Improving and Advancing
Gender Parity

Karin Lutz, EY Beacon Institute and Women. Fast forward

Karin Lutz

Editors’ Note

Karin Lutz assumed her current post in July 2017. Her career at EY spans 25 years’ experience in strategic leadership and management of highly committed teams within a global professional services environment.

Company Brief

The global EY ortion (ey.com) is a leader in assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services. In the Americas – EY’s largest area – member firms employ more than 70,000 people across 30 countries and generate $14.5 billion in revenues. Globally, EY member firms employ nearly 250,000 people and generate $31.4 billion in revenues.

What are the areas that you are involved with and how do you define your role at EY?

I have a dual role at EY. I am the partner in charge of the EY Beacon Institute – a community of executives, entrepreneurs, academics and luminaries championing transformative corporate purpose – and I am also the partner in charge of the Women. Fast forward (WFF) initiative, which is EY’s program focused on advancing women in the workplace and in society at large.

These programs play a key role for EY as we focus on our own purpose of Building a Better Working World.

With the EY Beacon Institute, we are convening business leaders and are shaping the dialog on how purpose is key to business success in the 21st century. EY Beacon Institute has hosted many prominent events with the world’s leading CEOs, such as at the WEF annual meeting at Davos, to advance corporate purpose and share a collective vision of a world in which all businesses play a significant role in society and contribute to stakeholder value creation.

Women. Fast forward responds to our belief that, as our Global Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger often says, “closing the gender gap isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do for our businesses and the global economy.” We are committed to closing the gender gap in our own workplace and to making it a reality outside EY. Women. Fast forward is a well-established program in the market and it’s fascinating to see how the initiative is being supported by our colleagues around the world.

How are Women. Fast forward and EY Beacon integrated within EY?

Women. Fast forward is an umbrella program under which a number of EY projects naturally fit. We have a range of initiatives dedicated to women such as our Women Athlete Business Network, our Entrepreneurial Winning Women program and our many successful initiatives around diversity and inclusiveness. EY Beacon Institute is strongly connected with our ‘Service lines’. It is through our Strategy & Customer practice in Advisory and our People Advisory Services (PAS) in particular that EY Beacon Institute is able to share with EY’s clients our insights on what it means to be a purposeful company and the value this creates for a company’s internal and external stakeholders.

The role that I play in leading two corporate programs allows me to be a ‘dots connector’ across EY and this is what brings me the greatest joy and fulfillment.

When you look at the thought leadership and culture of EY, do these serve as important differentiators for the firm?

They are huge differentiators, especially in attracting talent. What attracts people to EY is the culture and the way we collaborate. At EY, we understand the benefits of having diverse teams, fostering innovation and nurturing inclusiveness. We like to prove that Building a Better Working World starts with our people.

How critical is mentorship for the next generation of leaders?

Mentorship is absolutely critical. I am particularly interested in mentoring young women who must be given equal opportunities. This is not just about fairness but about achieving better economic outcomes. The fact that we are still far away from gender parity should not be an excuse to stand still and be discouraged. On the contrary, it is really up to women to realize they can be supported by both men and women and be emboldened.