Ernst & Young Coorporate Responsibility Fellows Program Training – NYC – Sep 3-4, 2008 – Day 1

Posted on September 5, 2008


On Wednesday and Thursday, Sep 3-4, I attended two days of intensive training for the EY Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program. I will give more detail on this program in a subsequent post, but here are a few basic details. The EY CR Fellows Program is a selective program for ten of the top performers (the Fellows) within the firm. Each Fellow is paired with a high-impact entrepreneur in South America for three months to assist them in improving or developing a particular part of their business. The Fellows program is just one small piece of a long-term relationship that these entrepreneurs have with Endeavor, the non-profit organization who manages this program.

The training was held at the very impressive E&Y building in Times Square, central New York City. The energy and excitement of the city and the Square serves as an appropriate “lobby” for the intensity I felt upon entering the building. It was my first time there, though of course it looms large over the entire organization. It is where the CEO and the Global Executive Board are headquartered. Many of the key firm internal functions stem from that location. It is an interesting place and similar to New York itself, you never know who you might bump into.

The CR Fellows Program is championed and managed by the small and efficient EY Corporate Responsibility department. Maria and Lisa did a really nice job of keeping the training efficient and hard hitting, under the leadership of Deborah and Beth. This program is just one component of a wide-ranging effort to practice corporate leadership with a specific focus on education, entrepreneurship, and the environment. Considering that EY has over 110,000 employees, even small changes in the way the company operates can have a massive impact. More important, imagine the potential of harnessing some of the energy and talent from that many employees. It inspires hope.

The training was a whirlwind of various topics to help us get prepared for what will be expected of us and to keep us happy, healthy, and safe. The first day started with an introduction to the key participants and a team building activity set up around the model of speed dating. We then moved on to an overview of the Fellows Program and some information on experiences of prior year Fellows. The slides and video were inspiring and you could sense the excitement starting to build among the group. Finally, we were really starting to understand what we had gotten ourselves into.

Following a short break, we attended a short overview of the non-profit running the program, Endeavor. They have a community development model that makes a lot of sense, especially to those of us who look at the world from an economic perspective. I will cover Endeavor in more detail in a subsequent post as it is worth taking more time to describe who they are and what they do.

After lunch we covered a lot of necessary details. We had a briefing with the Office of Firm Security on how to stay safe and avoid being the victim of crime. Global Mobility presented a number of ways they assist employees heading out of country. Maria and Lisa then covered a range of expectations and responsibilities of the Fellows. Some items of note:

– The Fellows are expected to serve as Ambassadors of the firm’s CR efforts. This includes assisting with media efforts, giving interviews, and providing source material. We were strongly encouraged to keep a journal and take lots of pictures.
– As Ambassadors, we are also expected to share our knowledge. This is with our entrepreneur and with other entrepreneurs as opportunity allows. In past years it was not uncommon to be asked to present at conferences.
– Building relationships with the local EY offices and the local Endeavor office was stressed. These relationships will help us in our work and also enrich the experience for us and them.

We closed out the day with training from our Public Relations Department. They covered such topics as how to prepare for an interview, how to steer an interview, how to make sure the reporter doesn’t take comments out of context, and most important how to help the reporter do their job. This was when I realized that I may be able to accomplish one of my key lifetime goals of being in the Wall Street Journal (with picture) through this program. It may seem silly but it would be a big deal for me.

We closed out the day with a group dinner at Havana, a Cuban restaurant near Times Square. It was a feast of food including many types of paellas, plantains, shredded meats, and several types of dessert. A perfect way to close out a very busy day.

Posted in: E&Y, NYC, Travel, Uruguay