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ConnectMarch 2014The magazine for EY alumni
The buck stops here!
Mark WeinbergerShaping the vision
Randy LewisNo greatness without goodness
Alice SchroederOutside her comfort zone
Dave Kautter and Cindy RooksMany happy returns
A look at leadership through the eyes of three alumni CEOs: Monique Leroux, Cindy Taylor andMichael Strianese
ll Rights Reserved.
Could you be one of the architects of a better working world?
It takes a certain kind of person to build a better working world. Someone who believes that the world can work better one client at a time, one project at a time. Could you be one of them?
Stephen R. Howe Jr.
Stephen R. Howe Jr. EY Americas Managing Partner and Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP (US)
WelcomeOne of my greatest pleasures is watching people I know develop into leaders both inside and outside of EY.
In this issue of Connect, we talk to EY alumni Monique Leroux, Michael Strianese and Cindy Taylor all CEOs of major corporations on the subject of leadership. What does it mean to them? What are the challenges? How are they nurturing the next generation of leaders?
While their approaches to leadership may vary, our three CEOs agree on two things. First, while they find being CEOs intensely rewarding, it also means that, within their respective organizations, the buck really does stop with them. Second, all three unequivocally trace their leadership roots to the values, skills, mentoring and experiences they acquired while at EY. I could not be more proud.
Also in this issue we introduce a new section: Building a better working world. Here, we tell the story of an EY alum doing something extraordinary in improving the world around us. Every day I hear about the many things our alumni are doing to help build a better world. However, I encourage you to read the amazing story of the vision, courage and compassion of Randy Lewis, recently retired senior vice president at Walgreens, and how his efforts there continue to benefit the disabled. I was inspired and think you will be, too.
EYs Vision 2020 states, in part, that we will encourage the development of the people who are and will be the builders, the visionaries and the achievers of a better working world. When I reflect on all that Monique, Mike, Cindy, Randy and the other alumni featured in this issue are doing, Im confident were on the right path.
Connect March 2014 1
In this issue
04 On the coverA few years ago, USA Today named EY a top five leadership factory due to the high percentage of our alumni who go on to serve in top leadership positions in major corporations. In this issue, we talk to three of those alumni, Monique Leroux, chair, president and CEO of Desjardins Group; Michael Strianese, chairman, president and CEO of L-3 Communications; and Cindy Taylor, president and CEO of Oil States International, about what leadership means to them and the challenges they face as leaders of their organizations.
1816 24 26
Monique Leroux, chair, president and CEO of Desjardins Group
Michael Strianese, chairman, president and CEO of L-3 Communications
Cindy Taylor, president and CEO of Oil States International
Features04 The buck stops here
Three alumni CEOs share their perspectives on leadership and find that, while their styles may vary, when it comes to making the tough leadership decisions, the buck truly does stop with them.
12 Shaping the visionLearn about Vision 2020, leadership and the power of alumni in a Q&A with Mark Weinberger, EYs Global Chairman and CEO.
16 No greatness without goodnessFormer EY partner Randy Lewis groundbreaking efforts at Walgreens are helping to build a better working world for the disabled.
18 Many happy returnsNotable tax alumni Dave Kautter and Cindy Rooks have followed very different career paths, but they share a common foundation shaped during their time in the EY Tax Practice.
24 Outside her comfort zonePerhaps best known for her best-selling biography of Warren Buffett, alumna Alice Schroeder is constantly seeking new experiences and enjoys making a positive impact behind the scenes.
26 Alumni Council members in focusFrom the front lines of the conflict in Afghanistan to the second largest school district in the US, Alumni Council members Matt Sicinski and Paul Ishimaru are both helping to build a better working world.
31 Alumni Relations around the worldTravel to Israel to discover more about alumni relations in this innovative country, and meet EY Israel Chairman Ronen Barel, as well as retired partner Itzhak Forer, whose daring and vision helped build the dominant accounting practice there.
News34 Board and Governance Forum convenes
A recap of our most recent Forum for EY alumni who serve on corporate boards.
36 Alumni in the news and new alumni snapshotsHighlighting recent achievements of your friends and colleagues.
41 Alumni events gallery A snapshot of recent alumni events throughout the Americas.
EY | Assurance | Tax | Transactions | AdvisoryAbout EYEY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.
EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.
Ernst & Young LLP is a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited operating in the US.
EY Canada refers to Ernst & Young LLP which is a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited operating in Canada.
EY Israel refers to the client-serving member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited operating in Israel.
2014 EYGM Limited. All Rights Reserved. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute without written permission.
EYG no. QQ0384 ED 0414
The opinions of third parties set out in this publication are not necessarily the opinions of the global EY organization or its member firms. Moreover, they should be viewed in the context of the time they were expressed.
In line with EYs commitment to minimize its impact on the environment, this document has been printed on paper with a high recycled content.
March 2014ConnectThe magazine for EY alumni
Editor-in-Chief: Jeff AndersonManaging Editor: Jay SeitherWriters: Anne Lampert, Jay Seither, Carey Smith-Marchi, John WardCreative Director: Donald BattingContributing Editor: Ellen LaskPhotography: Jonathan Gayman, Robert Thomas
Connect magazine is printed in the US by Great Lakes Integrated.
For further information on Connect, please contact Jeff Anderson at [email protected] or +1 404 817 4875.
Connect March 2014 3
A look at leadership through the eyes of three alumni CEOs
words: Jay Seither photos: Jonathan Gayman
In this issue of Connect, we explore the meaning of leadership with three of the more than 250 EY alumni in North America who serve as CEOs of major companies. Our executive trio largely agrees on the core components of leadership, including the ability to inspire, unite and strategize. They also concur on such leadership prerequisites as deep knowledge of their given field and outstanding management and interpersonal skills.
The differences among our CEOs perspectives on leadership are subtle, perhaps amounting to a matter of emphasis. For example, Cindy Taylor, CEO of Oil States International and recent appointee to the board of AT&T, approaches her role primarily as that of a team-builder and enabler. Mike Strianese, CEO of L-3 Communications, says whats most important in his industry is setting and upholding a culture of ethical excellence. For Monique Leroux, CEO of Desjardins Group, leadership is about positive feelings and the ability to convey a passion for excellence and team spirit to everyone in her organization.
In the course of our conversations, all three CEOs, without prompting, mentioned that within their respective organizations, the buck truly does stop with them. Theyve all agonized over difficult decisions. One went so far as to say, If youre not careful, it really can be lonely at the top. However, all agreed that being in a position to drive an organization and the people in it to grow and succeed is the joy and passion of their lives. They wouldnt want to do anything else. Its what makes them all leaders.
Leadership.Theres little debate that its critical to any successful venture, whether a business, a government, the military or the local PTA. However, try to define leadership and the responses are as wide-ranging as the people you ask. A quick search on Amazon.com returns more than 100,000 titles on the topic of leadership. Barnes & Noble offers more than 700 volumes on leadership theory and practice alone.
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The buck stops here: a look at leadership through the eyes of three alumni CEOs
Monique Leroux: leading from the heartLeadership is one of Monique Lerouxs favorite topics. She loves reading about it, learning about it and talking about it. But, as leader of Desjardins Group, the largest cooperative financial group in North America, what she most enjoys is inspiring leadership in others.
Its only humanLeadership is essentially human nature, says Leroux. Its about emotion, not just hard facts and management skills. For Leroux, leadership begins with understanding how to rally a group of people often with diverse objectives, agendas and backgrounds around a common vision or goal. Next, you must gain those peoples trust. Finally, to truly lead, she says you must inspire each group member to develop within themselves the spirit of achieving that vision or goal. And when they do, says Leroux, you get a level of personal commitment and involvement positive emotion and energy that can amplify the success of the organization. As a leader, she notes, you have to create conditions that will help your people realize their dreams.
Leroux believes that all organizations must work to develop their future leaders. She mentions that Desjardins recently completed a corporate reorganization. As part of the process, management spent considerable time discussing ways to increase peoples level of emotional involvement.
Leroux acknowledges that not every person in an organization will have the emotional aptitude to develop as a leader. However, she feels a personal responsibility to foster an environment of trust and respect at Desjardins where people can confidently express who they are and what they want to do, and develop the positive energy and motivation needed to become leaders.
