Natalie Johnson: first 100 days as an EY Partner

Natalie Johnson has been a partner for roughly 100 days. She shares her experience working as partner in the new People Advisory Services practice and explains the importance of entrepreneurial spirit.

What is your role at EY?

I currently work in our new People Advisory Services practice.  This is a brand new area of our business and I am excited by the prospect of helping us innovate and bring new offerings to market as part of a broader end to end people services offering.  I specialise in helping clients deliver complex change into their organisations and have worked some of our Advisory team’s largest transformation projects in the private sector, primarily Energy & Assets.

What did you do prior to joining EY?

I have a background in supply chain and procurement coming from industry with BHP Biliton in Australia. I was seconded to the UK 15 years ago with BHP and have never left.  I started my consulting career in 2002 with PwC and IBM and then eight years ago I was approached to join EY.  It has been an amazing journey and I love the fact that I have had the opportunity to help make a real difference to a variety of client organisations, re-invent myself a number of times and work on some incredible projects worldwide.

   I think one of the key expectations of new partners is that we possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to try new things  

What has your experience been since joining the partnership?

I have just finished my first 100 days, so that in itself feels like a small milestone.  As you would expect there was a lot of celebration and elation in the early days of receiving news of admission and I recently attended the global new Partner conference in Singapore.  That was an incredible event and made me appreciate how special it is to be a partner at EY. By the end of that programme I felt like my blood was ‘yellow’.  

How do you think the role of partner is changing?

The market is changing and we need to change with it.  EY won’t continue to be successful by doing what we have always done and working in the way we always have. We need to continue to re-think our business model, approaches and be open to innovation to compete and succeed.  I think one of the key expectations of new partners is that we possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to try new things and innovate in this digital, more connected age.  

How have you managed your career around the pressures of family life?

I have two small girls, Sienna (4) and Eva (2) and outside of work I try to be a great mother and a good to average wife to my husband, Chris (laughs!).  My family is my priority and always will be. My advice would be that you can have a family and become a partner.  My top tips for managing your career:

• Always remain true to yourself – be authentic above all else

• It’s OK to have fun, enjoy yourself and allow others to

• Set your boundaries, communicate them and stick to them, nobody else will do this for you  

• Networks matter, we are a people business after all

• Challenge yourself and say yes to new opportunities, you will be rewarded with adventure and some incredible experiences at EY

How do you think you are helping to build a better working word?

I work in a sector where only 4% of executive board positions in the world’s largest 100 utilities are filled by women.  If EY and our utilities clients are going to be successful then greater diversity is essential, not just in terms of gender but also greater diversity of thought, experiences and backgrounds.  I believe EY has an important role to play in relation to diversity in this sector, and influencing the direction of the market, which is one of the reasons why I established and chair the Women with Energy network.  This network focuses on improving diversity and inclusiveness in the sector and showcasing diverse talent in the sector.

If you could look into the future, what legacy do you hope to leave behind and what would you like to be remembered for at EY?

Three things:

1. Bringing a spirit of adventure to our organisation.  Not being afraid to challenge the status quo to help us innovate and explore new opportunities and areas.  

2. That I have brought a diverse range of talented people through to the most senior levels of our business and supported their success, and that they are in turn investing in making others successful

3. Allowing myself and others to have fun.  We do a serious job but I try not to take myself too seriously and try to do what I can to help others enjoy the experience of working with and for EY.