Global Multicultural Talks Occur Between U.S. and Australian Offices

Earlier this year, the Charlotte, NC office formed a local chapter of Protiviti’s Multicultural Employee Network Group, whose purpose is to promote an inclusive work environment for all.  One of the main objectives of the group is to create a more collaborative work environment by focusing on understanding diverse perspectives and listening to our people. With that very thought in mind, Ashley, an Experienced Consultant in the office, coordinated efforts with her peer, Annalise, in the Canberra, Australia office. Together, the two who met at Protiviti’s training program, scheduled an international video conference!

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The Charlotte & Canberra offices during their video conference!

You might be thinking, “what about that whole time difference thing?” — and that would be a valid thought. With 16 hours difference between the two cities, coordination wasn’t exactly easy, but the teams made it work! While the Charlotte group enjoyed their dinner on the call, employees in Canberra were snacking on their breakfast. Total, there were about 20 employees present to discuss everything from employee network groups to work culture.

In sitting down with Ashley, I was able to get some more perspective on the takeaways from the call. One thing that Ashley found to be interesting was the difference in some of the employee networking groups. The Canberra office had emphasized their wellness program, which focuses on health, fitness and well-being, and their women’s network presence was still growing. Charlotte has not formally started a wellness group (…yet!), although it sounds like this is something that may be in the works as an outcome of this call. Other discussion topics included perspectives on networking and how it is viewed culturally, as well as time spent just getting to know one another.

When asked what her biggest takeaway from the call was, Ashley stated, “even though we are worlds apart, across Protiviti, we are very similar in terms of the unity and cultural vibe”. In the future, it sounds like more international video conference calls may be on the horizon! We are thrilled that technology has allowed our employees to communicate so personally despite living in different countries.

– Cait

A Look Inside Protiviti From A Member Of Our Women’s Network

As part of our ongoing commitment to our people, Protiviti’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative is focused on attracting, developing and retaining the most talented and qualified professionals regardless of race, disability, national origin, religion, gender, age or sexual orientation. Protiviti has many Employee Network Groups, on both a local and a global scale, that support individuals across our workforce. One of these networks is the Initiative for the Growth and Retention of Women at Work (iGROWW).

iGROWW is an internal network providing a workplace community, particularly focused on our female employees.  The network is a forum to enhance employee success and the working environment through discussions focused on everything from recruiting, advising and mentorship, career growth and retention.

We recently took a moment to catch up with Sophy, an Experienced Consultant in Houston who is also a member of iGROWW.

What do you enjoy the most about being on the iGROWW Committee?

“One of the parts that I have enjoyed the most while being on the iGROWW committee is the fact that I am able to showcase my leadership skills through various tasks such as organizing a trip to the Mission of Yahweh. Another part of iGROWW that I thoroughly enjoy are the TED talks sessions that iGROWW Houston has hosted. There is always so much to learn from each session and I walk away with a new mindset each time, figuring out how I can grow more in my professional career.”

Have you faced any tough situations in your career? How did you face them?

“Throughout the course of my career I have had challenges that I have had to overcome, however, I do not necessarily look at challenges in a negative manner.  My mindset is that without these challenges, there is no room for personal growth! With that said, one of the challenges that I have come across while working is to be able to adapt to different projects in a short amount of time, which also includes adjusting to each project manager’s unique management styles and priorities. However, prioritizing being a good listener, ensuring you understand the task at hand, asking questions when necessary, and responding to inquiries or requests in a timely fashion usually helps tackle those obstacles!”

How do you maintain a work/life balance that works for you?

“Work/life balance is something that is very important to me and actually is one of the great things that I love and appreciate about Protiviti! Before starting my day, I tend to write down a list of items in order of priority and set a realistic daily goal of what I would like to accomplish before the workday is over. That helps me to maintain strong time management. Once I return home, I like to spend time with my family and friends and work out from time to time. Being able to maintain a good lifestyle at home allows me to bring positive energy into the work place each day.”

What career advice do you have for new consultants?