More about Desjardins GroupDesjardins Group is the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of C$210 billion. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services through its distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. The group has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry, and ranks as the fourth safest and strongest bank in North America, according to Global Finance magazine and Bloomberg News, respectively.
On January 15, Desjardins Group announced, with State Farm (USA) and Crdit Mutuel, the acquisition of State Farm Canada.
One of the first woman partners in Canada, Monique Leroux helped establish EYs insurance and financial services practice in Montreal. Today she is chair, president and CEO of Desjardins Group, one of the largest financial cooperatives in the world.
Walking the talkOne of the very few women CEOs in Canada (not to mention one of the first woman EY partners in Canada and the first female president of the Quebec Order of Chartered Accountants), Leroux doesnt feel that being a woman has a significant impact on her role as a leader. It perhaps adds a level of complexity, she says, but it also gives me more visibility and opportunity.
And visibility can be a two-edged sword for a CEO, especially when it comes to upholding the organizations values, another of Lerouxs critical leadership components. Many organizations, including Desjardins, notes Leroux, display their values and mission statements on plaques in their lobbies or on their websites and business cards. Thats all very nice, she remarks, but in reality, when the rubber meets the road, are we really doing what we say? Leroux believes a great leader must live the values of the organization at all times. If theres ever a disconnect, she warns, if a leader doesnt consistently walk the talk, your people will not only see it, but feel it.
Listen and learnRegarding her own success as a leader, Leroux thinks it boils down to two interrelated qualities: she says shes a good learner, which is the product of being a good listener. One of the most important things in life is to know what you dont know, says Leroux. Another is knowing who to ask to help you cross that bridge. Leroux says she is careful to surround herself with people she trusts inside and outside of Desjardins and really listens to what they have to say, good or bad. To be a good leader, you need to listen and be humble about yourself, she adds.
More about Monique LerouxMonique Leroux attended the Music Conservatory of Quebec with dreams of becoming a musician. Along the way she switched her major to accounting. But when she joined the firm in Montreal in 1978, she had more music than accounting credits. Leroux recalls the warm welcome she received at EY Canada despite her non-traditional background.
While at EY, Leroux helped establish the insurance and financial services practice in Montreal. Today, the practice generates nearly 25% of the offices revenues. In 1988, Leroux was named partner. She left EY in 1995 to join the Royal Bank of Canada. From 2000 to 2001, she was at Quebecor, Inc., and in 2001, she joined Desjardins Group, one of the clients she had helped bring to the firm.
In addition to serving as chair, CEO and president at Desjardins, Leroux is a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Founders Council of the Quebec Global 100 network. She also chairs the Conseil qubcois de la coopration et de la mutualit and is a member of the board of directors of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada. She is also a member of the board of directors of the International Co-operative Alliance, and of the board of directors and the executive committee of the European Association of Co-operative Banks; vice-president of the presidential committee and a member of the executive committee of the International Confederation of Popular Banks; and a member of the board of Crdit Mutuels subsidiary CIC.
Leroux also sits on the Advisory Committee on the Public Service (appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada) and on the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board and is a member of the Canadian Group of the Trilateral Commission. She is a founding partner of the Quebec International Summit of Cooperatives (201214).
Leadership is essentially human nature. Its about emotion, not just hard facts and management skills.
Lerouxs listening skills may have played a significant role in her becoming Desjardins top leader in 2008. Unlike most financial institutions, Desjardins is a cooperative. Its CEO is elected (not appointed) by an assembly of 256 people representing more than 5,000 elected officers and more than six million clients and members. Considered a dark horse, Leroux personally talked with every panel member. I wanted them to clearly understand my vision of Desjardins, she recalls, but just as importantly, I wanted to listen and understand what was on their minds. When asked if she was surprised that she won, Leroux pauses, gives a little smile and says, No, but Im always the one who sees a glass as half full.
Michael Strianese: the best offense is a good defenseAs chairman, president and CEO of L-3, the ninth largest aerospace and national security contractor in the US, Mike Strianese has a unique perspective on leadership. For him, the essential aspect of leadership the trait he most strives to embody and project throughout his organization of some 48,000 people is that of integrity. Were in the business of helping the US and other countries with their national security, Strianese explains. In this industry, if you dont have your reputation, you dont have anything. For Strianese, who is one of Defense News 100 Most Influential People in US Defense, that means continuously fostering a corporate culture in which L-3 is a company that does things right and does the right thing. He notes this
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The buck stops here: a look at leadership through the eyes of three alumni CEOs
It was the early 1990s, about the same time the A&D industry was being accused of huge cost overruns and excessive government billings. Compared to the exemplary ethical behavior I experienced at EY, this was an environment that was completely foreign to me, recalls Strianese. As a result, he established L-3s ethics program when the company was formed in 1997 and took a keen interest in helping to improve corporate ethics within the A&D industry. Strianese takes pride in noting that by the time the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed in 2002, the industry and L-3 were already way out in front.
Strianese believes other critical leadership attributes include having a
passion for your business, being a good listener and having a vision and the ability to drive others to achieve that vision. Additionally, he affirms that expertise, intellectual curiosity and drive translate into charisma and inspiration when talking to employees, and that interpersonal skills are key. Strianese, who describes himself as a relationship guy in business, also accepts that one of the most demanding aspects of leadership is being willing and able to make the final decision. And that, he admits, can sometimes be a solitary job. Despite engineers and skilled managers who can provide him with volumes of data and a knowledgeable and experienced board, at the end of the day, says Strianese, I must make the call and I have to adapt and adapt quickly.
STEM-ing the problemLooking ahead, Strianese expresses deep concern over a critical problem facing his industry: developing its future leaders and attracting and retaining the science and engineering talent needed to ensure that our troops have the very best technology in their hands to keep them and the US safe. He notes the majority of the most senior A&D positions are held by baby boomers, many of whom are retiring now or will soon. Further, Strianese anticipates a growing shortage of qualified people to fill these jobs. Its an issue hes making a high priority, both as the newly elected chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association and at L-3. In fact, L-3 recently gained recognition for its executive leadership development program, created with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Strianese is also helping
More about Michael StrianeseMike Strianeses path to the US firm of Ernst & Young LLP in 1978 was atypical. He was hired between his junior and senior years of college, working full-time by day and finishing college by night. This made him not only one of the youngest EY staffers but also the first member of his St. Johns University graduating class to land a job with a then-Big Eight firm, an achievement hes still proud of. He served in a number of roles, eventually becoming a senior manager. In 1991, a defense firm asked Strianese to join the company as director of special projects. In 1996, the company was acquired by Lockheed Martin, which in 1997 spun off L-3, with Strianese serving as the new organizations first vice president of finance. L-3 went public in 1998 and Strianese was named CFO in 2005. In 2006, Strianese was named company
president and CEO, and in 2008 he was elected chairman.
As leader of a company that provides such high-tech equipment as night-vision goggles, extremely realistic flight simulators and other highly classified military gear, Strianese is passionate about supporting the countrys men and women in uniform. He currently serves as a Chair of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundations Leatherneck Ball, an event that raises millions of dollars each year to fund the educations of children of military personnel killed in the line of duty. In addition, L-3 provides significant support for Homes For Our Troops, a non-profit organization that provides homes specially adapted to the needs of seriously wounded veterans. The homes are provided at no cost to their families.
to me, being a leader is having an extreme passion for what I do, and that includes a passion for the highest ethics.
At right: Michael Strianese, chairman, president and CEO of L-3, with models of some of the aircraft his company helps modify for the US military and heads of governments around the world. He is also 2014 chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association and one of Defense News 100 Most Influential People in US Defense.
philosophy must pervade everything the company does, from the boardroom to the customer to employees.
A passion for ethicsBeyond his enthusiasm for L-3 and its mission as a supplier to the military, Strianese takes pride in the fact that, to the best of his knowledge, hes the only Fortune 500 CEO who previously served as a corporate ethics officer. People may laugh at that, but to me, being a leader is having an extreme passion for what I do, and that includes a passion for the highest ethics. This passion deepened when Strianese left EY to work for an aerospace and defense (A&D) company.
