Gary Zed knows the idea of “building a better working world” means different things to different people. But for the EY leader, that philosophy and firm purpose must always connect back to one key thing: how he contributes to the broader community.
For Mr. Zed – who’s also managing partner of the professional services firm’s Ottawa office – a strong social sector is the foundation for business prosperity. Specifically, a vibrant city is created by four intractably linked segments of society: education, arts and culture, community and health care.
“Each requires focus and attention,” says Mr. Zed, who was named Ottawa’s Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser in 2016 and has been described as a “philanthropic fixture” in the city. “That’s what makes this city a better place to live, work and play.”
Mr. Zed applies that philosophy both personally and professionally. He currently sits on several boards and committees, including the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, National Arts Centre Foundation, Ottawa Senators Foundation and the One Young World advisory board, and he was previously active in the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.
At work, Mr. Zed’s connected with many of the city’s other successful business leaders. He’s seen how so many of them are committed to giving back and supporting causes in the community. While the reasons behind their fundraising, philanthropy and volunteerism vary, many realize that their own success comes from having a safe, nurturing community.
“They see the benefits of investing in the community and building it for the future. Giving back isn’t just a nice to have. It’s a business imperative for our cities and the companies that operate in them.”
Mr. Zed impresses the importance of community engagement with EY’s younger staff members all the time.
“Getting involved with the broader community helps our people develop their leadership skills. It opens their eyes to new opportunities and helps them cultivate a professional network all while improving the world we’re working in. That’s an important message for people at any stage of the career.”
And at EY, leaders set the tone by encouraging a team approach to giving back. On EY Connect Day, volunteers leave the office and head into the community. Last time around, they supported 13 different organizations on the same day – doing everything from stocking food pantries to tutoring students and cleaning up local parks.
They bring “building a better working world” to life throughout the rest of the year, too, by working with groups like Pathways to Education and supporting initiatives like national Take Your Kids to Work Day.
“One of the important components of building a better working world is building a stronger society and supporting the important causes that are … the glue that keeps our city connected,” he says.
Learn more about how EY is building a better working world for its clients:
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