Our colleagues recently applied to earn the chance to represent Grant Thornton UK at the 2019 One Young World annual summit in London this October. The event brings together aspiring young leaders from across the globe who are passionate about social impact and positive change.

Following a rigorous selection process, Karen Higgins, Head of Sustainability, and Richard Waite, Head of Resourcing, were so impressed with the calibre of applications that they sought additional funding to send an extra two delegates to the summit, on top of our original commitment to send four.

Karen Higgins, Head of Sustainability, said: “We are delighted to be sending six of our young leaders to represent Grant Thornton UK LLP at One Young World.  We had 44 applications from across our business and Richard Waite and I were astounded by the quality of these applications. The passion our people have for addressing societal challenges is phenomenal and we were humbled by the amount of activity there is both inside and outside of work to make a positive impact.”

Here our winners share what drives their commitment for change, their capacity for leadership and what makes them unique:

Claire Martin

Claire Martin, Manager, Restructuring, Glasgow, explains how becoming a One Young World Ambassador and having access to this global network will benefit both her and the firm: “For me it presents a huge opportunity to develop my global network further, both within and out of the firm.”

“Our future success as a firm is dependent on our ability to meet our clients' needs, demonstrating a sound, credible understanding of the environment they operate in. From a client-service perspective, it is crucial that there is a link between the plenary session learning outputs and the issues our clients are dealing with every day.”

Emily McKeown

Emily McKeown, Manager, Public Services, London, tells us what drives her passion: “I am passionate about equal opportunities, social mobility and creating an environment where diverse teams can flourish. Reflecting on the UN sustainable development goals, I noted their call for reduced inequalities, recognising the need for economic, social and environmental development.”

Izzi Lerwill

Izzi Lerwill, Executive, Public Services Advisory - Financial Modelling, London, shares what makes them* unique: “I’m often told I’m a very smiley and happy person. I guess what my smile hides is how challenging life with a long-term mental health condition can be, especially when that’s coupled with being non-binary trans, pansexual and coming from a low socio-economic background. I’m proud of who I am, and on the days when I struggle with my complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (cPTSD), depression and/or anxiety, I remind myself of how resilient I am and how far I’ve come. My unique childhood has made me into the highly motivated, optimistic and compassionate person that I am today and I’m excited to collaborate with other One Young World Ambassadors to continue to drive positive, intersectional change in our community.”

* Izzi is non-binary and their pronouns are ‘they/them’. Non-binary is a gender identity and is one of the many gender identities that exist outside of the binary “male” and “female”.

Jolyon Layard Horsfall

Jolyon Layard Horsfall, Associate, TMT Tax, London, tells us which welfare issue he cares about most and what drives his passion: “Mental health is one of society’s most entrenched social and economic challenges. In a world that is becoming more social media driven, the pressure to find ‘happiness’ is clear. Everyone deserves the necessary skills to manage their own wellbeing and, in the UK, I feel this is missing. This is what motivated me to apply for the role of CFO at Happy Space, a mental wellbeing charity. We work to better understand the mental health challenges of students and help educational organisations develop more robust solutions to support mental health and wellbeing.”

Pete Waterman

Pete Waterman, Executive, Audit, Norwich, talks about when he took the lead on an initiative: “The most valuable experience as a leader for me was in ‘Spilling the Beans’, our trainee-led recruitment platform giving advice to applicants and showing what life could look like for them at Grant Thornton. We have brought loads of talent into the team over the years and grown the platform incredibly, presenting many opportunities for the team to explore wider interests and grow their own personal brands. Progressing from a new starter to leading this initiative was an amazing opportunity for me, to take the platform to where I knew it could go to be most effective, creating this strong foundation to give future generations of this team even greater possibilities to thrive.”

Vincent Egunlae

Vincent Egunlae, Associate, Audit - Human Capital and Consumer, London, tells us how his passion translates into positive action: “In September, I went to a talk at the MAN Group on diversity and I wondered whether Grant Thornton had any similar diversity networks. When I found out that we didn’t I was determined to start one. With support from Malcolm Gomersall, I got in touch with Cherryl Cooper and Caroline Bedford, with whom I co-founded Grant Thornton’s first Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) network, which is focused on the progression and retention of BAME individuals within the firm.”

Pictured below (From top left clockwise): Izzy Lerwill, Pete Waterman, Claire Martin, Vincent Egunlae, Jolyon Layard Horsfall and Emily McKeown