“I would advise new consultants to give yourself permission to just ‘try’. It is something that I have learned in my own professional experience. Before asking your senior or upper level management to weigh in, attempt to resolve the solution yourself.  Another piece of advice I would offer is to network as much as possible and to not be afraid to express any innovative ideas you may come up with!”

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Sophy & some of her Houston co-workers at the zoo!

We are very thankful to have Sophy as part of our Protiviti family and as a committed member of our iGROWW program and we appreciated catching up with her as she grows her career.

To hear more about our Employee Network Groups, subscribe to our blog!

-Cait

Confidence at Work

Last week our London office hosted their second annual proPRIDE UK event. This year’s event welcomed over 100 clients, colleagues and friends to the Shard to discuss the topic of being confident in being your true self at work.  The aim of the event was to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues amongst London’s LGBT+ business community and straight allies.  As part of the evening we hosted a panel discussion to discuss the results of a brief survey that we conducted, along with personal experiences of our incredibly diverse and senior panel.

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James Holt (Communications Director, Pride in London), Sue Baines (Director Premier Banking Products & Savings, Barclays), Pips Bunce (Head of GM Technology Core Engineering Integration Components, Credit Suisse), Sanisha Wynter (Alumni Relations Officer, Stonewall), Philip Maziarz (Managing Director, Protiviti)

The diversity of the panel was duly noted throughout the whole event and brought a distinct life to the conversation. At one point during the panel, panelist Pips Bunce said “I knew I HAD to be authentic”, a note which seemed to resonate with the entire audience.

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Pictured above are the panelist with Peter Richardson (head of Protiviti UK), Suki Sandhu (CEO of OUTstanding), Andrew Wieser (Manager & Co-chair of proPRIDE UK), Belton Flournoy (Associate Director & Co-chair of proPRIDE UK)

As part of the event this year, Protiviti was the Gold sponsor of Pride in the City, a new mayor backed initiative for Pride in London dedicated to increasing diversity in the workplace.

Protiviti Associate Director and event organizer Belton had this to say, “The type of diversity Protiviti supports is not just about orientation and gender identity.” He continued, “We have a global initiative focused on the growth and the retention of women, a multi-cultural employee networking group and a group for working parents and families, just to name a few. The goal of our recent event at the Shard was to publicly discuss the importance being your true self at work”.

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A couple colleagues networking at the event.

All in all the evening was incredibly successful. A night filled with networking, learning and the opportunity to know those we work along side everyday, just a little bit better.

#proPRIDE Spotlight — Andrew

Today we wrap up our summer proPRIDE series. Over the past few months, we have spotlighted various members of Protiviti’s internal proPRIDE employee networking group and their diverse perspectives. Our final spotlight in the series is co-Chair of PROpride UK, Andrew!

