Heather joined PwC US in 2005 as an associate in our Assurance practice in Detroit. In 2011, Heather began an international tour at the German firm in the PwC global network of firms (PwC Germany) within its advisory practice and a year later was promoted by PwC Germany to manager. She repatriated to the US as an Assurance manager in 2013.
Q: What experiences had the biggest impact on your career development?
A: My two year rotation has probably had the biggest impact on my career development. My tour to PwC Germany’s Frankfurt office was both an international secondment and a line of service rotation. The tour gave me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, having always been in the PwC US’s Detroit Assurance practice, and step into the Advisory practice for another PwC firm within an unfamiliar city and culture. The whole experience was tremendous, both professionally and personally. It really opened my eyes to new ways of doing things and to understand how PwC member firms can provide overall professional services and not merely audit services. There truly is a vast array of opportunities and career paths available within PwC US and it is up to you to decide which path is best for achieving your goals.
Q: Has your career grown in any unexpected ways? Living in another country had always been a dream of mine.
A: I spent a semester of college in Thailand, which only seemed to fuel my desire. When the opportunity to transfer to PwC Germany came up, I didn’t hesitate for a minute and PwC US was really supportive in making things happen. As it has always been a goal of mine, the fact I was going to live and work overseas was not all that unexpected for me. What was really a surprise was taking on a role in the financial due diligence group as I always saw myself as an auditor. Although I have since repatriated back into the PwC US’s Assurance practice, the experiences I had and skills I learned within PwC Germany’s Advisory practice have helped me become more effective as an auditor and in serving my clients.
Q: How have you grown personally as a result of your professional experiences?
A: Taking part in a long-term overseas assignment with another PwC firm was just as much a personal growth experience as it was a professional opportunity. Learning how to do normal daily life activities in a new country, particularly where English is not the native language, is challenging. Simple activities you’ve done all your life, such as going to the grocery store or making an appointment for a haircut, all of a sudden are difficult. You have to learn how to be resourceful while always maintaining an adventurous attitude. You also cannot be afraid to make mistakes, because you are certain to make quite a few along the way. Looking back to my first days in Germany, I am still amazed at the progress I made integrating into the local lifestyle. You really don’t notice it as you are living through it, but with all the friends and experiences you gain along the way, you can’t help but become a different person as a result.
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