Lessons from Tim Ryan ’88 of PwC
On a recent visit with Babson students, Tim Ryan ‘88, Senior Partner and Chairman of PwC US, highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion, and shared three perspectives to carry in life.
Three Key Perspectives
- Understand respect is important – “Leadership is not about making everybody like you, but helping people realize their full potential. This mindset starts with respecting differences.”
- Be mindful of your reputation – “The reality is there is a lot of opportunity to get tempted in the business world but how you keep your integrity speaks volumes. Try new things, fail, learn. Look for help because others are with you. You might feel alone but you just need to look in the right places and trust the people you interact with.”
- Be a realistic optimist – Take the problems and seize the opportunities! We need to be conscious about embracing and recognizing change in order to see the light in each situation. With these moments and a positive attitude, we need not be afraid to make a difference. Worry about what you can control, not what you can’t control.
What does diversity and Inclusion mean to you?
“Every one of us deserves to come to work, feel safe, understood, and be able to contribute not by looking like somebody, but by sharing points of view and feeling respected.”
“At some point in our lives we have all been excluded. One of the most important things we need to think about is what it felt like to be in that position. So much of this is embedded in the speed of life and that we truly don’t understand.”
“If we don’t truly understand one another, we’ll never be the most inclusive workplace in the world. Outside of family, work is where we spend the most amount of our time. It was a catalytic moment, after over a decade of investing in programs, trainings, studies, and testing, when we realized that the baseline of talking and communicating was missed.” The takeaway: communication is key. PwC has since then set out to solve this issue. Having conversations on these types of topics of inclusiveness and diversity, enables for the opportunity of understanding and PwC supports and embraces this.
What is your goal as senior partner of one of the largest employers in the United States?
Tim told students he began to integrate the question of, “Where are we on diversity and inclusion?” By integrating this into his meetings with CEOs, he began to feel confident talking about sensitive topics. He then realized diversity and inclusion was not a competitive issue in the industry. From this pivotal moment the group CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion was born. It began small with 150 companies; today, 410 companies participate, with a growth rate of 10-15 more every week. The group has three basic commitments:
- As CEO’s we will make our workplace a safe place to have conversations on sensitive topics
- Share unconscious biased training with everybody, not just the executives, but everybody. We all need to understand the science of biases.
- Responsibility to share best practices with everybody
“The job of a CEO of an organization like PwC isn’t just to grow revenues bottom line, there is a part of that, but there’s also a part where you have a responsibility to your people and about what’s important to them.”
Emma is a student in Babson’s Master of Science in Accounting program. For another student reflection on Tim’s visit, read Career Wisdom from Tim Ryan ’88 by Campbell Peterson ’18 MS’18 »