What led you to this role? Why did you choose to join this organisation?
Since joining in 2012 when I transferred to EY from the former Audit Commission (local public sector audit firm) under an outsourcing programme, EY has enabled me to work far more flexibly than I was previously able to and to give me a better work-life balance. My client portfolio is now much closer to my home than it was when I was in previous roles. Working at EY has also given me the opportunity to work with a far more diverse range of colleagues, both in terms of the services and sectors that EY is involved in, but also the diverse backgrounds of people that I work with.
What is your organisation’s approach to disability; how has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
What is striking about EY is just how diverse people are and their backgrounds. Just in my own audit team in Reading, we have people from countries as far apart as Austria, Germany, Malaysia, Russia, Tunisia, and the USA. We have graduate and school leavers going through their professional qualifications, and many members of our team are active in networks that support and promote diversity and inclusion. These include the EY Autism, Mental Health, and Parent Networks. Everyone is able to openly support those networks and talk about their own experiences and connections.
As one of the original Leads for the EY Autism Network and now Co-chair, EY has supported me in that role which has enabled me to bring my own experience of Autism to bear. Both my children are on the Autistic Spectrum and I feel able to share first-hand experience and to use it to support colleagues who are autistic or who are affected by autism through family or other connections.
EY has enabled me to develop my career within the Assurance line and to take advantage of new opportunities, for example my own background in the Audit Commission gave us key credentials when bidding for and winning new business. The range of support that EY offers has also helped us retain and win new clients.
Outside of my client work, EY has given me the opportunity to make a difference through my role in the EY Autism Network, and through the ability to engage with wider stakeholders such as the National Autistic Society. I’m also a mentor for the EY Smart Futures Programme that provides opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
What I would tell people about the EY culture is that it is incredibly open and inclusive. It is also respectful of people from all backgrounds. One small example is a member of my team has a history of mental health issues. At EY she felt confident enough to lead a session on mental health at one of our team meetings, and to talk openly about the issues. She said that EY was the first place that she felt confident to talk so openly. And that she would be supported and valued for doing so.
What advice would you give a student with a similar disability, who wants to pursue a career in the field you work in?
It’s that it’s a great place to work and to develop your career. You can be yourself and feel valued and supported for what you can bring.