For National Careers Week 2023, we interviewed three members of the EY Foundation team who have all experienced career changes. Read on to learn more about their journeys, including how they transitioned into a new sector and the transferrable skills they gained and applied to their current roles.
My very first work experience aged 15 was at the local magistrate’s court arranged by my school – I loved this, and it inspired me to pursue a potential career in law, so 16-year-old me would have hoped to be a lawyer someday. I’m now CFO and Interim CEO of the EY Foundation and that was definitely not something I had ever imagined!
Yes! I used to work in Professional Services and made a transition across to the charity sector 9 years ago. I have had many different roles in this sector, but my accountancy training and qualifications have certainly been helpful for carving a path to being CFO. I believe that a strong work ethic, great communication skills, being kind and always trying to be the best you possibly can be gets you a long way regardless of what career journey you have.
My Chartered Accountancy qualification certainly paved the way to this role, however my time at EY in tax also gave me some great experience with managing relationships and senior stakeholders, and some often complex issues and transactions that required a collaborative and thoughtful team approach. EY also provided me with a platform to transition into the charity sector, which I don’t think I would have done if I wasn’t part of such a large organisation with multiple opportunities. People have always been at the very heart of anything I have done, whether that was customer service when I used to work in the airline industry, or more recently working to transform the futures of young people.
Taking the big step away from Professional Services was the scariest thing I have done in my career, I recall there being a few that thought I was going backwards and leaving a very promising career. Although I enjoyed my role, my clients and my team in tax, I feel very fortunate to have moved from the corporate world into a sector that allows me to connect to a purpose that is close to my heart, and enables me to apply my skills and experiences in a context that drives societal impact and meaningful change.
Sometimes just taking a step back when there are a lot of changes and challenges and realising how much you have grown can be a good reminder of your capabilities.
I wanted to be a chef! I really loved the idea of being in a restaurant atmosphere, finding out about new cuisines and methods of being creative in the kitchen.
My degree was in Media Arts and I wanted to eventually combine this with my love of food. I worked in the industry for a while, and then moved to the finance sector and eventually Front of House. My administrative, office management and people skills all helped me with my former and current role.
After the birth of my first child, I had a reset in what I wanted to do career-wise and had an interest in the charity sector. Then EY established the EY Foundation! I volunteered for a few years, helping with the logistical set up of programmes, and also completed a secondment. This gave me a good overview of the sector and helped me secure a permanent role at the Foundation.
There have been many hurdles along the way, but sometimes just taking a step back when there are a lot of changes and challenges and realising how much you have grown can be a good reminder of your capabilities.
When I was 16, I wanted to be a physiotherapist as I was interested in a career that would help people and this really appealed to me. I never realised how much I would enjoy working in education until I started volunteering with youth groups!
I moved from a career in teaching to a career in the charity sector. There are so many transferable skills that I have been able to apply: communication, presentation, teamwork, listening and leadership to name just a few!
I wanted to move into a role which still supported young people through education, and the charity sector really appealed to me. My volunteering experience definitely helped me to gain the necessary experiences and skills for making the transition between careers.
The greatest challenge I have faced in my career so far is learning to manage my time so that I have a healthy work-life balance. At the start of my career, I would not seek support when needed but learned that this was not helpful or productive. With support from colleagues, I’ve learnt effective time management techniques that ensure my work-life balance is much better!