This is Aušra, leader in Transformation and Innovation as well as Diversity and Inclusion at PwC Lithuania. We asked Aušra, who will soon be celebrating her 20-year anniversary at PwC about her career path and leading D&I initiatives.
Aušra, tell us more about your journey at PwC
I came to PwC almost twenty years ago, kind of randomly. When I started working as an administrator in the Tax and Legal Department, I thought I wouldn't be staying long because my plan was to leave Lithuania. Then personal matters held me back, and I stayed at PwC because of the opportunities and the managers at the time, who saw something in me and quite quickly suggested I become a tax consultant.
A few years ago, I said goodbye to my position and team as Head of Indirect tax practice and moved fully into the digital transformation and innovation department. I am currently leading a global technology application deployment project.
The internationality, the dynamism, the opportunities to proactively participate and develop new activities in Lithuania and abroad, and last but not least, the team, have contributed to the fact that I will be celebrating my 20th anniversary at PwC in July.
How and when did the PwC Lithuania Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) group come about and how did you become its leader?
PwC has been involved in D&I activities globally for a very long time. On our side of Europe (CEE region), the organized initiatives, strategy, and KPIs came two years ago - finally!
I was asked by our CEO Rimvydas Jogėla to lead the PwC Lithuania D&I group forward. I guess one reason for this was the fact that organizing firm-wide activities has always been a liked activity for me. I was also one of the organizers of the International Women's Day celebrations at PwC.
At PwC, we develop and implement D&I activities alongside our regular activities. I am glad that it was particularly easy to put together an initiative group in Lithuania, with our volunteer people from different positions and fields. Though it wasn’t that easy to attract men at the very beginning. :)
What were the first things the group accomplished and how is it going when it comes to achieving set goals?
It was clear from the very beginning that the first thing to do was to understand where we are, how we feel as a PwC community and to focus on education. The first D&I survey of the team highlighted the sentiments, perceptions and gaps in the different dimensions of D&I. Based on the results of the survey, we started mapping out the areas and activities under our global D&I strategy and got down to work.
When it became clear that we could not take on as much as we wanted to do, we shortened the list according to priorities. Some of them are gender equality, age and nationality diversity in our team, supporting the LGBTQI+ community. I always complain that we don't have enough time in the day for all D&I initiatives, but almost everything we plan for the year is getting achieved.
I think the cornerstone is that we have clarified and clearly communicated our PwC Lithuania community's previously unstated position and goal of making sure that every member of our team is able not to leave any part of themselves outside the office door and come to work exactly as they are.
How do you feel about PwC D&I strategy and its approach to people?
I am proud of our global strategy and regional initiative to take on D&I activities boldly and loudly. There is no such thing as a corporate approach to people. There is the attitude of the members of the firm's community and the will of management to set the rules and enforce them.
I believe that even before we started organized D&I initiatives, we were already well on our way. We cannot expect that our team will be any different from the general public in our country. There will always be different experiences, attitudes and behaviors. Moreover, none of us are experts in D&I and people, and we are learning a lot. But as a PwC community, we know what our purpose is in this field. I believe it helps us to understand how to go about our daily lives and to feel that we have PwC's strong backing when we are faced with challenges at work.