Always Smile

The host of EY’s event series “Women in Industries”, Robin Errico, has some strong opinions of what our future should look like.

And while she hopes that the words “Diversity & Inclusion” will become redundant in the future, she knows that firms – including her own – still have a long way to go.

Why is EY launching the event series “Women in Industries”?
We’re going to start a tradition here in Zurich: We are going to have our first ever “Women in Industries” event. At EY we have a purpose of “Building a Better Working World”. We see these types of events as part of our responsibility of carrying out our purpose. The goal is to build a network, a platform for female business leaders and personalities to get together to discuss all of the important topics that we as business people in the community are experiencing and being challenged with.

What makes this event different from other women’s events?
Our idea is not to be a women’s event per se, talking about traditional women’s issues. We want to enable a sharing of experiences, inspiring each other and providing insights on topics that all companies are facing. But you can also see from our panelists and the list of invitees that men are also our guests. We want to keep the focus on this togetherness, in order to succeed.

Robin Errico
On top of being Chief Risk Officer (CRO) and a member of the management committee of EY in Switzerland, American-born Errico also handles the D&I matters for the consultancy.

Diversity and inclusion are being used as buzzwords. What do they actually mean to you?
I’m glad you say that about buzz­words. Sometimes I even hate to use the words. However, to define them individually: For me, diversity is a fact. It’s easier to measure with data or statistics. But if you talk about inclusion, this is more of a feeling, a sense of belonging. My hope and ­belief is that these words will actually become redundant in the future.

Is the pressure for consulting firms higher, as you have to put your money where your mouth is?
Absolutely. We like to look at ourselves as a role model. We’re always trying to stay a step ahead, but we at EY are also a learning organization. We have to really invest in various ­areas, starting with our talents, including D&I, and going as far as digital, so that we can bring the bene­fits of our learnings and what we’re actually implementing to our clients.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic when you look at the younger generation?
I have to say that I’m extremely optimistic. If you look at the younger generation, they’re already growing up in the world that we’re all trying to learn to cope with – or at least I’m trying to learn to cope with. When you think about digitalization and automation, the younger generation are digital natives. On the other hand, we also have to think about educating them as well, because there still are some differences and some different schools of thought, which can hold back progress.

What do you think our business world will look like in ten years’ time?
Ten years is a long time, as you know. It’s hard to think back to what we were doing two years ago. But to more directly answer the question: Companies are clearly learning and changing and working on their operating models to keep up with the pace and speed of automation and digitalization. I think on the other side of that, too, we have to – as individuals, as organizations –, act responsibly about this. We need to responsibly influence this speed and how we’re actually moving forward in these directions.

Any advice for professionals – especially females – at the be­­ginning of their career?
I have advice for all professionals, not just female professionals: Always ask for what you want, always work hard, be authentic, stay authentic and true to yourself. I think that it’s also important that people are not afraid to take risks or make mistakes, because this is how we learn. We should always keep in mind that we are in charge of our careers and everything that we do will influence that part of our career. And also: Always smile.

This Article will be released in our Swiss May-issue 2018 “30 Under 30“.

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