At PwC, we foster an inclusive culture. And we believe the best way to show that commitment is by letting our own people share their stories. Allison, Bryan, Helena, Julie and Stephen are just a few who inspire us every day.
After working for PwC for seven years, I reached a pivotal moment in my career. I was pregnant with our first child and my husband landed a new job. “Good things come in twos,” I thought. There was only one problem—he had a six-month training program in Georgia, and we’re in Seattle. But PwC told me that my experience was valuable, they wanted me to stay—and so did my clients. So we came up with a great solution. Since my husband’s job in Georgia was only a six-month project, why not have me work remotely from there? So we packed up the dogs, my two-week-old son Brayden, and drove across country. But PwC’s support came along with me. They have all kinds of programs designed for moms. Mentoring. Emergency backup childcare. They even supported my decision to be a nursing mom by providing access to a lactation specialist throughout my son's first year. Fast-forward six months. We moved back from Georgia to the Seattle area. Since I’m two hours away from the PwC office, we agreed on a reduced schedule with most Fridays off. I commute two days a week, and work from home the other two. This arrangement helps me keep a close eye on my clients, and a boy named Brayden.
Before I ever started at PwC, I knew it would be the right fit. The year was 1998, and I was a student at Florida State University attending a career fair. Of all the companies that were there, the PwC team seemed different. They were diverse. It made it easier for a young Haitian student like me to approach them. And later, it made me feel good about joining PwC. In any business, it really comes down to the people you work with, and I work with great ones.
I met lots of them when I chaired the Diversity Committee. We planned events around Martin Luther King Day and assembled panelists for Black History Month through NABA. So that everyone at the firm starts on equal footing, PwC started a program that brings first-year African-American associates together to discuss challenges they might face. Equality. That’s what drives me and my team. Whether you’ve been here for 20 days—or 20 years—if you have a unique perspective, we want to hear it. So do my clients. It builds a camaraderie that’s contagious which, may attract another person, at another job fair, who might be looking for the right fit.
Back when I was still in school, I was listening to the Chief Diversity Officer from PwC give a presentation. “Suppose you have a gay or lesbian colleague,” he said. “Is it appropriate for them to bring pictures of their partner to work?” Most people said “No.” A few said “Yes.” I wasn’t surprised until I heard the CDO’s response. He said that at PwC, “Yes” is the right answer because they encourage every employee, regardless of their sexual orientation, to bring their whole self to work. That’s what drove me to join PwC.
I found out that they’re the only Big Four firm to have an Advisory Board made up of openly gay partners. That support and openness made me comfortable doing something I never thought I could do. I came out at PwC. Since then, I joined the local GLBT network here in Atlanta and I’m able to meet with other gay professionals and make connections that could benefit my clients. With such a broad spectrum of people, experiences and backgrounds at PwC, our clients also hear a wide range of ideas. It’s been quite a ride. From a small town that wasn’t exactly accepting of my sexuality, to a Big Four accounting firm that is.
My family moved to New York from Guyana before I was born. It’s not surprising that I stayed here, because New York is a lot like me—a blend of cultures, races and ethnicities. My West Indian heritage is a blend of Indian, African and Caribbean influences. Plus two major ones, my parents. They taught me the value of team work as they worked together to make a life in New York for our family. That led to my dad being the first ever in his family to graduate from college. This, in turn, is something I’ll instill in my own daughter, Torin. After graduating from Baruch College in New York City, I landed a job at an investment firm. Then I met a partner at PwC and I was impressed. I thought, “I want to be in her shoes. I have to get to PwC.” I can’t believe it’s been 11 years now. Then again, I can. Because like New York, PwC is all about diversity. They see my background as an asset to my clients. They support diversity with all kinds of groups, like the two I joined - NABA and ALPFA. And for a time, I led the African-American Affinity Circle. All of these groups are different, but they all teach us how to capitalize on our differences. At PwC, we never stop learning. My parents are happy about that.
My roots go back pretty far—4,000 years. That’s how old China is. When I was 12, my parents decided to leave our homeland and move to the United States. For a young girl, that also meant leaving my friends and my school. For my parents, it was even tougher. Back in China, they were respected professionals who enjoyed daily challenges at work. But when they first arrived in the United States, the language barrier made it hard to find jobs in their chosen professions. They were forced to take low-skilled jobs to provide for our family. I will never forget the sacrifice my parents made to give me a better future, so I was determined to adapt to my new culture and find a successful career for myself. I also wanted to stay true to the values my parents hold dear. That’s what made PwC stand out for me. They encouraged me to leverage my background to better serve my clients. And they showed me how—through career workshops, training programs and diversity groups. The Senior Select Program, for example, is designed to train diverse, high-performing senior associates as future leaders. PwC seemed to know how to embrace both of my worlds. The old. And the new.