I have the honor of being part of a firm with a rich culture of empowering employees to develop both personally and professionally, enabling the satisfaction of providing distinctive client service.
The firm’s concept of “Be the captain of your own career” is a clear illustration of the organization’s empowerment of its people. This resonates with me, and I see the concept put into action through the opportunity to set professional goals in alignment with my personal goals. As I embrace guidance from my coach and peers on ways to achieve my goals, my professional skill set is expanding and I’m better equipped to serve our clients.
In addition to professional skills, the firm encourages putting personal attributes to work. I’m recognized as a people person who has a passion for organizational culture and motivational speaking. I was recently paired, for example, with a colleague to host monthly culture conversations, on topics such as Leading through collaboration, and Agility: Identifying and prioritizing your purple chips
. These interactive sessions build connections among co-workers, boost team morale and reinforce the values of our firm.
Soon after becoming a Grant Thornton employee, I joined the African Americans and Allies Business Resource Group. I am now the Metro DC deputy local office lead. Our group’s mission is to promote the recruitment, development, advancement and retention of African-American professionals through collaboration with colleagues and firm leadership. Pursuing an interest in talent recruitment and retention, I represented our BRG at the 2017 National Association of Black Accountants Eastern Regional Student Conference, contributing to the professional development of students and identifying individuals who would live our firm’s values and contribute to our culture.
The first steps of my career at the firm began when I was admitted to Grow with Grant Thornton, a program for college sophomores and juniors to help them prepare for a career in business. During the program, we learned about the different client services the firm offers, interacted with senior executives and associates, and gained insights on the importance of sharpening leadership skills. One exercise that stood out for me was taking part in a team assignment to imagine, design and construct something from Legos. Within our team, we listened to each other’s ideas, came to an agreement on an approach to succeed in our task, and tackled the construction together as a team. The entire program gave me a different perspective on what accounting really is. It’s not just about the numbers. It’s about accountability — problem solving and working effectively as a team to achieve a goal.
Two internships followed Grow with Grant Thornton. They were further revelations about an accounting career. In both internships, I had meaningful work that took me to client sites. I gained important skills, as well as experience in communicating with internal teams and clients. I also discovered the treasure of good mentors.
In my first internship, I served on engagements with three government clients — NASA, the FAA and the DC Courts. On each team, I was brought up to speed quickly and encouraged to participate in discussions. Partners, managers and senior associates were open to answering my questions and supporting me through the process. They showed me the kind of people who work at Grant Thornton — people who are dedicated to your professional and personal growth, understanding that your development positively impacts the quality of work performed for our clients.
My second internship was focused on financial consulting, serving the Architect of the Capitol. Again, I was quickly in place to serve and interact with the client. On the first day, my manager began to walk me through financial statements and accounts payable objectives and procedures.
Throughout these internships, leaders expressed their confidence in my work. One of the ways they did so was by selecting me to be the first Grant Thornton intern to attend the Association of Government Accountants Professional Development Training. Such active involvement by mentors deepened my connection to Grant Thornton and its people.
And now, with the continued support of mentors and colleagues, I am enjoying a full-time role as an audit professional in the Public Sector industry practice. My team and I meet with federal government clients to understand their needs, perform analytics on their data and draw insights for recommending improvements. I am also working toward certifications to enhance my skills and create more career opportunities. I truly am growing with Grant Thornton.