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More about L-3L-3 is a global aerospace and national security company with 2013 sales of US$12.6 billion that employs approximately 48,000 people worldwide. Headquartered in New York City, L-3 provides C3ISR (command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) systems, platform and logistics solutions, national security solutions and electronic systems that serve the military, homeland security, aviation and other commercial markets. L-3 customers include the United States Department of Defense, other US government agencies, allied foreign governments and commercial customers.
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The buck stops here: a look at leadership through the eyes of three alumni CEOs
launch a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program at his former Brooklyn, New York, high school.
The roots of leadershipStrianese recalls the amazing and foundational mentoring he received from EY colleagues such as Lew Kramer (who was asked to join L-3s board after retiring from EY), John Gray and LeRoy Herbert. The willingness of these men to invest in me at such a young age truly made a difference in my career and my life.
Cindy Taylor: energizing her teamWhen defining leadership, Oil States International CEO Cindy Taylor mentions words you might expect to hear, such as character and trustworthiness. But then she adds an attribute one doesnt always hear associated with the term: humility. For Taylor, the term is a reflection not only of her personal leadership style, but also her rural roots, and how she tries to lead her everyday life. Leadership she says, should not be about me or an individual it should be a collective effort of people pulling in the same direction to achieve success.
Distributed leadershipTaylor subscribes to distributed leadership, whereby a CEO or other leader is surrounded by a team of strong, talented people representing many different perspectives. While acknowledging her role as the ultimate decision-maker at Oil States, Taylor believes that nobody leads alone and anyone who says so is only kidding themselves. Under the distributed leadership model, Taylor sees her job as clarifying the vision and strategy, setting the example and empowering the team to get to work. We all strive to do our best, but none of us does everything perfectly every day, notes Taylor. She believes the distributed leadership approach opens the team to sharing ideas, collaborating and making adjustments, thereby helping everyone become more successful.
More about Cindy TaylorCindy Taylor joined Ernst & Young LLP in Houston right out of college in 1984. In 1989, Cliffs Drilling Company, a newly formed public company and one of Taylors clients, offered her a job. She turned it down, citing weakness in the oil and gas industry at the time. Three years later, when the market rebounded and the company asked her again, she said yes. Over the next seven years, Cliffs Drillings stock value increased more than tenfold. But then came another industry downturn, leading Cliffs Drilling to merge with R&B Falcon (now Transocean, Ltd.). Taylor led the company through the transition and left in 1999 to join SCF Partners, a Houston-based private equity firm specializing in oil field service investments. Within a year, Taylor was approached with the rather unorthodox idea of merging four private energy-related companies into a single public
one, in which Taylor would serve as senior vice president. She agreed and the result was the formation of Oil States International in 2000. She was later named president and COO and in 2007 was appointed president, CEO and director.
In addition to her role as CEO of Oil States International, in 2013 Taylor was named to the board of directors of AT&T. She is also a director of Tidewater, the worlds largest operator of vessels serving the oil and gas industry, and on the board and executive committee of the National Ocean Industries Association. At Texas A&M University, she serves as trustee of the 12th Man Foundation and on the development council of the Mays Business School, which in 2011 recognized Taylor as an outstanding alumna. Taylor was an Entrepreneur Of The Year national finalist in 2012.
Leadership should not be about me or an individual it should be a collective effort of people pulling in the same direction to achieve success.
The approach must be working. In January, Taylor was named TopGun CEO of the world by Brendan Wood International, based upon shareholder ratings that evaluate more than 1,300 world-class public corporations and their CEOs.
Taylor also strongly believes that no leadership approach, distributed or otherwise, will be successful without a sound strategy. Its the most critical thing a leader must have, she notes, and it must be a strategy that can be clearly articulated throughout the organization. Twice a year, Taylor and her leadership team hold an executive retreat where
they openly discuss, challenge and, if necessary, refine Oil States strategy as well as air out other issues.
Paying it forwardGrowing up on a ranch in the tiny town of Goldthwaite, Texas, Taylor never envisioned working for a Fortune 500 company, let alone becoming its CEO. But during her first year at EY, she recalls a more senior colleague walking up to her and stating, You do realize youre a born leader. As Taylor recalls, up to that point the thought had never crossed her mind. But the interaction had a lasting impact. It made Taylor realize the incredible power of
Issue # Month Year
More about Oil States International Oil States International is a US$6 billion diversified solutions provider for the oil and gas industry. While not directly involved in exploration or development of the resources themselves, Oil States is a leading manufacturer of the equipment needed for deepwater drilling and production facilities and subsea pipelines. It also provides the oil and gas industry with services, including remote site accommodations, production-related tools and land drilling support. It employs approximately 9,000 people in 11 countries. In 2005 Oil States made Forbes Top 100 Best Mid-Cap Stocks list and in 2006 and 2013 it was named among Fortunes 100 Fastest-Growing Companies.
giving positive, reinforcing messages as a way of inspiring others to excel and to lead.
Today, Oil States is huge on promoting from within, says Taylor, and the only way you can do that is to develop your people. One of Oil States greatest initiatives, according to Taylor, is the creation of a system of talent pathways designed to identify and train the companys future leaders. Taylor notes that one of the most fun and rewarding aspects of her job is helping prepare people for the next level of responsibility and leadership. At the end of the day, she says, if I get hit by a bus and there arent leaders in place ready to step up, I havent done my job.
Taylor is a huge sports fan and diehard Texas Aggie. So its not surprising that many of her leadership heroes are athletic coaches, including longtime Alabama football coach Bear Bryant. What he did best was bring out the best in others, says Taylor, and thats consistent with my way of thinking of building a strong team, giving them the tools they need and allowing them to achieve individual success.
Like Monique Leroux, Taylor doesnt believe being a woman greatly affects her role as a leader. Id be kidding myself if I didnt think there werent different perceptions of a woman leader, she states, but with the right attitude and perspective,
its not an issue. While she clearly appreciates the benefits of diversity, Taylor says she doesnt want an advantage nor does she want to give an advantage based solely on gender (or other characteristics). Still, Taylor is quick to point out that less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, a condition she calls radically out of line.
Change is a good thingTaylor has words of advice for future leaders: dont be afraid of change. Change creates opportunities for those who arent afraid to jump in and run with the ball. Because the world is changing so rapidly, she warns that if youre not changing, theres a very good chance of getting left behind.
As president and CEO of Oil States International, Cindy Taylor was recently named one of the top CEOs in the world based upon shareholder ratings. Shes also a member of the Houston Alumni Council.
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visionA conversation on Vision 2020 and leadership with Mark Weinberger, EYs Global Chairman and CEO
Mark, thanks for speaking with us. In January 2013, EY launched its Vision 2020 plan, along with a new tagline: Building a better working world. Why that tagline and what does it mean to you, personally?
Building a better working world is more than a tagline; its our purpose. It reflects who we are and what we do as an organization. Its about looking beyond self-interest and engaging with the world. Every day, every EY person is part of building a better working world for their clients, their families and their communities. I believe that everything we do every audit, every tax return, every advisory opportunity, every interaction with a client or colleague should make the world better than it was before.
The insights our people share and the quality services our people deliver build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. Most significantly, their efforts contribute to global and local
economic stability and growth, which in turn provide opportunities to address some of the worlds major issues.
How does Vision 2020 relate to our nearly 200,000 alumni in the US and some 700,000 alumni worldwide?
Whenever people join EY, however long they stay, we want them to have an exceptional experience that lasts a lifetime. The skills theyve learned, the global experiences theyve gathered, the exceptional client opportunities theyve worked on, all give them unique insights into the world and how to improve it.
Everyone leaves EY at some point sometimes they return and sometimes they move on to new opportunities. I should know: Ive joined EY four times over my career.
Our alumni, having gone on to achieve great things, have demonstrated how valuable their EY experience has been. From setting up their own businesses and creating
words: John Ward
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Shaping the vision: a conversation with Mark Weinberger
jobs, to working with state agencies and governments, to helping a whole new array of clients by working in other organizations, our alumni are definitely helping to build a better working world.
