Bea Alpha Psi (Assistant Vice President Treasury) VITA Volunteer
Brett Lacey thought he was getting the most from an exciting internship opportunity at PwC in Minneapolis.
He was developing his technical skills as an assurance intern; working closely on assignments with a partner, principals, and staff; and building a professional relationship with a potential employer. He was developing his knowledge of audit by working in the private company services group, serving six different clients from January to April. Brett was asked to return to the company after participating in PwC’s Summer Leadership Program in 2011.
Then he was given the chance of a lifetime and he seized the moment.
Select PwC interns were invited to apply for the opportunity to job shadow members of the PwC U.S. Leadership Team (USLT), including the chairman and senior partner of the U.S. firm. He eagerly applied.
After a selection team evaluated his application and college transcript, Brett soon learned he was one of just eight interns chosen nationally for this rare opportunity.
The application required him to rank three opportunities and explain why he was the best candidate. The choices were: a community service project in Belize, traveling abroad for a one-week engagement shadow in one of several countries, or job shadowing members of PwC’s USLT.
“My first choice was job shadowing in the U.S. because I wanted an experience that would truly drive my professional development, and I thought there’s no better way than to observe and learn how one of the firm’s most successful people manages responsibilities,” Brett explains.
He got his wish.
He traveled to New York City where he met Terri McClements, U.S. human capital leader for PwC. This was Brett’s first opportunity to visit lower Manhattan.
“It was very interesting to see how she juggled what she had on a very full plate,” says Brett. “She made it look easy, but I certainly know that it’s not.”
A few items on McClements’ schedule for that day included a board meeting, strategy sessions, and a PwC Global Town Hall meeting where Dennis Nally, global chairman, presented the future vision for the company.
When Brett accompanied McClements to the weekly teleconference strategy meeting, he found himself to be a participant rather than an observer. The meeting consisted of more than a dozen key company leaders in the meeting room and an estimated 20 on the phone. Brett recalls what happened next.
“I was observing the discussion and trying to keep up with the topics, when Ms. McClements turned to me and asked me to voice my thoughts on a matter. The topic was related to technology use pertaining to my generation, so I did my best to contribute to the discussion.” Brett admits this was unexpected, but it was the only time he felt nervous that day because everyone was very relatable and kind.
Weeks later, Brett is still surprised by McClements’ interest in his views. The two continue to network and communicate via email, and McClements has referenced Brett’s comments from conversations they shared during the job shadow. He says job shadowing helped him to understand that the PwC leadership takes real interest in its employees and goes to great lengths to improve the professional and personal lives of the people who work there.
When Brett reflects on the job shadow experience he values this rare chance to view a leader’s day on the job and he hope to apply what he’s learned to his future PwC career and beyond. He says, “I have a passion for entrepreneurship and know that the leadership shadow was a valuable learning experience for when I start my own company someday.”
Brett will join the Denver PwC office in late summer after his spring 2014 graduation.