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Collaborative spirits at work

Martin Nguyen’s story

RFP
Martin Nguyen with bullI’ve always wanted to visit Wall Street, and maybe someday I’ll make it.
In my job search during college, I prioritized a mix of accountability and flexibility. When I learned that Grant Thornton encourages you to take control of your career and leadership supports you, I knew I’d found my place. In this empowering and collaborative culture, you can go a long way by just raising your hand with a request or an idea.

In any role and at any level, we speak to one another without hesitation. Our Phoenix leadership is thoughtful about allocating responsibilities to help you with your goals and career plans. Because of my passion for data analytics, I was guided to a certification program early on. Soon after, I was offered training in analytics applications and was able to create client deliverables.

These kinds of opportunities are specific to my interests rather than to my work in the tax reporting and advisory group, where I’m an associate, transitioning soon to senior associate. I assist large private and public corporations on tax consulting and compliance projects. I’m able to do even more when given chances to leverage analytics and applications the firm provides. In two initiatives, I gained new experience and helped my team gain efficiencies. In the first one, I leveraged a new firmwide application to solve our team’s scheduling problem. The pain point was not knowing who was and who wasn’t available to take on a project. Now everyone updates a shared platform to show when they’re busy and when they’re free. It goes right along with our “work smarter, not harder” attitude. We’re encouraged to collaborate on getting to finish lines — and to celebrate.

Martin Nguyen cooking Virtually cooking together in the late afternoon is one way we continue to enjoy our co-workers’ company.
The second initiative involved bridging another gap. This one was a lapse in understanding between our team and a firm service center. I examined best practices in approaches, then asked for and provided pertinent feedback to solve the communications issue and knowledge gap.

Through the impacts I’ve been able to make at Grant Thornton, I’m developing a personal brand. I’ve learned a lot about networking and public speaking, and how to put these skills to use in ways I enjoy, such as in university recruiting. In my first year, I got to be on a panel at a firmwide university recruiting event. This led to a connection with interns, many of whom will eventually become my co-workers.

I look forward to inviting the new hires to join me and my co-workers for lunch after COVID-19 passes. My colleagues and I originally bonded through food, going out to eat at local restaurants. Now, in work-from-home, we’ve started virtual cooking lessons as part of our team bonding. Each week, someone volunteers to teach our team a new recipe, and the rest of us follow along with them. A co-worker walked us through lasagna, our tax partner took on chicken pot pie, and I led the steps to a spicy Thai fried rice. Recently one of our managers prepared coconut shrimp curry. It goes to show how accountants’ skills are way more than just looking at the numbers. We do this late in the day so after we’re done cooking, it’s time for dinner.

Martin Nguyen looking into mornitorsOur team’s “work smarter” approach applies as well in work-from-home as it does in the office.
Most mornings, we have virtual team meetings as a checkpoint and a conversation about things like weekend plans or current events. It helps in a sense of being together and trying to keep our office interactions the same as before working from home.

While COVID-19 has meant changes in everything, important activities continue. For me, that includes involvement in business resource groups (BRGs). I’m the Communications chair in the Future Leaders BRG. People in my age group can bring ideas for improvements at the firm and find out how to grow their brand. I chose to take a leadership position because I like to connect with others, welcome their viewpoints and inspire them to be leaders.

The Pan-Asians BRG attracted me because it opens the door for people to learn about Asian cultures and provides people with similar backgrounds to mine a space to communicate ideas. It highlights the diversity within the firm, the acknowledgment of the value of different upbringings. I’m Vietnamese, second generation because of my parents’ immigration. I was born and raised in Phoenix, and appreciate the culture I grew up in. Sometimes when I describe a Vietnamese custom or an issue Asian-Americans deal with, it’s an eye-opener for my colleagues. It’s also a chance for them to really get to know me as a person rather than just an accountant who loves football.

I’m further inspired by the members of the Women at Grant Thornton BRG. As an ally, I’m receiving an education in how women advance in their careers, bring a different lens to the workplace, deal with hurdles I don’t face and balance a career with family life.

Hearing others relate their unique experiences opens my own eyes to our firm’s rich environment of contributions and collaborations.