When someone leaves EY, we dont see this as the end of the relationship, but rather the beginning of the next stage. Under Vision 2020, were actively encouraging our alumni to stay connected to the organization and to each other by building a global alumni portal and executing a standard approach to maintaining stronger relationships with our alumni across the globe.
Vision 2020 also states our ambition to nearly double current revenues and to become a US$50b distinctive professional services firm by the year 2020. What do you mean by distinctive?
A distinctive professional services organization is one that has a strong brand and purpose that stakeholders strongly identify with something that distinguishes it from its competitors. Weve put in place a bold ambition to more than double our business by becoming a distinctive, leading professional services organization. We aspire to become the number one brand, the most favored employer and a leader across our chosen services, and to build stronger relationships with our clients and stakeholders.
Mark Weinberger (left) shares a moment with former US chairs Bill Kanaga (center) and William Gladstone at our Legacy of Leadership alumni event in New York City.
Is US$50b a truly achievable number or more of an aspiration? And where do you think that kind of growth will come from?
Id say its ambitious but achievable. Getting to US$50b in revenue by FY20 requires a compound annual growth rate of about 10%, an increase in our growth rate over the past few years. But were making the necessary investments in new services, technology and acquisitions to enable us to reach this target.
A significant proportion of this growth will come from new services and strategic acquisitions. The rest will come from our clients, whom weve grouped into two categories: our Global 360 (G360) accounts and our Core accounts.
The G360 are composed of client organizations that are, or one day will be, truly global in scale and scope. These accounts require significant cross-border service delivery and an integrated approach across multiple markets. If we execute seamlessly on a global basis and make the right investments worldwide, G360 accounts will deliver significant growth for our firm.
Achieving significant growth in our Core accounts is also a key driver of EYs growth agenda. We are taking steps to energize the Core and to better enable our partners to win in this space.
In addition to the investments were making in new services and acquisitions, were also investing US$3.8b to help make
technology a competitive differentiator for our business. In Assurance were investing US$400m to replace our tools and tailor our methodologies to better enable the audit of large public entities, middle-market accounts and statutory accounts.
Were also embedding data analytics across our service lines, making investments in sectors and mobility, and continuing to invest in the emerging markets.
In this edition of Connect, were talking to several alumni who serve as CEOs on the topic of leadership. Several years ago, USA Today named Ernst & Young LLP as a top 5 leadership factory because of the very high percentage of our alumni who serve in the C-Suite. What is EY doing to develop its next generation of leaders?
It starts by attracting talented, bright people to our organization. When they join, we want the experience they have here to nurture their natural talent and help develop them into our next generation of leaders. We not only offer a wide array of technical education to develop the skills necessary to carry out their day-to-day role, we also offer a broad array of non-technical learning, which focuses on a range of personal leadership development topics, from having more authentic conversations to managing relationships and becoming better coaches.
We hold regular milestone events for people across the globe whove recently been promoted. In addition to offering them the opportunity to celebrate their success with their peers, these events provide people the training necessary to develop their leadership skills as they assume their new responsibilities.
Finally, critical to a persons leadership development at EY is having the best counselor. A great counselor can see leadership talent early and develop it by helping his or her counselee to make the right career development decisions and providing honest feedback. At EY, we
have tools and training specifically designed to develop great counselors across our business.
Youve worked with two US leaders, President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. Did they have very different leadership styles?
Yes, they did. President Clinton was cerebral and wanted to be involved in all the issues. He dove into the details and wanted to make a lot of the decisions. President Bush was good at surrounding himself with different views from lots of people and then drilling into the issues by asking the right questions and then relying on that input to come to an answer.
Who were some of your leadership mentors?
One of the most inspirational leaders Ive known is former US Senator John Danforth, a Republican from Missouri. I had
the opportunity to work closely with him early in my career and what struck me about him was that, in a highly political environment where theres strong ideology and youre often pressured to take party positions, he was never afraid to do what he thought was right. During disputes, he excelled at finding common ground between both parties to more easily find a solution. Hes a true leader.
My dads also been a great mentor to me. He worked as a plumber and spent most of his life in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where I grew up. When I became more successful and got loftier titles, he gave me some great advice. He said no matter where you end up in your career and no matter what title you have, you must always remember who you are and where you came from. He also taught me to value family. A great mentor never lets your forget who you are or whats important in life.
How would you describe your leadership approach or style?
I would describe my leadership style as one that works by building strong relationships with great people, learning from them, and using what I learn to motivate others either individually or as part of high-performing teams. As a leader I try to energize the people around me and I hope it is contagious.
When someone leaves EY, we dont seethis as the end of the relationship, but rather the beginning of the next stage.
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Building a better working worldEY alumni have always been about helping to build a better working world. Our alumni bring their business acumen and leadership skills to an incredible array of efforts from the local Humane Society to the AICPA to the United Nations always looking to make a positive difference for our profession, our communities and the people around us. Beginning with this issue of Connect, we will bring you the stories of our alumni who are helping to build a better working in an extraordinary way.
Randy Lewis has led a quiet revolution. Having recently retired as Walgreens senior vice president of supply chain, he inspired a program to bring disabled individuals into the workforce as equals to their non-disabled peers, with the same pay and opportunities for advancement and job mobility. Today, 1,000 disabled workers are employed throughout the companys 20 distribution centers 10% of the centers workforce.
At a young age, Lewis felt the urge to build a better working world. He joined the Peace Corps out of college and went to Peru, teaching farmers how to better manage agricultural cooperatives that would benefit their businesses and their community. Even then, he was pushing to change a culture where such institutions did not exist. He calls it a wonderful experience.
He later earned his MBA at the University of Texas. By the early 90s Lewis was serving Walgreens as a consultant in
Ernst & Young LLPs Chicago office. He loved the people, the work and the partnership culture. He has great memories of working with Partner Jim DiStasio, who went on to become Ernst & Young LLP Senior Vice Chairman and Americas Chief Operating Officer. Walgreens was Lewis primary client until 1992, when the company offered him a position. Until that morning, he recalls, I never thought I would work for a client. But everything I had trained for to that point prepared me for the job.
Seize the moment make a difference While leaving EY and its people was difficult, Lewis found that Walgreens was going through an exciting period of expansion. During his tenure, the chain grew from 1,500 to 8,000 stores. But there was another, even more compelling opportunity. The company was in the process of reforming the technology used to operate
No greatnesswithout goodness
Randy Lewis is passionate about giving people the opportunities they deserve even if it means turning the status quo upside down.
words: Anne Lampert photos: Jonathan Gayman
its distribution centers. Lewis had an idea: why not redesign the centers jobs in a way that they could be performed by people with disabilities? The inspiration came from a very personal experience: Lewis son Austin was born with autism. He had watched Austins difficult transition from school to workplace, aware of the high unemployment rate and the lack of challenging jobs available for people with disabilities.
Parenting an autistic child brought Lewis to a new level of awareness. As he tells it, There is a whole world of people who are only six inches under water, but they are drowning. They can never get to the top of the applicant list because of others misconceptions. And, he adds, while we think we know what it takes to do a certain job, our biases are often wrong.
Importantly, Lewis set several benchmarks for the effort: no additional expenditures, no difference in pay or performance standards. With this approach, the company would be fair to shareholders and fair to our employees. Presented in this manner, Lewis notes, his proposal lit a fire at Walgreens.
Major change can spark apprehension among those having to implement it. What if they failed? One day we were discussing
the idea of raising the height of a work surface. The engineer I was speaking with asked me, Are we intentionally building this table for people with disabilities? Lewis could have avoided the question, but he said yes, and the engineer understood. It was a Rubicon moment, as Lewis describes it. If we failed, it would be the failure we would be most proud of.
Reaching out Each of Walgreens distribution centers connects with state and vocational rehabilitation agencies, with community-based disability organizations, and with schools to offer work-study programs. Other training is provided through TEACCH, a University of North Carolina program that helps those new to the teaching profession develop strategies that address the needs of various learners. Insights from TEACCH, for example, led Walgreens to adopt touch screens allowing workers to respond to shapes instead of words. Also, since some have trouble with numbers, workstations were given names, rather than numbers.
The program is changing peoples lives. As part of building a new distribution center in southern California, the host city organized a training facility. One woman, who uses
a walker, and her legally blind son, moved across the country to train for a year on their own time just to have the chance to apply. They now work in the Moreno Valley center.
