James (Jim) Wilson, Jr.
Senior Director of Internal Audit – Vail Resorts
The EY organization is a training ground for future business leaders. Learn as much as you can, grow and become better.
How he found his path at EY
I have always been very focused on the development and coaching of people and came to realize I have a passion for this. It’s fun to watch individuals grow, professionally and personally. At the firm, I was able to facilitate training — the Senior Advancing in Leadership (SAIL) program — for Advisory seniors who were interested in becoming managers. I enjoyed seeing the trainees build their soft skills and apply that training on the job. I also enjoyed being an EY counselor and seeing people’s growth in real time.
What EY mentors did to help him along
I’ve been fortunate to have two stints at the firm, with many EY colleagues helping me during my time there. In particular, John Hickox, a retired KPMG partner, convinced me to join internal audit and was a point of contact and mentor as I progressed through my EY career and beyond. Stu Strepman, who was a senior manager, was a mentor and helped influence my management style. After I spent four years building the internal audit program at a community bank, I was itching to return to public accounting. Darin Kreimeyer, a consulting principal, brought me back to the firm for round two and was also a mentor.
How he describes his role at Vail Resorts
The vision I have for Vail Resorts is to make ourselves, our team, our stakeholders and the company better. That is what energizes me: continually getting better and bringing my team along in getting better. There is always something new to learn. I’m constantly growing as a leader and stretching outside my comfort zone. I like to watch my team grow and hit their potential, as well as see the business improve. I like to think I know a little bit about a lot of things, and there is always more to learn, to gain new perspectives and build on what I already know. My role includes creating a vision and direction for my team; understanding the risk profile of the company; and providing assurance, advice and insight so that risks are managed and mitigated. That’s my value to the company.
Professional advice he shares with colleagues
The most valuable lesson I learned at the firm is to never stop learning and growing. Take opportunities, both inside and outside the firm, to get better and develop your career. When I was a second-year staff, a senior manager at the firm told me the following: The firm does not owe you anything, and the minute you think it does, it’s time to look for another job. The EY organization is a training ground for future business leaders. Learn as much as you can, grow and become better.