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Andrew is currently an Internal Audit Financial Advisory Manager in our London office
  • What is your background and path to Protiviti? “I graduated from Bradley University with a B.S. and M.S. in Accounting and started my career as an external auditor at a large accounting firm in St. Louis, Missouri. After a couple of busy seasons, I decided to look at other opportunities through Robert Half and found a perfect fit in Protiviti. I thoroughly enjoyed my first 2 years with the company as part of the St. Louis Internal Audit Financial Advisory team, but once I saw an opportunity to work internationally through Protiviti’s Global Mobility program, I jumped at it. My boyfriend of 5 years, Davey, and I packed our bags and moved to London in May of 2016!”
  • Where was your last holiday? “Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre in Italy for an early birthday celebration. Each are incredibly beautiful and I would definitely recommend them for anyone who loves fantastic food, wine, people watching, boating, and hiking!”
  • How have you been involved with the LGBTQIA+ community within Protiviti and in your personal life?  “When I joined Protiviti, I decided to be my true self and joined our young LGBT network but was not a very active member. Since moving to London I have been more active with proPRIDE and I am currently serving as the co-Chair of proPRIDE UK with founder Belton Flournoy. We have coordinated several events at the Shard, distributed monthly newsletters, represented Protiviti at networking events and speaker series throughout the city, and helped lead the effort to unite our proPRIDE brand (with the help of Philip Maziarz, proPRIDE Executive Champion, Belton Flournoy, and Patrick Luong, proPRIDE co-founder and chairperson). Outside of Protiviti, I joined the most successful gay football team in Stonewall FC. Davey and I have enjoyed attending Pride events around the world, including St. Louis, London, Amsterdam, and Tel Aviv.”
  • Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle due to being LGBTQIA+ that has contributed to your success during your career? “Being in the closet when I first began my career was difficult and often distracting for me. I had people within the firm advise me that it would be better if I kept my true self hidden from older, more conservative partners in the office and I agreed that this was the right path forward. This career decision strained my personal relationships with people I loved and even hindered my ability to bring my full talents to my day-to-day work. For example, I wasn’t able to bring my boyfriend to company events, talk about my personal life or share my thoughts in an authentic way, which all had an impact on my personal and professional life. Recognizing that this wasn’t healthy, I made a conscious decision to make a career move to better meet my long-term personal and professional goals. I decided to join Protiviti and be honest about who I was from Day 1. This decision has lifted a weight off my shoulders and allowed me to focus fully on delivering value to the clients that I work with. Being able to fully engage with clients has allowed me to be a better consultant and colleague to the amazing people I get to work with every day.”
  • What advice would you give to individuals at Protiviti who may not feel that same confidence in their professional lives? “Being your true self at work is always easier said than done. I was there once and I know how it feels. My experience of being out at Protiviti has been extremely positive but I also know that not everyone has the same circumstances or same support network that I had when coming out. Just know that you are not alone and that Protiviti has an amazing support network in proPRIDE. The Protiviti organisation fully supports you in being yourself in the workplace so don’t be afraid to Face Your Future With Confidence.”
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Andrew (on the left) is pictured with his boyfriend Davey in Manarola, Italy!  

 

#proPRIDE Spotlight — Anneke Wieling

We continue our summer proPRIDE series in which we are spotlighting various members of Protiviti’s internal proPRIDE employee networking group and their diverse perspectives. Next up in the series is our Country Market Leader for the Netherlands, Anneke Wieling!

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Anneke is a Managing Director in our Amsterdam office.
  • What is your background and path to Protiviti? “I started my career in 1991 as a financial auditor in Arthur Andersen, and after 5 years left to become a controller in a processed cheese factory.  I became plant manager of that factory, worked at Shell, and then started as a business consultant in Business Performance Improvement and Restructuring for KPMG.  We then started Protiviti in the Netherlands, in 2005, with a group of 8 people, and in 2011 I became the Country Market Lead for the Netherlands.”
  • What inspired you to support diversity and LGBTQIA+ initiatives? “Ever since I was a child I supported Amnesty International, and I am a strong believer in equal rights to everyone. Living in and around Amsterdam, you meet all types of people, and they all add to the beauty of life in their own way, and that should be the starting point for everything. As a woman, I know how it feels to be the minority in business, and I believe that we should be a company which stimulates all individuals to be who they want to be, as society should. Lately there have been some incidents in our country which were the result of less tolerance towards gay people, and that made me decide to become a sponsor of the initiative within Protiviti.”
  • What advice would you give to individuals at Protiviti who may not feel that same confidence in their professional lives? “Be open on your doubts, and ask for advice and coaching.  All our managers and directors are willing to help. I think the Protiviti culture is one of support and inclusion, and I really believe in that as a key factor for our success.”
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Anneke diving on a recent  holiday with her family.

Continue following along and join the conversation using the hashtag #proPRIDE. Stay tuned as we continue spotlighting additional #proPRIDE members and some of the dynamic things this group is doing!

ProPRIDE Spotlight: Patrick Luong

Last month our Executive Lead of proPRIDE shared his perspective on Pride Month and the importance of an inclusive workforce. He kicked off our summer proPRIDE series in which we are spotlighting various members of Protiviti’s internal proPRIDE employee group and their unique perspectives. Next up in the series is New York Manager and co-founder of proPRIDE, Patrick!

