Molly John is an Audit Partner based in the New York City office of EY and has more than 20 years of experience providing professional services to a diverse client base, from domestic private companies to large multinational public companies in the telecommunications, media and entertainment to diversified manufacturing industries. She also serves on the firm's Northeast Black Professional Network's (EY employee resource group) steering committee as well as the New York City Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Additionally, Molly serves as the Audit Committee Chair and Director of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Foundation and a current member of the USTA National Junior Tennis & Learning Committee, International Women's Forum New Jersey Chapter and Baruch College Zicklin School of Business, Dean's Advisory Council. Molly received her BBA degree in accounting from Baruch College and is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in New York and New Jersey.
DI: Why is diversity and inclusion important to you?
Molly John: I migrated to New York to attend college from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a small island to a large city where the racial makeup was significantly different from what I was accustomed. I was lucky to work with great teams throughout my career that made me feel included and like I belonged. As an audit partner at EY, I help my clients reach solutions to their complex problems.Numerous studies have shown that diverse teams perform better and discover better solutions than homogenous teams. A lack of diversity and inclusion puts companies and teams at a competitive disadvantage and here at EY, our clients are seeking the best answers and expect that our client serving teams.
DI: How do your mentors and your sponsors help you in your career? And were you a good mentee? And could you have advanced without a sponsor?
Molly John: My mentors and sponsors provided me with candid feedback that enabled me to leverage my strengths and recognize my weaknesses. They also challenged me constantly to seek and take on responsibilities that were outside my comfort zone. I recognized that my mentors/sponsors were making an investment in me and my career; thus I made it a point to truly listen to feedback and accept any type of coaching with an open mind. Although I could have advanced without my sponsors, my path would have been much different and likely more challenging to navigate without their support. Even as a partner today, I still rely heavily on my group of mentors and sponsors as I progress in my career because you never really learn it all.
DI: What kinds of things would you recommend that people do to stay on top of their game, and to signal to people that they are worthy of investment?
Molly John: First and foremost, be good at what you do. In other words "do your job". If you don't, you will be hard pressed to find someone to either invest in or sponsor you. Second, remain curious and continue to be an avid learner and consumer of information. Make sure you understand what is happening in your own industry as well as what's occurring in your client's sector or industry. Third, expand your network and seek out opportunities to showcase yourself. Let others know about you and get to see how valuable you are, which will in turn lead to new and different opportunities.
DI: What advice would you provide for people seeking to expand their career at a company where they already are, or as they navigate different organizations?
Molly John: Be a sponge! Identify and connect with individuals within the organization that are succeeding and excelling. Observe, ask and understand what they are doing to stand out from others and apply those similar techniques in a manner that is consistent with your authentic self.
DI: What advice can you give on developing executive presence?
Molly John: Executive presence can be learned and perfected through practice. Look around your organization, church, bank, family members, and so on, for those individuals that have executive presence; and, based on your observations, identify the critical attributes such as confidence, poise, articulation, appearance, facial expressions, body language, among other characteristics that form 'executive presence' and incorporate those attributes into your interactions in a natural manner that works best for yourself.
DI: How do you define success, and what career advice do you have for being successful?
Molly John: I define success by the amount of growth I experience in my career. I have found that some of the greatest successes are born out of failure. From an advice perspective, I suggest that individuals seek out challenging opportunities and learn as much as they can from them.
DI: What advice would you provide for people seeking to grow and get promoted at their current company?
Molly John: Take calculated risks and step outside your comfort zone. You may find yourself lulled into a false sense of security because you are doing your current job well. In my mind, growth often comes when challenged to execute and succeed on tasks that are outside your comfort zone. Seek out these tasks, embrace the discomfort, leverage your network to identify and acquire the necessary tools and execute to the best of your ability. Then do it again and again.