Embracing diversity – Kelly
- Kelly Hughes
Kelly graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University with a degree in Finance in 2016 and joined EY on the Graduate scheme. Today, Kelly works as an Associate in the Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services team. Her advice for joining EY is that EY provides a lot of great opportunities, so if you make the most of them, you can build yourself a really enjoyable and successful career. In this article Kelly tells us about how EY has supported her so far in her career.
Why did you choose EY?
There were two key reasons for choosing EY, the service line and the culture. I really liked the sound of the service line that I had applied to which was Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services. Secondly what I’d read and experienced of the culture, it seemed like a good fit for me. When I came in for the assessment centre it was much more relaxed than I was expecting and everyone was really friendly. This followed through into my partner interview which was a much more enjoyable experience than I’d anticipated. When I was looking online I kept on finding things about EY being a great workplace for women and for disabled employees, and there were even things specifically aimed at people suffering from invisible illnesses, such as myself, which I was very impressed by.
How has EY prepared you for your future career?
My colleagues in my service line are very understanding and supportive too. It feels to me as if there’s an open and understanding culture which has made it easier for me to be honest with people without worrying about being penalised for it. This has helped me prepare for the rest of my career and longer term ambitions. EY has also prepared me for my future career through my training, my work and the people that I work with. I’m on a training contact so I’m currently sitting my ACA exams with the ICAEW and will hopefully be a chartered accountant within the next 18 months. In my line of work I also see a wide variety of clients and projects and I work with people from all over the country from juniors, right up to partners.
What would you like to achieve in your career with EY?
The first thing I would like to achieve in my EY career is to qualify as a chartered accountant. A lot of hard work has gone into the exams in the past 16 months so I look forward to it paying off! Longer term my goals are slightly less clear cut. I hope to continue on with challenging, interesting work that pushes me and that I perform well at. My health is very variable and may get worse with age so I tend not to put too much pressure on myself for a 5 or 10 year plan!
Do you think EY embraces diversity in the workplace?
So far I feel that EY has been very supportive of me. I had an appointment with occupational health before I started to make sure that I had the equipment that I needed as close to my start date as possible, and I have had a couple of subsequent meetings with occupational health as my needs have changed. I feel like they have helped me to minimise the disadvantage that my disability puts me at, both in work and in my exams.
How do you feel EY empowers its people from diverse backgrounds?
From my experiences I feel as though EY empowers people who have a different background by acknowledging that this diversity is what makes us an effective workforce. Different people will approach things differently, including work. This will generate much more diverse ideas, teams, and problems solving.
Outside of your client work, are you involved in any initiatives that you feel allow you to make a difference either to EY or to the wider community?
At EY we all get two days a year, separate from our annual leave, for volunteering. I have been able to use these to raise funds for the charity for people who suffer from my disability, with my fundraising boosted by EY’s matched funding scheme.
Finally, what would your advice to new joiners be?
My advice to new joiners would be that EY provides a lot of great opportunities, so if you make the most of them, you can build yourself a really enjoyable and successful career. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – I’ve haven’t been told “no” yet!