Article on my upcoming EY CR Fellows work

Posted on September 13, 2008

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This article is from the EY North Central region weekly newsmagazine.


Meet North Central’s first Corporate Responsibility Fellow

After an extremely competitive application process, we’re pleased to share with you that Columbus Advisory Manager Michael Kaizar was selected as one of ten 2008 Corporate Responsibility (CR) Fellows. Michael is North Central’s first CR Fellow.

“We’re very proud that Michael will represent North Central and EY in the CR Fellows program. This demonstrates once again the strong commitment our people have to serving our wider communities, ” said Rich Lipovich, AABS Partner and North Central Community Engagement Champion.
This highly visible program sends top performers from the US and Canada to help entrepreneurs in emerging markets, at no charge to the businesses they assist. EY’s goal is to help entrepreneurs grow, create jobs and generate sustainable economic value in their own communities. Michael will travel to Montevideo, Uruguay from October through December where he will assist a pharmaceutical company that is working on a medication to help the body regenerate platelets after chemotherapy. Currently, the only available treatment is expensive and inconvenient transfusions. The company has experienced rapid growth in recent years.

“I need to thank the leadership of the North Central Sub-Area and specifically, Craig Marshall for supporting my application and allowing me to put many of my regular responsibilities on hold for three months. I appreciate so many people stepping up to fill the gap while I’m away,” said Michael. “I am proud to be the first North Central employee selected to be a Fellow and I promise to keep everyone updated.”

TWC: What motivated you to apply for the CR Fellows Program?
Michael: I am at a point in my career where I am ready for a big challenge. The nature of this program will require me to act as both Partner and Staff, identifying the problems and priorities, and solving whatever problems may come my way. The CR Fellows Program is one of a kind and it is the sort of thing that makes EY a special place to work. I am also a big believer in the social goals of this program and I am very excited about working on the front lines in making that corner of the world a better place.

TWC: Why do you think its important to support entrepreneurs in emerging markets?
Michael: The barriers that entrepreneurs face are much higher in emerging markets. Young people just starting out in the work force in these markets are strongly discouraged by their families from starting their own businesses, as traditionally the best jobs are with the government. New business ventures are risky and uncommon. There is also a lack of the expert knowledge, resources and financing to help them get started. The risks and rewards of starting a business that we take for granted here in the US are often virtually unknown in these economies. The problem with this is that entrepreneurs and small business usually create most of the new jobs in dynamic economies. They also innovate and create new products and ideas at a much faster pace as compared with state-run businesses. From a high-level perspective, dynamic entrepreneurs have the potential to transform their national economy, bringing better jobs, pay and career options to the citizens.
TWC: What are you most excited about? What do you think you’ll miss the most?
Michael: The entrepreneur is extremely excited about this program and I am being welcomed with open arms. I am hoping to have a big impact on his company and to form strong relationships while I am there. I am also looking forward to serving as an ambassador for EY, building relationships with other entrepreneurs, the local EY office and Endeavor, the non-profit organization that manages this program. I anticipate being asked to put together and present a number of training sessions for entrepreneurs while I am there. This will be a challenge but I am very excited about the development opportunities it will present me.
I will miss my wife most of all. Without her support, this would not be possible. I work with a great group of people and I will certainly miss them. It is reassuring that they will be there when I return. Also, fall is my favorite time of the year and I will miss seeing the leaves change.
TWC: What are you doing to get ready for your Fellow assignment?
Michael: There is so much to do! I am working hard to finish a number of outstanding projects and to help get everything set up with my client so that everything goes as smoothly as possible while I’m gone. I have a lot that I need to do to get ready for the program, including the mundane stuff like getting immunizations, visiting my dentist, learning some Spanish and making travel reservations. I have an initial conference call next week set up with the entrepreneur that I will be working with to start scoping out my project. I will also be reaching out to my EY network to put them on notice that I will likely need some input from them while I am away to help develop solutions to problems that my entrepreneur faces. I am also putting time into setting up my home life so that my wife isn’t left with too much of a burden while I am gone.
TWC: Can you tell us a little more about what you’ll be doing as a CR Fellow and how you will be applying your professional skills?
Michael : I will be working with a pharmaceutical company located in Montevideo, Uruguay. The entrepreneur has grown the company from seven employees to 100, but their business processes are disorganized and there is a lack of internal reporting and controls. This was acceptable when they were very small, but they are poised for massive growth over the upcoming year and their internal situation is starting to really hold back progress. I will be working hand-in-hand with the CEO to analyze the current state of their operations and suggest ways to reorganize. I will likely be the first professional consultant to have ever visited this company.
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