EY - Culturally Diverse Mentoring Program

by EY
Ernst & Young Global Limited (EY) is a multinational professional services network of member firms. Worldwide, EY has over 365,000 professionals across all member firms in more than 150 countries, and approximately 6,000 FTE in Australia.


In EY Oceania, our people have 127 unique cultural backgrounds and speak 77 languages. While we are a very culturally diverse group, culturally diverse representation decreases in senior roles. We also know that the experience of those with a culturally diverse background is not the same as their Anglo-Celtic/Saxon colleagues. We are listening to how EY people feel and are striving to do more to ensure that we are living up to EY values of greater inclusiveness and building a better working environment. 


EY Cultural Diversity Mentoring Program

The Cultural Diversity Mentoring program is a six-month program designed to support and empower our culturally diverse staff. The program provides participants access to targeted development opportunities and one-on-one mentorship from senior leaders within the member firm. It contributes to a richer pipeline of culturally diverse leaders.

The program is aligned to EY’s collective commitment to foster an environment where all differences are valued, practices are equitable, and everyone experiences a sense of belonging. In recent years, we have also witnessed the benefits of reverse mentoring for our senior leaders. For mentors, the program provides an opportunity to hear from culturally diverse colleagues, to talk about their experiences, challenges, ask questions, and build cross-cultural competency.  

Our aspirations for the program are:

  • That mentees will have greater self-awareness and self-confidence, and a clearer career direction.
  • That both mentors and mentees will recognise the importance of harnessing the strengths of a culturally diverse workforce.
  • To build cross-cultural capability across the organisation.

The program relates to EY Global Transformative Leadership Model where we encourage EY people to focus on three key areas of leadership: Better Me, Better Us and Building a Better Working World. EY professionals can click through the model to find bite-sized tools and resources to deepen learning and create new leadership habits. The program helps to activate these transformative leadership behaviours to develop a pipeline of culturally diverse leaders who are confident and inspiring, and who help bring our diversity, equity, and inclusiveness statement to life.  


Program Participants

The program was piloted in 2017 with 30 participants. Over the years, the interest and scope have grown, and in FY21 we reached 450 participants.

  • Mentees can be anyone at Consultant, Senior Consultant or Manager rank who are culturally and/or linguistically diverse. All expressions of interest (220 mentees) were accepted in FY21.
  • Mentors can be Partners, Directors, Executive Directors and Senior Managers of any cultural background who wish to be a part of the program.
  • Culturally Diverse Partner Champions. Each city and state in Oceania have Culturally Diverse Partner Champions available for additional support if required.


Learning delivered through blended learning experiences 

The program is designed to provide frequent connection and continuous development. The program takes a blended approach to learning, where we bring the very best of thought leadership, workshop content, mentoring and coaching.  

A monthly ‘Inclusion Nudge’ is sent, containing discussion questions, helpful resources and access to learnings. The learning activities are aimed at enhancing the program engagement and self-awareness. The core areas of focus include: Setting SMART goals, Self-Awareness, Belonging and Empowerment. With our support and guidance, each development journey is the participants’ to build. 

Participants are also provided with access to group communication channels and regular networking events to connect with mentees and mentors across the program and build a sense of community and promote inclusive teaming. One of the goals of the program is to pair participants with individuals that may not necessarily get in touch throughout the business through their day-to-day work. The feeling of inclusiveness is a significant success factor for this program. 

Quality of mentoring is regularly measured and reviewed, with regular pulse checks for participants at the 30-, 60- and 90-day marks capturing program satisfaction, preferred topics of interest, and opportunities for mentors and mentees to be re-paired if appropriate. The quality of mentoring is measured and reviewed following the close of the program.


The Exceptional EY Experience:

Our extraordinary people are helping to shape the future, and that’s why at EY we stand behind our Employee Value Proposition – The Exceptional EY Experience: It’s Yours to Build.

“As I have gained experience, I have learned the importance of understanding and harnessing differences so we can all continue to grow.   Being a mentor provides me the opportunity to impact someone’s life earlier in their career, to share some of my experiences so they could learn from my mistakes and successes and hopefully have some extra knowledge and support to address some of the challenges they may face. I hope by sharing some of the things that I wish someone had told me early in my career their journey maybe a bit easier.   I have also been fortunate enough to learn from my mentees.” 2021 Mentor


More information is available at https://www.ey.com/en_au