By Jessica Costa Coelho, EY-Earthwatch Ambassador
To celebrate 10 years of EY-Earthwatch expeditions, EY has collected 10 inspiring stories from participants, who discuss how the program improves local communities while strengthening their careers. Jessica Costa Coelho shares her experience as an EY-Earthwatch Ambassador on the expedition Conserving Wetlands and Traditional Agriculture in Mexico.
Being a part of the EY-Earthwatch Ambassador program was a milestone in my career, not just because it was my first international assignment but because it gave new meaning to the work we do in the EY organization.
When I originally signed up for the corporate responsibility program, it was largely because I wanted to fulfill the EY purpose of “building a better working world.” I wanted to see how I could tangibly align the services we provide with improving our world and our communities. Little did I realize at the time how much it would reshape the outlook I had for my own career.
My expedition took place in 2017 in Xochimilco, Mexico, where I was assigned to help a set of local entrepreneurs in the agriculture business who were struggling with finances, marketing and navigating growth markets. In one week, with 10 EY people from seven different countries, we came together as a team to consult with the clients, brainstorm new approaches and develop a comprehensive set of solutions, which all culminated in a dual-language presentation.
In response to our efforts, one of our clients’ leaders took the opportunity to express genuine gratitude for the work we accomplished during our time. He explained how much our work meant to them, their community and the future of their economy.
Our impact was clearly felt by the local people of Xochimilco.
When I returned home, I also began to realize what an impact our work and program had on me. Not only did I benefit from the opportunity to network with international colleagues, to travel and to improve my Spanish and communication skills, but, unexpectedly, I tested my ability to adapt – a lifelong lesson that I will carry with me throughout my career.
With time to reflect one year later, I know being an EY-Earthwatch Ambassador has gone far beyond what I had expected.
– Four months later: I was the office leader in our EY Connect Day firm-wide day of community service.
– Six months later: I was promoted to senior level, and because of my experience internationally, I was able to better manage my team during this time.
– One year later: I moved from EY offices in Brazil to the US and am now working with EY Global Services in the EY San Jose office.
EY-Earthwatch was truly an experience of a lifetime!
Check out the rest of the EY-Earthwatch Ambassador stories by visiting the EY website.