Ernst & Young Coorporate Responsibility Fellows Program Training – NYC – Sep 3-4, 2008 – Day 2

Posted on September 6, 2008

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The theme of the second day of the EY CR Fellows training was to give us a sense of purpose and sensitivity to the cultural differences we were likely to face. The day started with a presentation by EY’s Maria and Laura of Endeavor concerning many of the challenges that Entrepreneurs face in emerging markets. I was shocked that these countries do not encourage entrepreneurship, in fact in many cases a child will be considered a failure of they choose to start a business. In the US we take for granted the important innovative forces that entrepreneurs bring to our economy. This is a hole that is acutely felt in many emerging markets. These entrepreneurs can use whatever help they can get, though it was clear that they are special people who succeed despite the barriers they are up against.


After a short break we moved into a presentation from the leadership of EY CR. It really was eye opening to see all that is being done and how decisions are being made to focus efforts. As an employee working far out in the field I never see this and mostly just assume that I work for a corporation that does not do much to improve the larger world. I was wrong, but it was also clear that there is a lot that can be done to help mobilize the local offices. Perhaps I can take a leadership role in this when I return from Uruguay. One comment from Beth Brooke, the EY Global Vice Chair of Public Policy, Sustainability, and Stakeholder Engagement really struck a chord. She said, “Are you going to just succeed, or are you going to make a difference too?”

The day continued with a cultural training put on by Aperian Group. They tried to stress to us that we needed to modify our behaviors and the way we interacted with people in other countries. It seems obvious, until you are in that situation. I know in the short time I spent in Germany I managed to offend people unintentionally by not being aware of custom. While in the US tipping is always ok, in Germany it can be an insult. Uruguay is very different from the US as compared with Germany, so I paid close attention and I was happy for the insights.

We had the luck of closing out the day with one of the 2007 Fellows who took the time to talk about his experiences and answer our questions. Xavier is a good guy and he clearly is a good role model to follow.

After a hellish ride to the airport and a short plane ride I finally arrived home. I have been on the road almost non-stop for the last six weeks. It is good to be back in the land of calm roads, vegetables, and Ohio State Football.

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