Match Made - A Q&A with Lauren Tanenbaum of EY
Q&A with Belinda Pestana’s mentee, Lauren Tanenbaum, Tax Services Manager, EY
What is your current role at EY and how did you become interested in this field?
I am currently a manager in the International Tax Practice. Whether it be cross-border transactions, local country/withholding issues or foreign tax credit planning, there are so many different technical areas to grasp within international tax. The more I’ve immersed myself into the field, the more passionate I have become about helping clients to be as strategic as possible when it comes to their non-US operations.
How did you connect with Belinda? Did she help define what you want to achieve through you career?
Belinda has been an incredible mentor to me for over 10 years – before we even began working together at EY. Over the years, she has introduced me to numerous colleagues, clients, friends and various leaders within the Tax Services practice. When I first mentioned to Belinda that I
wanted to work in the international tax group, she immediately hopped on the phone to find a spot for me on the team, which resulted in the opportunity to oversee some of her accounts. Belinda has spent countless hours ensuring that I have all of the necessary tools to be successful and that I am in a position to provide exceptional services to our clients.
What is the level of obligation and responsibility that comes with having a mentor? Does this push you to be an asset and take ownership of your own career path?
Whether or not someone has a mentor should not impact the level of effort that goes into pursuing an ideal career path. I think everyone needs to take responsibility for their own futures. A great mentor can give you direction and motivation – you have to bring yourself
to the finish line.
What is the single most valuable piece of advice that Belinda has shared with you? How would you define her leadership style?
There are two pieces of advice Belinda has shared with me over the course of her mentorship. First, the key to success is to surround myself (at all times) with the right mentors and the right subject matter experts. Second, Belinda stressed the importance of prioritizing my work/life balance. In terms of her leadership style, Belinda has a “tough love” working style, which has allowed me to become a more independent leader.
What is the environment and culture at EY like? What values does it encourage?
EY encourages teaming, exceptional client services and diversity. Everyone is proud of the solutions we provide our clients and proud of how we foster an inclusive culture where everyone feels like they belong. EY has a very high energy environment, which makes EY an exciting place to spend the work day.
Why is hiring talent from different backgrounds/cultures valuable?
Many studies have shown that diverse and inclusive teams produce more innovative results and solutions. Diversity has the ability to add lots of value to a project. For example, to hear five very different perspectives as opposed to one single-minded view allows for more collaboration, dialogue and trust. Moreover, our clients value our commitment to diversity and inclusiveness and how we are building a better working world.
How important is it to pay forward the support you have received from your mentor?
Now as a manager at EY, I have a couple of mentees within our practice. My goal is to give them the same opportunities that Belinda has given to me, so they can feel excited about their career paths and will have the desire to pass on wisdom to the next generation.
What would you like Belinda to know about the impact she has had on your career?
Belinda has had my back from the first day I walked through the doors of EY. Her dedication to my career has been invaluable and has meant the world to me. I would like to thank her a thousand times over for listening to me talk about my dreams; for caring about my past, present and future experiences; and for allowing me to love my job.