To kick off National Volunteer Week, the 2013 Pro Bono Summit will be taking place Monday, April 22, 2013. In partnership with A Billion+Change, a national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars in corporate pro bono community service, the summit will feature companies who will share their best practices, innovations and new trends in skills-based volunteering.
Ernst & Young is one of the companies participating in the Summit. Brian Adams, a Manager in the firm’s Financial Accounting Advisory Services, took part in our Pro Bono Summit Q&A series and talked about what he’s most looking forward to at the event and his company’s community service impact.
WasingtonExec: How does your company’s pro bono work not only impact the community, but also benefit your business?
Brian Adams: Ernst & Young LLP believes building a better world is one of the best ways to build a better business. As a company that focuses on independence, transparency and reliability, our community leadership strengthens our reputation in the marketplace. Ernst & Young employees are passionate about “giving back,” which is one of the ways we live our values and make a difference in the communities where we live and work.
WasingtonExec: What is your company’s history in community service activities?
Brian Adams: Ernst & Young has a long history in community service activities, including our “EY Connect Day” day of service. One day each year, employees across the U.S. volunteer in their local areas, doing things like cleaning up parks and beaches, planting a school garden or supporting Junior Achievement. We have an even greater impact when we lend our professional skills to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, through our Americas EY-Earthwatch Ambassador program which I participated in, employees travel to Costa Rica or Brazil and conduct field research related to climate change and engage in skills-based projects for local entrepreneurs.
“As a company that focuses on independence, transparency and reliability, our community leadership strengthens our reputation in the marketplace”
WashingtonExec: What exactly is your company’s volunteer area of importance?
Brian Adams: Ernst & Young’s corporate responsibility strategy is focused on “The 3 Es” – Education, Entrepreneurship and the Environment. The majority of our skills-based volunteerism is designed to:
1.) Make education more accessible for under-served youth
2.) Celebrate and assist aspiring entrepreneurs
3.) Reduce our environmental impact — both internally and externally
WashingtonExec: Why did your company choose to take the A Billion+Change pledge?
Brian Adams: Ernst & Young first made the Billion + Change pledge in 2010 as a way to build awareness and increase involvement in skills-based volunteering. We recognize that using our skills in the community is a way to make the most of the time we contribute.
WashingtonExec: What are you most looking forward to at the event?
Brian Adams: I’ve seen first-hand the effectiveness of skills-based volunteering through my experience as an Ernst & Young Earthwatch Ambassador. I’m excited to share my experience with in others in hopes they may learn from our insights and encourage them to consider implementing programs like this in their companies. Both the firm and I have experienced so many benefits from our program, it is a real win, win, win for me, the firm and the NGOs we support.
This unique experience is still one of my best with the firm. I value the opportunity I had to give back by supporting environmental and entrepreneurial endeavors, while developing a global mindset and learning how to develop effective communication skills with people of other cultures and backgrounds.