Walgreens accomplishment is a lesson to businesses everywhere that the seemingly impossible can be achieved. In Lewis words, Experience is overrated. In 2005, the company set a stretch goal that the distribution centers disabled workforce would reach 10% within five years. While the recession threw off the timing by six months, Walgreens reached its objective by mid-2011.
Always ask Lewis has learned about many physical and mental disabilities that he hadnt known about previously. The people who work at the centers reflect the full spectrum from cerebral palsy to mental retardation to quadriplegics. The most important
lesson he has learned is to let go of every preconception of what a disabled person can do: You ask the person. How about a deaf customer service representative? She is working in one of the centers and her colleagues love working with her. She performs via email and lip-reading.
Walgreens has built four new distribution centers designed from the ground up with the new technology. The locations are Jupiter, Florida; Waxahatchee, Texas; Perrysburg, Ohio; and Moreno Valley, California. Lewis looked forward to leading tours and watching peoples perceptions change. Visitors would look around for the disabled people and not see them. They just saw our people working.
Lewis calls the program the best work of my life. And he reflects, Deep down everyone wants to help somebody; they just need permission to do it.
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At some point in their careers, many accounting professionals have to decide: will I work in auditing or tax? In this issue of Connect, we talk to two EY alumni who heard the call to the tax side early on. Their stories are quite different. However, each describes the lasting impact of their time in the EY Tax practice on their lives and careers.
Many happy returnsCatching up with two notable EY tax alumni
Dave KautterCindy Rooks
words: Jay Seither photos: Jonathan Gayman
Dont let Cindy Rooks mild manner deceive you. Yes, shes a grandmother and Sunday school teacher. And yes, she loves reading and spending time with her family. But as Senior Director of Tax for Harley-Davidson, this EY tax alumna is passionate about helping to drive one of the oldest, most successful and most iconic brands in US history.
Rooks started her career as a high school business teacher. She soon realized she really wanted that accounting degree and went back to school to get her MBA in Finance, Masters in Tax and CPA license. In 1987, she joined the Ernst & Young LLP tax practice in Milwaukee. Four years later, she joined her client Harley-Davidson as the companys first tax manager and one of its first women executives in finance. As Rooks explains, Harley-Davidson had just come through a tumultuous period, including a management buyout in 1981, and was becoming profitable again and that meant paying taxes. She was tasked with building an internal tax department.
Solving the puzzleRooks attraction to taxes started early in her life, preparing her personal returns. I
really liked accounting but was fascinated with tax, she says. To me, it was a challenge, a puzzle, something thats always changing. One of the things that Rooks likes most about tax is that its not always black and white.
One of her greatest tax challenges these days is dealing with the increasingly
extreme positions taken by some governments and taxing agencies. She notes that in her first 20 years with Harley-Davidson, the company was not involved in a single case of income tax litigation. Now, she points out, its not uncommon to be involved in a half-dozen suits. And audits are getting more difficult to win. It used to
Cindy Rooks: easy(going) rider
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Many happy returns: catching up with two notable EY tax alumni
be if a taxing body made an assertion, we could eventually get to a win-win situation; thats not always the case anymore, she says. For Rooks, its just another piece of solving the ever-evolving tax puzzle.
Hit the road, palWhile Rooks has her motorcycle license, she stresses that it is not necessary to be a Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner or rider to get caught up in the company culture, which she describes as infectious. For Rooks, Harley-Davidson is all about the experience. Whether its participating in a riding course or attending one of our annual bike weeks even if just to look at all the Harleys from years ago Harley-Davidson is all about fulfilling dreams, she says. If all we did was sell motorcycles, we wouldnt be any different from anyone else.
And Harley-Davidson sells a lot of motorcycles. This year, the company expects to ship more than 279,000 bikes around the world, up more than 7% from 2013. It is the market leader in the US, Australia and even in Japan, our competitors backyard, as Rooks describes it.
Reaching new ridersIn her early years at Harley-Davidson, Rooks says it wasnt uncommon to get a raised eyebrow when she told someone where she worked. She didnt exactly fit the biker image of the early 90s. But a lot has changed in 20 years. Today, most Harley buyers are college-educated professionals and the group is increasingly diverse. Last year, for the first time, the motorcycle manufacturers sales to outreach customers in the US young adults aged 1834, females, African Americans and Hispanics grew faster than sales to its core customers. Today, Harley-Davidson is the US market share leader among these demographic segments.
Taking it to the streetFor Rooks, being a tax professional means being well-connected and well-rounded. Its not just about what I do at Harley-Davidson, she remarks. Its also about what I can do to be involved with and help the profession.
The making of a great tax practiceby Kate Barton, Americas Vice Chair Tax
EY has the number one brand when it comes to tax services in the Americas. We are also the tax growth leader among the Big Four and have the leading share of voice in the US media. As leader of the EY Americas Tax practice, I am, naturally, highly pleased with all of these first-place rankings. At the same time, I am very humbled.
Even as the firm embarks on Vision 2020, I am reminded almost daily of the incredible legacy of leadership entrusted to me. I think of the entrepreneurialism and creativity of my mentors, including such Tax practice alumni as Bill Lipton, Jim Henderson, Mike Kelley and Bob Allen. I also learned much about business from audit professionals such as Jim DiStasio, Peter Nurczynski, Ken Watchmaker and John Mahoney. These people were not just great technicians and leaders, but they were also incredible teachers.
Im a big believer in paying it forward. For this reason, I think one of the greatest gifts our EY forebears left us is the apprenticeship model of developing our next generation of professionals and leaders. My mission is to continue that legacy. Whether a person stays with EY 3 years or 30, I want to do all I can to help deliver on the EY promise to provide an exceptional experience that lasts a lifetime. And
that includes staying connected with our EY alumni, tax or otherwise.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the airport and wearing a shirt with the new EY logo. A gentleman approached me and identified himself as a former EY partner. As we chatted, I could see in his eyes and hear in his voice the pride he takes in being an EY alum. It made me want to work even harder to make the EY Tax practice the very best it can be. But more importantly, it spoke to me about the power of staying connected. I hope you will.
Shes been active in Tax Executives Institute (TEI), the Manufacturers Alliance (Tax Committee) and the Tax Committee of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC). And she remains in contact with fellow EY alumni such as Dave Moskel, Ruth Kallio-Mielke and John Haertel, with whom she has been able to learn and share and grow together.
Rooks is proud of her EY tax background. She says it gave her an opportunity to work with exceptional people and great clients. You might even say it helped kick-start her highly successful career. Rooks husband, Rich, is a retired production artist and Austin-Healey car fanatic. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.
For 33 years, Dave Kautter, former Ernst & Young LLP US Director of National Tax, helped to build one of the worlds largest and most successful tax practices. Today, as Chair of the Board of the Washington National Cathedral, hes working to rebuild and preserve one of the nations most cherished and iconic landmarks.
An earth-moving experienceIn August 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rattled the Eastern Seaboard, including the nations capital. The tremor lasted only seconds, but it inflicted more than US$25 million in damage to the Cathedral, which is privately funded. It is Dave Kautters job not only to oversee the restoration of the Cathedral but to ensure its long-term economic survival.
Dave Kautter: man on a mission
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A major tourist attraction, the Washington National Cathedral remains an active house of worship for several denominations. However, Kautter points out that the edifice is more than a church or a parish, Its a cathedral and cathedrals play a unique role in societies and cultures.
Kautter first got involved with the Cathedral in 2008, just after the economic downturn. Realizing a need for people with strong financial skills to guide it through the challenging times ahead, the Cathedrals board asked Kautter to chair its finance committee. He was soon named to the board of directors, and in 2012 was named chair.
Living in harmonyWith its mission to be a catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation, serving the Cathedral is a natural for Kautter. Ive always had an interest in helping others, in faith in American society and in encouraging interfaith dialogue, he notes, perhaps a reflection of growing up in a religiously mixed home. With a Catholic mother and Protestant father, Kautter has childhood memories of Sunday mornings shuttling back and forth between Mass, Protestant services, catechism and Sunday school. Later, as a Notre Dame student, he spent a year in Tokyo studying East Asian religions.
