When volunteering both strengthens communities and engages employees


The following article is based on a general session presentation from the 2018 International Corporate Citizenship Conference. Register now to join us for this year’s International Corporate Citizenship Conference in Dallas, TX on April 28-30, 2019.

Ernst & Young (EY), one of the world’s leading professional services organizations, is passionate about its purpose: “To build a better working world.” The company’s commitment to this purpose is incredibly comprehensive and is integrated into the work that EY teams carry out across the globe.

“At EY, we are serious about building a better working world. And one way we do that is by identifying a corporate responsibility strategy that sits at the sweet spot where our business strategy, our organizational competencies, and societal need intersect,” said Deborah K. Holmes, EY’s Americas director, corporate responsibility. “For us, that sweet spot is entrepreneurship, education, and equity. We support and maximize the positive social impact of entrepreneurs; focus on education to make sure that every generation has the skills it needs to make a positive contribution to the workforce; and build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce.”

The shared value that EY creates through its corporate citizenship initiatives reverberates not only throughout the company and its clients, but also throughout communities and schools around the globe, as well as where entrepreneurs strive to make meaningful economic and societal improvements. Identifying how best to support these communities is a key element of achieving success.

With more than 240,000 employees worldwide operating in assurance, advisory, tax, and transaction advisory services capacities, EY has the breadth of experience to inform the “3Es” of their corporate citizenship focus: entrepreneurs, education, and equity in the workforce. During the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s 2018 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, Holmes and six of her client-serving EY colleagues talked about how their involvement with EY corporate citizenship initiatives helps strengthen their communities while also strengthening their careers and engagement with the firm. Here, we take a deeper dive into one of those programs:

Preparing Students for Success with College MAP

EY’s College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persis­tence) program matches groups of high school juniors and seniors with teams of EY employee volunteers who, through mentorship, work to remove the ob­stacles that often appear during the college application process—especially for underserved students. Using a team-mentoring model, EY participants leverage their business and problem-solving skills to help students build competencies that will position them for college and career success.

“College MAP is our signature volunteer program in education,” said Holmes. “It is designed to demystify the college application and financial aid process for under­served high school students. After they graduate from high school, our volunteers continue to mentor them through the college journey so that they actually achieve the dream of graduating from college.”

Since 2009, EY’s College MAP team has helped nearly 1,600 students envision themselves as college-bound learners who are committed to complete their educations and succeed in their careers.

“Research has shown that for young people, having mentors—caring, capable, and committed adults who are invested in their lives—is one of the most important contributors to positive youth development,” said Nancy Altobello, EY’s global vice chair of talent. “Simply put—mentors matter.”

The powers of mentorship aren’t one-sided, however. “EY employees who volunteer in their communities through EY are better performers, stay with EY for longer, and are more engaged,” Holmes added, “At EY, that means they are less likely to go to another job if solicited, they are more likely to recommend EY to others as a great place to work, and they have better relations with their managers and supervisors.”

Since its inception, College MAP has provided 1,200 EY professionals a chance to impact the futures of students in their communities while also deepening their own skill set and commitment to EY.

“Looking back, now I can really see that participating in College MAP has made a big impact on my profes­sional life at the firm,” said College MAP volunteer Pamela K. Mizuno, a legal operations manager at EY. “My soft skills, public speaking, and leadership skills have grown—but, most importantly—volunteering has kept me here with EY. It’s kept me happy and engaged. It’s also really expanded my personal network.”

Mizuno’s supervisor, Shelby Angulo, an associate general counsel at EY, echoed this growth: “I have watched Pam establish these connections across geographies and service lines, as well as internally at EY—she has built this network of support and along the way has gained confidence in her ability to forge a really unique path at the firm. As a result of her growing skill set, not one but two jobs have been specifically created to harness Pam’s talent.”

As Mizuno and Angulo highlight, the reflexive benefits of volunteering are more than just a warm-glow feeling, making employees not only more invested at work, but also better at their jobs.

This post was excerpted from Issue 25 of the Corporate Citizen. Click here to read the rest of the article, which includes more of EY’s strategic volunteering initiatives.


Experience practical general session conversations like this one at the 2019 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, April 28-30 in Dallas TX. Register today.