Attending a Manchester City Premier League soccer game
Because of mobility and networking, Grant Thornton is a small, friendly world. But for the same reasons, it’s a big world of limitless opportunities.
I first looked into the firm after a friend who worked here urged me to apply for a job. I discovered that besides all the offices throughout the United States, there are many others in the international organization. Plus, the firm serves numerous clients with global operations. It was like a door opening onto a very big world.
My interview was in the Houston office, and I liked everyone I met. Five years later, I’m a manager in Audit Services with friends close by and far-flung. I’m enjoying interesting work and clients, and all kinds of opportunities to be involved worldwide.
I’ve been drawn to other cultures and people from different backgrounds since I was a kid. My hometown is Matamoros, Mexico, but my siblings and I commuted every day to school in Brownsville, Texas, to adopt both cultures and languages. Growing up with an open and curious mind naturally led me to a company that encourages this attitude.
Enjoying a festival in my hometown, Brownsville, Texas
What I’ve found at Grant Thornton is that if you know where you want to go and you work on a plan, the firm cares about making it possible. Your career coach is a huge help in this process. Starting on day one, like every other employee, I’ve had a career coach committed to advising and supporting me. Very early on, I told my coach that I wanted to go on secondment at some point. Together, we laid the groundwork.
To choose a destination, I began by researching offices in countries where my language skills could be put to use. I’m fluent in English and Spanish, intermediate in Portuguese, and comfortable in German and French. An opening came up in the UK, and it aligned with my timing and a client contract. That’s where I went and where I had an absolutely extraordinary experience. My six-month secondment in Manchester was an ever memorable, professionally and personally. It was the best decision I’ve made at Grant Thornton so far.
Our Houston office soccer team
Since my return from my secondment, I’ve kept in touch with friends in Manchester. Some have shared that they’d like to go on secondment themselves. I’ve watched for openings and contacted them. One friend followed up on an opportunity and is now at Chicago’s U.S. headquarters. Since most training is done in Illinois, I am able to catch up with her often, along with other colleagues from the Chicago office. Through them, I have been introduced to more people from other U.S. and international offices.
Along with connections for friendship’s sake, there’s endless talent you can easily reach out to and network with. It’s a big, friendly world that becomes a small, friendly world when that’s what you need.
Making my impact at Grant Thornton
At ALPFA Convention 2019
Here’s an example of how I’m making an impact in a place that’s not limited by walls. A few weeks after I returned from secondment, I started an engagement with a company whose records were here in Houston but whose audit had to be done according to UK rules. Because of my experience in Manchester, I knew exactly what to do.
As for other international work, my language skills have been an additional advantage. Recently I collaborated with other Portuguese speakers in the firm on a project in Brazil. It was a major project, and it was exciting to be a contributor. I’ve also worked on engagements where Spanish skills were needed to extract information and make sure all the bases were covered.
Volunteering for the Houston Food Bank
Another opportunity to embrace my background and skills is in being a co-founder and co-leader of the Houston Latinx Business Resource Group. Our BRG networks with people in other Grant Thornton offices, the public accounting industry and business in general. We take part in the ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America) conferences that the firm sponsors and come together for volunteering and social events. We also organize and promote activities for September’s firm-wide Hispanic Heritage month, which is based on the historic celebration of independence in Latin America.
In all these experiences I’m learning from and supporting the big world/small world culture that makes this firm a place I’m proud to be a part of.