Alumni, EY professionals share career advice with accounting students

Lisa Kelly ’06, Pat Cooney ’15 and Jessie Wei ’06, all with Ernst & Young, met with students, reviewed resumes and participated in informational interviews while visiting Elon. Kelly also led a ‘Pathway to Partner’ fireside chat.

Lisa Kelly ’06, EY assurance partner, Pat Cooney ’15, EY assurance senior, and Jessie Wei ’06, EY senior manager, visited their alma mater on Oct. 21 to provide career insights with Martha and Spencer Love School of Business students.

Lisa Kelly and Lauren Ramos at Fireside ChatWhile on campus, the alumni met with Dean Raghu Tadepalli and faculty, visited Associate Professor Danny Lanier’s Intermediate Accounting II class to speak on the future of audit and how technology has changed public accounting, reviewed resumes, and participated in informational interviews. Additionally, Kelly led a “Pathway to Partner” fireside chat with students in the LaRose Digital Theatre.

During the fireside chat, moderated by Beta Alpha Psi president Lauren Ramos ’20, Kelly shared career advice as well as her personal story.

“I enjoyed having the opportunity to moderate the event where Lisa shared her experience about becoming a partner,” Ramos, an accounting and finance double major, said. “She shared advice that she wished that she would have known in college and at the start of her career such as ‘maintain your relationships with peers, clients and mentors’ and ‘get involved in the office when you intern or work.’

“Lisa emphasized the importance of taking advantage of the experiences Elon provides for students because those experiences help prepare you for career opportunities,” she said.

Lisa emphasized the importance of taking advantage of the experiences Elon provides for students because those experiences help prepare you for career opportunities.

Lauren Ramos ’20, accounting and finance double major

Her advice to students included:

  • Make, maintain, and keep relationships with your peers, alumni, friends and clients.  Stay in touch with them, keep a check-in calendar to make it easier. Be present in their lives and there when they need you.
  • Get involved in your office. It will help you build relationships and lead to great experiences.
  • Keep a general working knowledge of what’s going on in the world and business industry. Embrace change and understand the disruption to the industry.
  • Pick your partner/spouse wisely – your success will be directly correlated to how much your partner supports, encourages, and believes in you. Don’t forget to appreciate them and thank them for helping drive your success.
  • Lean in – if you’re a woman, read the book. If you’re a man, read the book to understand what your female peers are going through. Pull each other up, push each other forward, champion diversity and inclusiveness, pay it forward!
  • Keep a balance. It will fluctuate each day, require constant re-prioritization, but over time should generally be balanced.
  • Have mentors and sponsors – know the difference between your mentor and your sponsor and work to build strong relationships with them.
  • Speak up, be vocal. Ask questions. Be confident, but not cocky.
  • Say yes to all opportunities, especially the really tough ones. They’ll be the most rewarding at the end of the day. Find the time to take on the great opportunities.
  • Roll up your sleeves and get dirty. Prove yourself each and every single day.
  • Take your earbuds out and listen to discussions going on around you. You’ll learn so much more and it will help you see the bigger picture of what you’re working on.
  • Observe those around you – recognize the good and the bad of each of your leaders and use that to craft what you want to be as a leader.
  • Take people up on their opportunities to meet for lunch or coffee!

After graduating with degrees in management and accounting, Kelly joined EY, where she held a role as senior manager before she was promoted to partner. While at Elon, she was involved with Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity, Student Government Association, PRSSA and the Love School of Business Student Advisory Board.