In addition to being a house of worship, tourist attraction (some 700,000 people visit annually) and national landmark, the Washington National Cathedral is a business. With an annual budget of US$14 million all from private donations the Cathedral is always looking for ways to attract financial support. Were constantly looking for those who have an interest in the principles the Cathedral advocates interfaith dialogue, whether within the Christian denominations or with Jewish, Islamic or other religions and developing ways of working together. In another area of outreach, last November the Cathedral launched a Veterans Initiative, holding a Veterans Interfaith Prayer Breakfast the Sunday before Veterans Day.
Many happy returns: catching up with two notable EY tax alumni
Tax Insights for business leaders
The structural changes taking place in the global economy have already left their mark on tax matters, particularly those concerning multinationals. Few signs indicate that the pace of change will slow. On the contrary, tax complexity is rising quickly. As companies rethink their operating models to adapt to this fast-paced and increasingly global environment, they are compelled to take the global view.
EYs newly re-launched publication, Tax Insights, provides business executives around the world with this global view. Together with EYs efforts to build a better working world, we want to facilitate a multi-perspective debate and discussion focusing on tax issues and developments on a global scale. We want to place tax in the broader business conversation and make tax matters more accessible for business leaders and their teams. The magazine, its web portal and its mobile application will deliver this insight by presenting perspectives from a wide array of international EY professionals and even more representatives from business, academia, NGOs and government.
Look for Tax Insights as it debuts globally later this year, and quarterly thereafter, through the Financial Times newspaper. For more information about Tax Insights, contact Alexander Lorimer at [email protected]
Always a teacherIn addition to his work at the Cathedral, Kautter is a full-time professor at American University and runs the schools Kogod Tax Center, focused on tax issues affecting entrepreneurs and small businesses. As director, Kautter has testified before Congress, appeared on national television and is regularly in the press. Considering a career dedicated to learning, mentoring and teaching at EY (as well as a three-year stint as Tax Legislative Counsel to former Senator John Danforth), Kautter says shifting into the academic role was not a big jump. My passion has always been helping people, clients as well as staff, finding ways to help them grow and improve. Even though he retired from the firm four years ago, he continues to mentor a number of EY professionals.
I knew Mark Weinberger when Early in his career at EY, Kautter got to work with a young staffer named Mark Weinberger. He remembers Weinberger as a thoughtful, energetic staff person who was not afraid of hard work or of taking a risk. Mark was an extraordinarily bright individual who tried to get better every day.
National trailblazerLooking back on his career with EY, Kautter is particularly proud of his accomplishments with the National Tax practice, which he ran from 1986 to 1989 and again from 2000 until he retired in 2010. Back then, the concept of a National Tax practice having highly specialized tax professionals throughout the country linked by a sophisticated knowledge-sharing network and coordinated by a local Tax Services Coordinator was revolutionary, notes Kautter. The concept worked with great success and continues to underpin EYs tax services model. Today, the model is used by all the national firms.
When not teaching or serving at the Washington National Cathedral, Kautter also sits on the Tax Analysts Board (publisher of Tax Notes). He and his wife, Kathy, an award-winning artist and photographer, have two adult children.
We proudly congratulate EY Canada on its sesquicentennial an amazing 150 years of success dating back to before Canada was born. Our colleagues in Canada have been committed to exceptional client service and helping businesses grow for a long time from the firms founding in Toronto by Thomas Clarkson as a trustee and receivership business in 1864 to, today, with 15 offices across the country and more than 4,000 partners and staff.
When we look at Canadas accomplishments, its clear that our purpose of building a better working world has always run strongly through the organization. The 150th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the firms place in supporting sustainable economic growth, trust and confidence, as well as the development of talent in all its forms in Canada and beyond.
We congratulate our colleagues on this amazing milestone! Way to go, Canada!
Watch for more coverage of EY Canadas 150th anniversary in our September 2014 issue.
Connect March 2014 23
Outside hercomfort zonecomfort zone
Alice Schroeder organizes her life around those experiences that will teach her the most. Its proven to be a great game plan.
You may be surprised to learn that Alice Schroeder, former all-star securities analyst, CPA, best-selling author, FASB regulator and EY alumna is a devoted ballroom dancer. In fact, she has taken dance instruction from none other than Tony Dovolani, an all-time Dancing with the Stars champion. But then, mastering ballroom dances such as the waltz and the tango means making your partner look good. And after an auspicious and varied career, Schroeder has discovered that above all, she values playing a nuanced role, making a positive impact behind the scenes. And she is keen to leap into new experiences, learning all she can along the way.
words: Anne Lampert photos: Jonathan Gayman
High standardsSchroeder fell in love with EY after receiving her MBA in Finance from the Red McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. Having started in Ernst & Young LLPs Houston office, Schroeder describes her time at the firm as truly formative. I learned the language of business, she recalls. Serving on the audit team for multiple and varied clients was an invaluable experience that exposed her to an exceptional breadth of knowledge.
She fondly remembers working with extraordinary people who fostered high standards in themselves and in her. While she did not realize it at the time, the experience led me to expect more of myself and nurtured a desire in me to work with these kinds of people for the rest of my life. This includes such brilliant business people as Bob Zlotnick and Marcie Cohen, who later married and left EY to launch a highly successful energy company.
Another influential and memorable individual was Denny Beresford, who at the time was Ernst & Young LLPs National Director of Accounting Standards. Schroeder reported to Beresford in the firms National office. After Beresford left EY in 1987 to chair the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), he asked Schroeder to join him. It was a great opportunity in terms of helping to shape accounting regulation and meeting people
who were at the most senior levels of business. She embraced the opportunity to leave her comfort zone, drafting some of the most significant accounting rules affecting the insurance industry along the way.
A Wall Street veteranInvestment banking was Schroeders next destination. She spent 15 years on the Street, serving as managing director at several of the worlds largest investment banks, including Morgan Stanley. Her time there encompassed a period of high drama for the industry, culminating in the financial crisis and the meltdown of insurance giant AIG and others. Schroeder describes having a ringside seat for these seemingly earth-shattering events as an education in itself that resulted in her being ranked at the top of her profession in the Institutional Investor All-America Research poll. Risk and Insurance magazine called her one of the most respected and unafraid thinkers on Wall Street. As an analyst, Schroeder followed Berkshire Hathaway and in the process became well-acquainted with CEO Warren Buffett, one of the worlds most remarkable people. In 2009, she published his biography, which went on to become a number one New York Times best-seller, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.
Fostering understandingThroughout her varied career, Schroeder has never stopped learning or embracing
the new. But her wide-ranging roles in accounting, regulation and investment banking have revealed her strong suit. It took me a long time to realize that my greatest strength is to help people understand the hidden aspects of their own businesses. Today, as a member of the boards of directors at Prudential and Cetera Financial Group, she is proud of her role as a trusted advisor to management and maintains her involvement in the financial services industry.
Schroeder is passionate in her concern about the underutilization of women on the boards of US companies. She cites low turnover largely due to the absence of term limits as one major barrier. Another, she says, is a mindset among decision-makers who do not look beyond CEOs as prospective candidates. She encourages executives to focus instead on individuals with the stature, presence and perspective to benefit the company. There are thousands of women who are qualified to be on boards, she says.
For alumni who are considering board membership, Schroeder has useful advice: she urges a thoughtful approach. Choose your boards carefully. Dont take the first opportunity that presents itself. Ask yourself whether the board is valued by management as a source of independent insight and advice. And ask yourself whether you have the knowledge and background to make a distinctive contribution.
Schroeder reports that its not uncommon for directors to receive a thousand pages of documents to review less than a week before the next board meeting. Unlike an auditor, an analyst or a journalist, the board member is privy to a lot of information accessible to no one else. Having served in and learned from each of those roles, Schroeder believes she has developed an ability to sift through the information millions of data points to identify whats most important. Its gratifying when management comes to me, eager to get my help and advice. Its a role she seems destined to play.
EY alumna Alice Schroeder talks about her experiences as Warren Buffetts biographer during a recent executive alumni event in Chicago.
