#StrongerTogether with Cian Coughlan, KPMG Volunteer

KPMG is part of the Business Impact Map and the #strongertogether campaign. The interactive map launched last week showcases what companies are doing for their local communities across the country and also shows the collective impact of the network. As we unveil the impact achieved by the participating companies in 2017 we take the opportunity to hear from the volunteers that make this impact a reality.

Cian Coughlan is a trainee in KPMG’s Risk Consulting department, as part of the #StrongerTogether campaign, Cian shares his experience and thoughts on volunteering.

Tell us about your volunteering experience…

I volunteered with Business in the Community, getting involved in a programme they run called EPIC – Employment for People from Immigrant Communities. This programme pairs a KPMG employee with an immigrant or refugee in an effort to integrate them into Irish society and help them find employment. I was paired with Victor, an Accounting Graduate from China. The programme involved 6 meetings over the course of 2-3 months. Throughout these meetings we went  through things like Victors CV, LinkedIn profile, job applications, interview skills etc. in an effort to enhance Victor’s opportunities of finding employment.

I was also involved in the iWish conference in the RDS and the Old Folks Christmas Party which were both simply great fun more than anything.

Why did you decide to take part and volunteer?

I decided to volunteer in the various KPMG CSR initiatives as a way to get involved in something where I could give back to the community. I volunteered with Enable Ireland when I was in University and I really enjoyed the whole experience and knew I wanted to do further volunteering. I find that while volunteering, even in a small capacity allows you to give back to others, the indirect rewards you reap from it are always endless. Having joined KPMG recently, being a part of the KPMG CSR programme has allowed me the opportunity to meet new people, and to use and improve on my own skills such as the mentoring skills I used when meeting Victor.

What did you enjoy from the experience?

Volunteering in the various KPMG programmes is always an enjoyable experience, regardless of what initiative you decide to take on, as the volunteers always get great support from the CSR team of Karina Howley and Lucy Mangan.

Being involved in such varying types of programmes allowed me the opportunity to meet so many different types of people, from the volunteers to the people using the services. You learn so many interesting things from the people you meet and the activities you get involved in. The experiences I have had to date in volunteering with the KPMG CSR programmes have taught me a lot and I have thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of it. I have also enjoyed the sense of giving back and seeing the positive impact that my contribution has had on others.

What would you say to a colleague who hasn’t volunteered before to encourage him/her to give it a go?

Being involved in the KPMG CSR initiatives is always guaranteed to be extremely rewarding and fun. KPMG is fully supportive of staff in taking time out to get involved in CSR activities and there is always an initiative where volunteer’s skills are required.

It has also opened up a lot of doors for me so far – I enjoy meeting people and I have met more people in different departments through volunteering than anything else, and therefore it is a great way to develop your network. It is also a great way of building your brand internally and becoming a brand ambassador for the firm.

How important is it to you that the company you work for shares your values and facilitates you to undertake volunteering activities as part of your role?

In applying for the various roles, while in my final year of University, one of the things that was important to me when deciding where to apply for was that I was applying for a company that shared similar ideals and values to me. Of course one of the big selling points KPMG had was the opportunities it presents its trainees outside of the working role. There is always a different initiative to get involved in and my business unit are extremely supportive in allowing me the time and resources to get involved.

KPMG attracts people with similar values and you realise this so much more when you volunteer with people in the firm you would not normally meet on a day to day basis. Regardless of whether you are a director or a first year, when volunteering in the KPMG initiatives everyone is working towards the same goal and it doesn’t matter what your day time job is or what level you are at. Working in a company with such likeminded people sharing the same values as me makes it a far better place to work.

Visit the Business Impact Map to see the impact that KPMG employees have made in 2017.

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