Going places: Moving up and into new areas

Leo Olivo’s story

Leo with Chicago Amigos BRGI’m in the center, surrounded by others in my Chicago Amigos BRG.
I’ve gone places with Grant Thornton. The firm has provided me with global experiences — a move from my home country to a new one, in-person and virtual connections with clients and colleagues across the world, and opportunities to learn and advance.

Fresh out of college in my home country, Brazil, I started my career at Grant Thornton in the Sao Paulo office as an IT Assurance associate. A U.S. leader in the practice worked in our office temporarily and took note of my capabilities. When he offered me a position in the Chicago office, I accepted immediately. It meant gaining valuable experience in my career while working with a mentor and guide I look up to.

It was a move I’m grateful for and proud of. I enjoy learning something new every day. New technologies, all different types of environments and systems, and how people can make better use of them — they’re right here for me to constantly delve into. I became a manager in IT Assurance, as well as a subject matter expert in a key software system. By constantly increasing my knowledge and using it to help my teammates and clients, I make contributions that are noticed and valued. In turn, my team has helped me to develop hard and soft skills. I’m more proficient in technical know-how, and I’m consistently fostering and growing relationships with colleagues and clients.

My teammates and I meet with clients from around the world. Right now our interactions are virtual, but usually I travel to fascinating places domestically and abroad. One of the perks I really enjoy is that I’m able to travel back to Sao Paulo and reconnect with my original Grant Thornton team.

Grant Thornton’s culture is easygoing and flexible in our international member firms as well as in the U.S. In many of my global interactions, there are frequent chances for me to offer critical assistance in communicating with non-English-speaking clients. Besides my native Portuguese, I am fluent in Spanish and can converse in other languages. This makes a big difference in earning client confidence and in work efficiency. I am also a guide for my colleagues in navigating local culture.

As for Grant Thornton’s culture, I appreciate that it’s easygoing and flexible. This holds true for our international member firms as well as offices in the U.S. I interact with a lot of people in a number of countries, and the informality and friendliness are everywhere. When you have a question, you ask around, and someone’s always willing to help. Collaboration and recognizing the benefits of inclusion are encouraged by the firm. We’re respected for working together as individuals with unique backgrounds, experiences and walks of life. The outcome is that because of our differences, we’re better able to serve our clients.

Leo with fellow members of our BRG With fellow members of our BRG at the 2019 ALPFA Convention
For me, this is where membership and leadership in a business resource group — a BRG — came in. I wanted a network, to get to know other people inside and outside of our firm. Several of us started the Chicago Amigos chapter of the firm’s national Latinx BRG. I serve as co-chair, honored to work alongside of dedicated, engaged and motivated individuals. Our members feel understood by others with a background similar to their own and are supported through these connections. Our collective networking has grown to include BRGs in other businesses, including at some of our clients’ companies. We also engage with ALPFA, the Association of Latino Professionals for America, to make connections and build relationships with high schools and higher education institutions to bring talented, diverse students into professional life.

Involvement in our BRG and doing my job continue much the same as before COVID-19 social distancing. It’s not a big change for me because I’m used to flexible work-from-home in IT. And for years I’ve been organizing virtual social hours with friends back in Brazil. Now my team and I meet in a virtual way, professionally and personally, and don’t miss a step in connecting, collaborating and supporting each other.