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Council members Matt Sicinski and
Paul Ishimaru keep alumni connected
Our network of 22 Alumni Councils, comprising more
than 400 of your fellow EY alumni, help us stay
connected. In recognition of their contribution, we want to introduce you to some of our
Council members who are truly helping us carry on the spirit of
words: Carey Smith-Marchi
With conflict brewing in Iraq and Afghanistan, Matt Sicinski knew when he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2008 that it was not just a matter of whether he would be deployed, but when. That day came in December 2012, when he boarded a plane that eventually landed him in Afghanistan for an intense nine-month deployment. Now safely home in Texas, the Houston Alumni Council member draws interesting parallels between his service to his country and his service as a former Ernst & Young LLP audit manager.
Understandably, Lieutenant Sicinski can only share a limited amount about his duties in Afghanistan. What he can say is that he served as an officer supporting the U.S. Special Operations Command, and that it was dangerous work. Sicinskis unit received rocket fire frequently. With the early warning system, youd hear a siren go off, and a voice came over the speaker saying, Incoming! Incoming! Incoming! he recalls. Sicinski remembers tensing up the first few times. But then, he adds,
Connect July 2013 27
On the front lines of service
photo: Jonathan Gayman
In focus noteworthy Alumni Council members
you realize everyone else just keeps on working, and believe it or not, you kind of get used to it. The unit Sicinski was with lost 16 service members during his time there. Standing on a runway to salute flag-draped coffins is something I hope to never do again.
Something bigger than himselfSicinski commissioned as a Navy Ensign at age 31 with a wife, a three-month-old baby, and a promising accounting career. When asked why he would voluntarily put his life on the line, Sicinski notes that its about being a part of something bigger than himself. My grandfather flew bombers in World War II and my father served in the military as well, he says. I always admired people who served and always wanted to get involved.
Despite the risks, Sicinski describes his deployment as an exceptional experience. He is particularly proud of his reserve unit, which he notes is composed largely of professionals, including lawyers, MBAs, PhDs and even a hedge fund manager. When he reflects on his experiences working with the Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other special operations guys that his unit supported, he adds, They do incredible things that most people could not even fathom, and they do it with such cool and composure and without hesitation.
An EY linkThere is an EY connection to Sicinskis military service. About two years before he commissioned, Sicinski ran across an article in the Daily Connection (EYs electronic daily newsletter at the time) about Los Angeles Tax Partner Lance Gordon and his activities as a reservist. Sicinski stored the article away. When he got serious about applying, Sicinski contacted Gordon, who Sicinski says not only guided him through the process, but ended up sitting on his commissioning board (the board that determines an applicants qualifications.)
Houston and Afghanistan are nearly half a world apart. However, Sicinski sees another connection between his foxhole experiences at EY and his recent
deployment. The audit room camaraderie, the focus on getting the job done, translate well to the military, he remarks, and its those experiences of trust built between colleagues that last a lifetime.
When hes not serving his country, Sicinskis day job is that of Director of Financial Analysis for Southwestern Energy in Houston. Southwestern has been great, he remarks, recalling how the company supported him before, during and after his deployment.
Ready, aim, networkSicinskis service on the Houston Alumni Council is no accident: teaming and staying connected are what he does. And he encourages his fellow EY alumni to do the same. As EY alumni, we comprise a vast
network of business contacts to bounce ideas off of, he notes. He also says alumni can benefit from the learning programs and thought leadership offered by the firm.Since getting over the initial shock of returning from Afghanistan last October, Sicinski reflects on how easy it is to get lost in the rush of civilian life. The world continues, but a part of you is still over there, he reflects. You have people you care about you want to get them home and accomplish the mission. For Sicinski, his time deployed offers a new perspective on living a simpler life: I dont sweat the small things anymore.
Houston Alumni Council member and U.S. Navy reservist LT. Matt Sicinski during his nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.
Soon after joining Ernst & Young LLPin 1981, Los Angeles Alumni Council member Paul Ishimaru discovered something about himself that fundamentally shifted the course of his career. He was asked to lead a firm training program for first-year auditors. This experience awakened a passion for learning, technology and instruction that ultimately led him to become Chief Technology Director for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) the second-largest school district in the US, with more 650,000 students and 90,000 employees (including some 40,000 teachers) occupying 1,000 locations spread across 700 square miles.
Over the next 10 years, Ishimaru would continue serving as a member of the EY audit team while becoming increasingly involved not just in the delivery of firm training, but in developing the supporting technology. Looking back, Ishimaru appreciates how progressive the firm was in its approach to learning and to learning technology. We were really on the cutting edge, and it was a great training ground for my future role at LAUSD, he says. By 1994, Ishimaru had fully migrated to the EY information technology team. In 2000, he joined Intellinex (now Xerox Learning Services), an EY spin-off.
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In focus noteworthy Alumni Council members
Moving up the learning curveWhen he arrived at LAUSD in 2003, Ishimaru was a bit surprised to find that things we were doing for a decade at EY were absent from the district. One of his first challenges, says Ishimaru, was to get the district beyond its traditional, live-learning methods. He immediately got to work implementing a learning management system and looking for ways to bring the people, process and technology approach he learned at EY to the school district. Today, thanks to the districts online training infrastructure, a mandatory teacher recertification program, which previously took two years to complete using conventional methods, is now doable for all 90,000 district employees in under a month and at a fraction of the cost.
Ishimaru brings more than learning and technology experience to LAUSD. Having served clients up until the time he left EY as a senior manager, Ishimaru believes his auditing skills, including an understanding of metrics, process improvement and all
One of the longest-serving members of one of our longest-standing Alumni Councils, Paul Ishimaruserves as Chief Technology Director for the Los Angeles Unified School District the second-largest school district in the US.
the things the firm reinforced in us to help our clients, are fundamental to the success of the initiatives hes installed in the district. Ishimaru points out that most school district employees, including its managers and leaders, come from a purely teaching background. Im different, he says. Im always looking for ways we can improve things through more training, better utilization of technology and improved processes.
The evolution of a CouncilIshimaru holds the distinction of being one of the longest-serving members of one of EYs longest-standing Alumni Councils. During his first year at EY, he was asked to help coordinate the tennis activities for the annual Los Angeles office alumni outing, an event sponsored by the Los Angeles Alumni Council. Hes been involved ever since, both as an EY employee and as alum.
Ishimaru is proud of the Councils evolution. When he first got involved, Ishimaru says, the Council was primarily
concerned with sponsoring its annual alumni social event. In the mid-90s, the focus shifted to providing learning and CPE credits. Now, he says, were much more interested in activities that promote networking and alumni helping alumni through sharing advice and learning from each others experiences and successes.
Ishimaru notes that events still play an important part in the Councils engagement strategy. However, they are intended more as a way of attracting and re-engaging alumni who may be inactive or not otherwise engaged. For example, last year the Council held a private alumni event in conjunction with the space shuttle Endeavor exhibit at the California Science Center. Ishimaru reports seeing alumni he hadnt seen in 25 years. When he asked one of them why he decided to attend, the alumnus replied, How often do you get to attend a private showing of the space shuttle Endeavor? The LA Alumni Council has also held events at the Disney Center, the Gene Autry Museum and the Ronald Reagan Library, an event attended by 1,000 people.
A quality connectionWhen asked about his long-standing connection with EY, Ishimaru says it comes down to quality. The quality of the people at EY the respect, the professionalism is what initially drew me to EY and its why I stay involved, he says. For Ishimaru, serving on the Council not only keeps him personally connected but equally important, it allows him to encourage other alumni to stay connected as well. EY has always been part of my professional life, he says, and I cant foresee a time that it wont continue to be.
EY Israel practice at a glance: Four offices: Tel-Aviv, Haifa,
Jerusalem and Beer Sheva
Approximately 1,800 people
Largest accounting firm in Israel for assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services
As EY becomes an increasingly global organization, so does our alumni network. In these pages, we highlight some of the goings-on of our alumni around the world.
While steeped in ancient history, Israel has a thriving economy based largely on technological innovation. With some eight million residents and a 2013 GDP of US$275b, Israel is frequently referred to as the Silicon Wadi (Valley) of the Middle East, a leader in telecommunications and computer hardware and software, biotech and medical electronics, agrotechnology and solar energy.
