Aneika Perez – ELP Spotlight

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
I am an audit senior manager at E&Y. I perform audits of financial institutions including hedge funds, mutual funds, and business development companies. I started at EY in 2003 after working at Salomon Smith Barney as a mutual fund accountant. I took my Certified Public Accounting exam (CPA exam) and I needed two years of experience working at an accounting firm before obtaining my CPA license. I initially chose EY to be able to obtain my two years of experience, however I have enjoyed my time here so much that it has been over 11 years.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?
Public accounting requires a big commitment of time. We serve clients, and need to make ourselves available to our clients throughout the year and complete our audits which often have short deadlines after year end. The biggest challenge lies in being able to maintain work/life balance. As a mom, this is a big priority for me, and requires that I keep open lines of communication with the people I work with, my clients, my family and friends so that I can achieve both my personal and career goals.

What is your proudest achievement?
Becoming a mom to my son Kyan has been my proudest achievement in life.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey are two my most admired thinkers. Their lives are a true testament that your past struggles do not define our future. I have learned from them that all of us (human beings), have one thing in common, we all want to be heard, we all want to know that we matter. I think this is so profound and applies to all aspects of life, not just personally but also in business. In every interaction with other people (family, business partners, community), it is so important to let the other person know, “I understand where you are coming from”, “I am listening”. You don’t have to agree with what the other person is saying, you just have to be present and available for that other person, and let them know you hear them and that is so powerful.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I don’t know where I will be in 10 years, and I don’t like to set long term plans because I rather focus on being present and doing the best I can in whatever is in front of me at the moment. But if I can attempt to say where do I see myself in ten years, I would like to be established enough in my career at EY that I can focus on influencing change for my family,  my firm, the audit profession and my community. I would love to be able to teach, either formally through an university or informally in some community role.

How has your participation with the Executive Leadership Program impacted the way you approach your day-to-day role?
My participation in the executive leadership program has helped me be more intentional in getting to the next level in my career. It reinforced the importance of building my brand within my firm, my peers, my community. I try to keep this in mind as I interact with my clients, my superiors and my peers. The executive leadership program was very impactful and full of learning. One change that I definitely made after returning from the program is being more conscious on how I participate during business meetings, not just with clients, but also internally, including the energy I bring to this meetings, especially those meetings over the phone.