types of music and reading. 

  • Philippines – Muhamma Sajawal C. Waheed

    Photographic portrait of Muhamma Sajawal C

    Muhamma Sajawal C. Waheed  is the finalist from the Philippines. He is studying for a doctorate in law at Far Eastern University Institute of Law in Manila. He practiced tae kwon do competitively for 10 years but stopped practicing the discipline because of his studies. Nowadays his hobbies include playing video games, reading novels and working out.

  • Qatar– Mehaira Dagig

    Photographic portrait of Mehaira Dagig

    Mehaira, originally from Sudan, is the Qatar EY Young Tax Professional of the Year finalist, and one of the four finalists representing the Middle East and North Africa region. She earned a BSc in International Economics from Georgetown University Qatar in 2019 and has been part of the EY Global Compliance & Reporting team in Qatar for the past two years. She is passionate about sustainability and anything that helps her give back to Mother Nature would be her dream job. In her spare time, she is an avid film buff. She loves talking about movies, movie theories, actors, directors, and all things a wannabe cinephile would enjoy. 

  • Russia – Yulia Prokoplyuk

    Photographic portrait of Yulia Prokopluk

    Yulia is the finalist from Russia. She is a lawyer and is studying for her Masters in Law degree at MGIMO University in Moscow, but she is interested in economics as well. She has had several internships in global firms working in the oil and gas sector but would like to pursue a career in tax. In summer, she rides bike and plays tennis twice a week. Other interests include baking cakes and pies, architecture, supporting charities and traveling.

    Yulia is the finalist from Russia. She is a lawyer and is studying for her Masters in Law degree at MGIMO University in Moscow, but she is interested in economics as well. She has had several internships in global firms working in the oil and gas sector but would like to pursue a career in tax. In summer, she rides bike and plays tennis twice a week. Other interests include baking cakes and pies, architecture, supporting charities and traveling.
  • Saudi Arabia – Mohammed Al Ali

    Photographic portrait of Mohammed Al Ali

    Mohammed, from Saudi Arabia, is one of the four finalist representing the Middle East and North Africa region. He received his BSc in Finance in 2019 from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and now works as a tax associate in the EY office in Saudi Arabia. His experience in various industries has helped him understand different aspects of business and dealing with clients. Mohammed’s main goal is to become an inspiring leader, delivering high-quality services to clients and supporting his team members by sharing his knowledge. In addition to traveling, reading, diving, hiking, and cooking international dishes, he has volunteered to clean beaches and parks.

  • Singapore – Hithalli Chawla

    Photographic portrait of Hithalli

    Hithalli is a 2021 graduate of Nanyang Technological University with a double major in Economics and Public Policy and Global Affairs. She joined the EY office in Singapore, working with the transfer pricing team, after a series of internships gave her an interest in the field. She envisions a two-pronged career allowing her “to stay in touch with both the theoretical aspects of tax and economics, and the real-world applications.” Born in India, she trained for eight years in Indian classical dance and also plays the ukulele. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring Singapore’s scenic hiking trails.

  • South Africa – Deena Martin

    Photographic portrait of Deena Martin

    Having completed a bachelor’s degree in Accounting Sciences with distinction from the University of Pretoria, Deena, the finalist from South Africa, is now completing a post-graduate diploma. This is the route to become a Chartered Accountant which is what she aspires to be. The coursework focuses on four subjects – Taxation, Auditing, Financial Management and Financial Accounting – with Taxation, being her primary area of interest. She hopes to one day make a valuable contribution to international tax regulations and transfer pricing legislation. She enjoys exercising, running, playing tennis and, above all, hockey. She also enjoys watching sports on television, making the Olympic Games in Tokyo a highlight for her. Deena played against a member of the South Africa woman’s Olympic hockey team after the Games ended. The Olympian gave Deena her South African Olympics hockey shirt, making it one of the greatest moments of her life.

  • Spain – Carolina Reguera

    Photographic portrait of Carolina

    Carolina’s interest in “the economy as a tool to improve people’s quality of life” led her to pursue dual master’s degrees in Business Administration and Law at ISDE Madrid. A year studying abroad in Japan gave her an international perspective she finds invaluable. She owns two motorcycles – one for the road and one for off-road – and turns to mountain sports, including hiking, skiing and trail running, to clear her mind. She loves business books and biographies, as well as music, having played the piano since childhood. The chance to “learn from some of the best” brought her to EY.

