Collaboration within a work family

Jaclyn Kaminski’s story

Jaclyn at office All of our firm’s CLEARR values (Collaboration, Leadership, Excellence, Agility, Respect and Responsibility) have great personal meaning, but the “C” in particular has been especially eye-opening and impactful. While I purposefully bring each of those qualities to my work, collaboration stands out for revealing the value in working in a team.

This revelation is just one of the reasons I enjoy working here. I have found collaboration to be critically important, and I appreciate that I’m not alone in what I need to get done. This holds true personally and professionally, because in both aspects of our lives, we need support to handle all the crazy things life can throw at us.

So much of what we do at Grant Thornton is collaborative. When you start here — which I did in July 2018, after college graduation — you work with your coach to outline a career path. My coach recommended that I explore learning opportunities by working with a variety of clients on a range of projects. The point is to help me begin to focus on the work I like and where I can grow. I’m given direction but also freedom to steer a course as, according to the firm, “the captain of my career.”

Graduation Graduation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in July 2018 As I continue to take charge of my career, I’m concentrating on how to impact the big picture. It’s like I’m working diligently on one piece of a puzzle, and at the same time, thinking about others, such as how I can make an impact in a meaningful way.

My puzzle piece in these first months at the firm is being an IT associate. I do special attestation reporting and IT assurance, which deal with regulatory compliance and support for auditing. I’m learning a lot in working with teammates to assist clients through a complicated process.

The people of Grant Thornton — my future teammates — were a big part of the initial draw to the firm. Many of us met at Grow with Grant Thornton (Grow), the firm’s summer leadership conference for students. For three days, we interacted with outstanding Grant Thornton professionals at all levels to build skills and define our goals. Something particularly remarkable was that they had organized a community service project for us to take part in. It was touching to me to see that Grant Thornton encourages this in their employees.

Relay for life Relay for Life: I’ve volunteered for many years to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, and I plan to continue. Before returning to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was offered an internship in risk advisory services focusing on IT. Following my internship, I accepted a full-time offer. From that point on, until graduation, I made it a priority to go to Grant Thornton recruitment activities on campus. I loved meeting the impressive Illini alums who came in for the events. The culture of the firm came through in conversations with them — as it does with colleagues now.

Jumpstar bowlingAdvisory Jumpstart: New employee training (and bowling) The people and culture are what make this firm different from other companies. Grant Thornton is big, but it’s personable. When I walk into the office, I know people, and they know me. Many have been with the firm for 10 years, 12 years, 15 years. They stay because of everything Grant Thornton offers. It feels to me like I’ve entered a work family. You’re known and wanted, and you’re one of the people who makes Grant Thornton great.

I expect to go through some tough times and get to ride out some amazing ones. I also expect that my collaborative colleagues will be with me through them all.