With roots dating back to 1937, the EY practice in Israel officially became a member of EY Global in 1994. Today, the practice is by far the countrys dominant accounting practice. With some 1,800 people, EY is nearly double the size of its nearest competitor. The Israel practice operates four offices throughout the country, as well as desks in New York City and other major cities. These desks provide services to Israeli corporations operating in the US, with a focus on international tax, global and US accounting, as well
as a close connection with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Our alumni relations efforts in Israel are centered on helping the several thousand resident alumni stay connected by providing networking opportunities through professional and social events. We use social networking groups on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to keep alumni updated on the latest professional news, firm and alumni happenings, and relevant materials in the finance and accounting world.
As part of EYs lifelong relationship concept, the Israel alumni relations effort
is dedicated to helping our alumni manage their careers after they leave the firm. We provide personal consulting regarding career paths, CV assistance and job interview preparation. We also operate an internal, volunteer-based outplacement agency, offering our alumni a link to potential career opportunities.
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Q What are some recent success stories from the Israel practice?Several years ago, one of the largest natural gas fields in the world was discovered in the Mediterranean in Israeli-controlled waters. The reserve can far exceed the needs of the country for the next 30 years. Therefore, the oil and gas sector is extremely important in Israel. We acquired a boutique accounting firm that specializes in oil and gas about two years ago. Combined with our existing oil and gas practice, EY now audits most of the companies and partnerships in that sector in Israel. Over the next few years, we expect significant growth in this sector.
We are also leveraging our technology industry strength in Russia, where that sector is growing rapidly. EY has led this sector in Israel for the last 20 years, with a 60% market share. In terms of the technology sector, there are a surprising number of similarities between our two countries. Over the past 18 months, we have developed a joint venture with our EY Russia colleagues that will allow them to apply the disciplines and methods in their country that helped us achieve the dominant high-tech position in Israel.
Q What are some of the main changes or challenges youve seen inthe past two to three years, and what impact are they having?In some ways the EY Israel practice is a victim of its own success. We are the dominant firm and bigger in size, by almost 80%, than any of the other Big Four in Israel. That makes it challenging to increase incremental market share. But with challenge come opportunity and innovation. The change has caused us to look for new sources of revenues, such as with our oil and gas and Russian technology ventures that I spoke about earlier.
Alumni around the world
MeetRonen BarelChairman, Israel
Q Whats ahead for the Israel practice; what are you most focused on?Our most immediate challenge is to improve our growth rate. Due to our exceptionally strong position serving assurance (audit) clients, the growth potential lies in our increasing the client base in all service lines. Finding those growth engines and adding them to our already strong practice is our biggest challenge and opportunity.
Q How is EY Israel helping to build a better working world?Building a better working world cannot better express what we have been doing in Israel for the past few decades. As the leader in our market, we understand that we have not only a responsibility to give back to the community, but that we help set the pace for others to follow. Our people are highly involved in a wide variety of education, entrepreneurship and environmental programs that benefit our local communities and our country. We also encourage our alumni to take the same approach in the organizations they work for, thereby spreading the building a better working world message.
Q Why is it important to you to stay connected with our alumni, and what are some of the things you are doing?
We have so much in common with our alumni. It starts from a set of shared values and then branches out to having common friends, needs and interests. Because of this commonality, I feel its extremely important that we stay connected to as many alumni as possible. I personally try to attend every alumni event we hold and to keep close to our alumni so I can possibly help them with any needs they might have. Our alumni are also our best ambassadors in the market, and thats a powerful force for helping us win in the market.
Itzhak Forer: Paving the way
The success of EY in Israel can largely be attributed to Itzhak Forer, a one-time farmer whose vision and boldness have helped cultivate the dominant accounting firm in the country.
Forers success did not come easily, however. After completing his mandatory military service, Forer worked two jobs to support his financially struggling family. Before sunrise hed be in the fields, tending to his vineyard and apricot orchard. By 9:00 a.m., hed report to his job
selling building materials. Then, at 5:00 p.m., hed trudge off for four hours of night school, studying economics. It was a crazy, exhausting time, he recalls.
To make ends meet, Forer continued farming even after graduating from Tel-Aviv University in 1959 and landing an internship with Kost Lev-Ari (predecessor firm to Kost Forer Gabbay and Kasirer, the EY member firm in Israel). At the time, Kost Lev-Ari had about 15 people and two partners, both nearing retirement. After just one year, Forer made a gutsy move: he asked to become a partner. I had advanced quite quickly and felt I could handle the responsibility, he states matter-of-factly. To his surprise, the partners agreed. But he had to sell his vineyard and take some loans to meet the partner buy-in fee, a huge amount for Forer at the time.
With his vineyards sold and as 30% owner of his firm, in 1962 Forer turned his attention to growing the practice. It was slow going for many years until a turning point in 1979. One of the firms smaller clients, a research and development company, decided to execute an initial public offering in the US. Despite having little expertise with IPOs, Forer agreed to assist the client, calling it a huge risk. Fortunately the IPO was a success. But the experience made Forer realize that, if he intended to do more IPOs, he needed the oversight of a large US accounting firm; otherwise, he was headed for failure. After consulting some of his clients, Forer reached out to EY, who he said showed a great deal of interest in partnering with us.
Since then, the Israel practice has carved out a niche as the IPO go-to firm in Israels burgeoning high-tech-driven economy. In 1994, the practice officially became affiliated with EY with Forer as managing partner. By the time he retired in 2007, the Israel EY practice had grown to 1,500 people, and today serves about 60% of the Israeli companies traded in the US and about 30% of the companies traded in Israel. In 1995, Forers son, Gil, joined the firm and today serves as global leader of EYs Global Cleantech Center.
Under Forers leadership the Israel practice has also become, by far, the dominant merger and acquisition leader in the country. Forer says the many transactions facilitated by EY have transformed Israel from being foreign currency-indebted to having a foreign currency surplus. He takes tremendous pride in the part EY has played in making Israel, in his words, a start-up nation.
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Some 200 EY alumni serve on the boards of directors of Fortune 1000 companies, and earlier this year, many of them attended our third EY Board and Governance Forum. Held in New York City, the two-day event focused on engaging our board-serving alumni in a dialogue about the issues they face as board members and better equipping them to serve their boards. For the first time, our alumni board members were invited to bring a fellow board member guest.
Board and Governance Forum convenes
Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman and CEO (left), talks leadership and football with Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and owner of the New England Patriots.
During the Forum, Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and owner of the New England Patriots, was interviewed by Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman and CEO. Attendees also heard a spirited but good-natured debate over a wide range of current economic and political issues between former US Senator Alan Simpson, who in 2010 served as co-chair of President Obamas National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and Robert Reich, who served in the Clinton Administration as Secretary of Labor and is currently Chancellors Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.
Other speakers included Robert Kindler, Global Head of Mergers and Acquisitions and Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley; Tom Neff, current Chairman and former President and Managing Partner of Spencer Stuart US; and George Paulin, Chairman and CEO of Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc. Tom Donaldson, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School of Business and noted author and speaker, moderated the event.
Left to right: Debbie Kissire, EY East Central Managing Partner; Mark Manoff, EY Americas Vice Chair; Kitty Dindo, board member at J.M. Smucker Company and ALLETE, Inc.; and Mike Henning, former EY Deputy Director and board member at Omnicom Group, Inc.; Landstar System, Inc.; and Black Diamond, Inc.
Above, left to right: Frank Borges, board member at Assured Guaranty, Ltd.; former US Senator Alan Simpson; EY Americas Managing Partner Steve Howe; and former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.
Right, left to right: Emil Rags Ragones, board member at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston; Nancy Altobello, EY Americas Vice Chair Talent; and Jim DiStasio, board member at EMC Corporation and Northeast Utilities Corporation.
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Jason Armstrong has joined Comcast Corp. as Senior Vice President, Investor Relations. He previously served as Managing Director, Deputy Business Unit Leader of Goldman Sachs Technology, Media and Telecommunications Research Group.
Steven Armstrong has been elected to the board of directors of IMRIS Inc., a designer of medical instruments and supplies. He also serves on the board
of Delphax Technologies. Armstrong is Executive Vice President and CFO of Patterson Compan