  • Sri Lanka - Bipash Suriyage

    Photographic portrait of Bipash Suriyage

    Bipash keeps a busy schedule. He is finishing up his Undergraduate of Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University in Sri Lanka. He serves the community as president of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School. He has been involved in many projects while being a member, but he considers “Project Life” a milestone because they provided people in rural areas with clean drinking water. His tax work at the EY organization doesn’t leave much free time, but it has helped him understand why and how different tax rates apply to different companies. When he can get away, he enjoys cheering on Chelsea Football Club and playing badminton with family and friends. In quieter moments, he prefers reading up on local and international news over browsing social media. Fun fact: he’s pretty sure he’s never watched a full season of any TV show.

  • Sweden – Christoffer Pettersson

    Photographic portrait of Christoffer Pettersson

    Christoffer aspires to improve people’s lives via tax legislation. He’s nearing the completion of his Master of Laws (LLM) at Uppsala University in Sweden and is currently writing his thesis in international taxation. The subject, he says, is the dividend article in the OECD model convention with special regard to beneficial ownership under share loan agreements. He previously worked at the Swedish Tax Agency and a bank during summer breaks. His hobbies include golf and computer games. He’s even competed semiprofessionally in esports, with his most success coming in the card game Hearthstone.

  • Tanzania – Elias Ndelembi

    Photographic portrait of  Elias Ndelembi

    Elias, from Tanzania, is representing East Africa. He has a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and is working on his MBA, both from the University of Dar es Salaam. He joined the EY team in Tanzania as an intern in 2020 after becoming a Certified Public Accountant, and received an employment offer this past September. He attended Makutupora Military Camp for three months as part of national service, and in his spare time, he enjoys reading novels and playing video games.

  • Thailand – Patthranit Wutapitak

    Photographic portrait of Patthranit

    Patthranit has acquired diverse job experience since graduating in 2018 with a BBA in Accounting and Finance from Assumption University in Thailand. She first worked as an assistant auditor, then spent a year as an accountant at a Japanese firm. Aiming for more specialization, she joined the People Advisory Services team at EY in 2020 and looks after personal income tax matters. For fun, she enjoys Netflix and music, and wants to learn to dance.

  • Turkey – Gülce Çolakoğlu

    Photographic portrait of Gülce Çolakoğlu

    Gülce, the finalist from Turkey, earned a Bachelor of Laws from Bilkent University last year and is now working toward a Master of Laws in Economics at Galatasaray University in Istanbul. After completing a yearlong legal internship affiliated to the Ankara Bar Association, she received a license to practice law in Turkey in September 2021. The internship mainly focused on commercial and corporate law, contract law and data protection law in Turkey. In her spare time, Gülce enjoys learning to play the piano with help from online tutorials, dancing, spinning and hiking. 

  • United Kingdom – Lucy Denning

    Photographic portrait of Lucy Denning

    Lucy earned a degree in Sport and Social Sciences from the University of Bath in England. While at University, she took part in EY’s Summer Internship program in Bristol, working with the corporate tax team. The team she worked with inspired her to join EY after graduation and now works on the EY Private team. She is currently studying for her chartered accountancy and chartered tax adviser certifications. Outside the office, she enjoys sports and fitness activities, including biking with EY colleagues to get to know them better. She also enjoys organizing office activities, such as virtual coffee breaks, a winter step challenge and a cancer fundraiser.

  • USA – Lauren Fogel

    Photographic portrait of Lauren Fogel

    Lauren, the finalist representing the United States, is a senior at Cornell University studying Human Development, with minors in Law and Society, and Inequality Studies. She has been working part-time for a small investing startup for over a year while finishing her degree. It has given her business development, marketing and project management experience as well as exposure to the “entrepreneurial spirit.” After Lauren graduates this December, she will join the EY People Advisory Services team in New York. The youngest of five children, she says demonstrating care and sincerity helps drive her relationships. Another passion is the mental health space, for which she started a company in 2020, designing and selling clothing that raised awareness of the importance of empathy and mental health.

  • Vietnam – Nora Lai

    Photographic portrait of Nora Lai

    Nora received a bachelor’s degree in International Finance from the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City. After graduation, she worked as an assistant to the chief accountant of a small consulting company, working on tasks involving bookkeeping and reconciliation. She’s been part of the EY team in Vietnam for about three months. During this time, she has been involved in a variety of projects, ranging from helping with transfer pricing matters, translating information from a variety of sources into quantitative and qualitative analyses, and documentation and controversy issues associated with intercompany transactions. Nora’s idea of fun is nothing flashy, she just relaxes with a good book or movie.