Collaboration is key to a welcoming environment at Ernst & Young

FEELING OF PRIDE: Ernst & Young LLP Providence employees gather during a recent Pride Day event. / COURTESY ERNST & YOUNG LLP
FEELING OF PRIDE: Ernst & Young LLP Providence employees gather during a recent Pride Day event. / COURTESY ERNST & YOUNG LLP

Accounting: Ernst & Young LLP

AT GLOBAL PROFESSIONAL-services provider Ernst & Young LLP, the idea of diversity and inclusion is not taken lightly. The company, which has a Providence office, has regularly been recognized for its commitment to creating a workplace where ideas and perspectives are freely shared.

EY has been recognized with the International Institute of New England’s Inaugural Corporate Citizen Award and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index – 100% rating and “Best Place to Work for LGBT+ Equality,” among other awards it received both regionally and nationally.

Brendan McCorry, EY’s Providence office managing partner, said that a diversity-and-inclusion plan is critical because an organization should always strive to be welcoming to all.

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“From a short-term perspective, it demonstrates to all of your employees that the organization views diversity and inclusiveness as a very important organizational value,” McCorry said. “From the long-term perspective, a diverse and inclusive environment will allow your employees and the organization to perform at their highest level.”

Through four integrated service lines – assurance, consulting, strategy and transactions, and tax – EY helps clients capitalize on new opportunities and assess and manage risk to deliver responsible growth via its team of more than 300,000 employees worldwide, including nearly 90 in the Providence office.

EY said women represent 48% of its global workforce, and 25% of the firm’s partners, principals, executive directors and directors. That commitment continues in Providence, where women made up 63% of this year’s promotions at the firm.

The company also collaborates with diverse membership associations to attract diverse and inclusive talent, including the National Association of Black Accountants, the Association of Latino Professionals for America, Reaching Out MBA and the Forte Foundation.

McCorry, who values diversity in the recruiting process and works with external associations and student groups to identify and recruit diverse talent, said that taking some extra time to look out for the interests of the company’s diverse employees is critical.

“We rely heavily upon differential investment in our people,” McCorry said. “This acknowledges that we have room for improvement in fostering the success of our diverse employee population and it requires a higher level of investment and support in order [to ensure] that all our employees enjoy the same level of career opportunities.”

EY is also committed to maintaining a diverse supplier base and building relationships with suppliers that reflect the market, clients and communities it serves. To that end, EY has earned recognition by seeking vendors that are certified as at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by at least one minority, woman, LGBTQ veteran, service-disabled veteran, person with a disability, Aboriginal-Indigenous person or a historically underutilized business.

Kenny Adefiyiju, an EY tax manager in Providence, wanted to be an accountant ever since middle school. He fulfilled his dream of becoming a certified public accountant through hard work and determination – characteristics he learned from his two Nigerian immigrant parents. Adefiyiju describes their work ethic as “supernatural.”

Adefiyiju said EY has always done an incredible job at providing a path for underrepresented minorities like himself.

“Our key initiative is figuring out ways that we can broaden the diversity of potential candidates within the firm,” Adefiyiju said. “In terms of the direct impact in … Providence, I believe that EY is doing a good job in trying to assist underrepresented minorities by investing in the community.”

An example of that dedication is EY’s College MAP program, designed to help high school seniors in inner-city schools navigate their path to college.

Having a diversity-and-inclusion plan is imperative to any business, Adefiyiju said, noting that it is important that all organizations ensure that all their people feel comfortable coming to work every day.

“If you want to develop high-performing teams, it starts with the mindset of the people,” Adefiyiju said. “All organizations should see this as an area of importance and develop a game plan to achieve this. With the constant change in the world today, it is critical that all businesses get different perspectives from their people to ensure a competitive edge.”

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