EY’s Karyn Twaronite is on the cutting edge of diversity and inclusion innovation

Karyn Twaronite is responsible for maximizing the diversity of Ernst & Young professionals across the globe by enhancing their inclusive culture. Today she talks about how her DEI career got started (and how it almost didn’t), her experiences of being the only one in the room, and how she thinks about DEI culture from a global perspective.


Host: Jackie Ferguson:  I am thrilled to welcome Karyn Twaronite to the diversity beyond the checkbox podcast. Karyn is a partner and the global vice chair for diversity and inclusiveness at Ernst and young and award-winning professional services network that offers assurance, audit, tax, financial, and business advisory services to organizations worldwide.

Karyn is responsible for maximizing the diversity of Ernst and young professionals across the globe by enhancing their inclusive culture. For DEI practitioners who look to follow game changers in the field, Karyn is a leader that you’ll want to keep up with. And I’m so glad this is being recorded, or I’d be, feverously taking notes through this next hour.

Karyn, thank you so much for being here. I’m so excited for this conversation. 

Guest: Karyn Twaronite, EY:  Thank you, Jackie. I’m so pleased to be with you and what a lovely introduction you’ve certainly made my whole day. 

Host: Jackie Ferguson:  Oh, thanks hahaha

well,  Karyn, let’s jump into it. You know, you’ve spent your career with Ernst and young and that’s so rare to find these days.

Tell me how you got started in your career, what you thought you’d be doing, and then why you stayed with Ernst and young for so long. 

Guest: Karyn Twaronite, EY:  Well, thanks for asking. And I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve actually been at the same company for over 30 years, but I’ve had a tremendous diversity of experiences and opportunities at this firm, which has been amazing.

And even 30 years ago, they were at the cutting edge of trying to do different things and really innovating. And I benefited from some of that innovation. And I’ll fill you in on how that actually happened. As you mentioned, I’ve worked for EY and that’s an accounting firm. So we love data and numbers and all of those things.

So I’m a CPA by background and I did spend a number of years doing that kind of work, which may not sound very sexy to all of you, but it’s certainly sexy to my firm to do that kind of really important work. And certainly not only important work from  purpose and overall perspective at all, really important to the capital market system.

So I really enjoyed that. And my specialty was in tax. And I learned a lot doing that, but I have to tell you that when you asked me what I thought I was going to be doing, I thought I was going to either work in taxation at a company or work in taxation. Long-term as a partner here at EY. Why should I ever have been given the opportunity, but in the middle of my career here, I will tell you that my career almost actually ended at EY before it actually officially got going at a more senior level about mid career for myself.

I was offered an opportunity by the managing partner at the time to experiment with him on a new, innovative role. That was really like a foundation of what we would call human resources at the time. And it was in a division that they had never had. And they really had identified that they wanted me to come and do this with him.

But, you know, as I mentioned, I’m a tax accountant and  I loved it and I was doing very well and I was on the partner track and all that stuff. I said, well, you know, I don’t think I should go off route, you know, and the reason why this is relevant, flash forward to what I do now, to be honest with you, I actually declined it.

Full Episode Transcript

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Diversity Beyond the Checkbox is brought to you by The Diversity Movement, hosted by Head of Content Jackie Ferguson, and is a production of Earfluence.

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