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Outside of work, Patrick loves to travel! He is pictured above in Bali, Indonesia.
  • What is your background and path to Protiviti? “I was recruited during my penultimate semester at the University of Oklahoma. I majored in Finance and Accounting with a minor in MIS. I started at Protiviti as an Internal Audit Financial Advisory consultant on the technology side. I then went on to spend a year and a half in the same solution but on the Process side. I ultimately switched in to Business Performance Improvement. I love the flexibility this firm has afforded me!”
  • How have you been involved with the LGBTQIA+ community within Protiviti and in your personal life? “As co-founder and Chair of proPRIDE, I have been working with the proPRIDE Board and local chapter co-leads from the beginning. I help plan and implement initiatives such as AIDS Walks and achieving 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index (CEI). Personally, I try to remember the challenges I faced and try my best to pass on the lessons I learned to the LGBTQIA+ individuals I come across when appropriate.”
  • Tell me a story of how you overcame an obstacle due to being LGBTQIA+ and how it has contributed to success in your career? “Being raised with Confucian values, I was taught to seek harmony as much as possible. Although this helped in a lot of areas, it was counterproductive to creating change; because change by definition is disruptive and disharmonious. Seeing that we didn’t have an LGBTQIA+ organization at Protiviti and envisioning how much value and validation that would create for others, I asked the firm for protocols on starting a new employee network group. Working closely with Philip Maziarz, proPRIDE Executive Champion, and David Black, proPRIDE Co-Founder/Vice Chair, we successfully applied for and started proPRIDE in May 2014. I think this experience has greatly shaped and strengthened my professional voice and courage.”
  • What advice would you give to individuals at Protiviti who may not feel that same confidence in their professional lives? “Take your time. We all move at a different pace. There is no right or wrong speed as we all have our different number of internal toll gates to pass through before we are ready to be our full authentic selves.”

Continue following along and join the conversation using the hashtag #proPRIDE. Stay tuned as we continue spotlighting additional #proPRIDE members and some of the dynamic things this group is doing!

ProPRIDE Spotlight: Peter Richardson

Last week our Executive Lead of proPRIDE shared his perspective on Pride Month and the importance of an inclusive workforce. As he mentioned, we will be spotlighting various members of the proPRIDE group throughout the summer and their unique perspectives. Kicking us off is UK Managing Director, Peter Richardson!

  • What is your background and path to Protiviti? I am a Manchester lad from a working class family.  My grandfather was a lathe operator and my dad was a bookkeeper in a small local business.  I studied Modern Languages at University and my first job was in ‘Overseas Marketing’ for a reinsurance company. After 5 years there and at the tender age of 27, I moved into consulting. I ran teams that operated in insurance in the Financial Services sector at PwC, EDS, and Atos.  I came to Protiviti with a small team from Atos because we were all certain that our industry expertise combined with regulatory and risk management capability is essential in Financial Service.  We were all also attracted by Protiviti’s inclusive, collaborative and diverse culture. Being change management professionals, we all understood what important components of the dynamics for a successful team they are.
  • What inspired you to support diversity and LGBTQIA+ initiatives? Common sense!  As the United Kingdom country market leader, I always ask our people to take along a colleague that is different from you to a meeting. What I mean is, bring someone who has a different technical background, another role or level in the company, a different angle on the question or way of engaging; someone who will hear and see things differently and get another perspective on the situation; someone with whom the client may develop a different type of rapport.  That is the power of diversity and we have a huge opportunity to play to those strengths in Protiviti. It just makes sense!  And by the way, from a personal perspective, I feel exactly the same way!  Being a linguist, and traveler, I have always been in touch with multiple cultures, languages and styles and I feel that I have benefited hugely from this.
  • What advice would you give to individuals at Protiviti who may not feel that same confidence in their professional lives? I would say first, our culture at Protiviti is truly inclusive, collaborative and diverse.  “Door Open” means exactly that, so do feel free to walk through and chat.  I would give the same advice that my baby sister gives me whenever I go to her with a problem (which by the way I still do!):  Baby steps! Look around you and see the environment around you, choose the direction you want to go and take the first small step, and eventually the second one will follow.
  • What is your favorite fast food restaurant? The one I frequent most is probably Pure, and when we were in Trafalgar Square, it was Crussh (do they count?) – Common factor connecting the two is proximity to the office!

 

Pictured above is Peter with his first granddaughter, Anna.