Raised in a small country town of Australia, EY’s Alycia Melder knows all too well the benefits in actively supporting young rural women to reach their leadership potential.
Woolgoolga is a small coastal town on the mid north coast of New South Wales. It is where Alycia grew up and it holds many happy and fond memories for her. Yet at the same time, the challenge of growing up in regional town has fed Alycia’s interest and passion for doing what she can to help young women living in rural towns to gain access to good educational opportunities and to explore what’s possible for a rewarding and meaningful life.
Another Australian woman who also grew up in regional Australia was Hannah Wandel. Hannah lived on a farm in South Australia and although she loved her local community, she too recognised there were certainly additional challenges faced by rural and remote students. As a gender equality advocate, Hannah was determined to increase leadership opportunities for young women and girls, so at age 24 she founded the Australian not-for-profit organisation Country to Canberra
Alycia is now a committed volunteer for the Country to Canberra charity that Hannah founded, and she enjoys helping empower young rural women to reach their leadership potential by breaking down the barriers to success.
Congruency between career and supporting women’s advancement
A talented Performance Improvement Consultant at EY in Canberra, Alycia finds great balance and congruency between her career and passion for supporting women’s advancement. "I feel very fulfilled when I get to help mentor and coach young female professionals at EY,” comments Alycia. “I specifically recall supporting one of our young women at EY to successfully negotiate her career choices regarding a potential move inter-state and being confident to openly discuss her salary.”
Never solving the same problem twice
Having started as a graduate at EY following her undergraduate studies in business administration and management, Alycia secured a position in the EY Technology team. Within a few years, Alycia progressed to her role as a manager where she works with Federal Government clients helping to solve complex challenges so they can deliver better outcomes for their customers. “My undergraduate degree fostered critical thinking so I feel very comfortable bringing together the right teams to solve complex problems. And my work itself is always so very interesting and challenging. I never solve the same problem twice,” explains Alycia who thrives on continuously working with different clients and teams.
Building a better working world
Alycia is proud working for EY because it consistently places great value on purpose and meaning - and she enjoys the fact that all of her work is relevant, innovative and has impact. Alycia feels very empowered and valued because she knows that her work makes a positive difference. That's a very rewarding feeling indeed. In fact, EY openly reinforces that they "start with the world that matters most to you". As an organisation, EY plays a critical role in building a better working world for its people, for its clients and for its communities. EY understands that when business works better, the world works better. With exceptional leadership from the top, EY Global Chairman and CEO, Mark Weinberger, says "Our brand lives in the minds of our clients, past, present and future, our people, and our communities. Through living our values, which remain the bedrock of our culture, each of us helps to build greater trust, making the working world better for our clients and for our colleagues." An impressive organisation, EY truly supports and openly nurtures the career aspirations of its people.
Exceptional career growth and development at EY
Alycia finds the opportunity to create her own career path at EY very rewarding as she seeks out opportunities for growth and development. She also strongly admires EY’s focus on diversity and inclusion. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many great clients and teams. I’ve already seen a lot of change and evolution in EY in the Canberra office and within the Canberra market. It’s very exciting and I love the teams I get to work with. Importantly, I’m always feeling actively supported by our leadership teams to drive the career I want at EY.”
"I recall feeling really valued and empowered when, for the very first time, a client asked me directly for my input and advice. It was magnificent to feel that I was truly contributing something significant,” says Alycia. “But at the same time, I also have developed the wisdom and confidence to ask if I don’t know something. At EY, I also feel comfortable to openly raise and discuss any problems or concerns early with my colleagues and they’ve always been supportive in helping provide options. At EY, there’s a supportive team culture that helps me feel I can always be open and honest. I’m always focused on what I can bring to the teams.”
Alycia believes that EY invests significantly in making the workplace inclusive. “The vast range of people you get to meet, work with and learn from at EY is very exciting indeed. EY is really supportive when it comes to diversity and they certainly recognise its value in terms of being able to solve our clients’ challenges. We of course carry this mindset with us into our client environments as well,” explains Alycia.
Investing in relationships and staying true to your values
A finalist in the prestigious EY Lynne Sutherland Future Leader Award (Lynne Sutherland was EY’s first female partner in 1986) has provided Alycia with confidence in knowing that by investing in relationships and staying true to her values, a successful career can most certainly be navigated.
"EY has some fantastic female leaders who go out of their way to make time to coach and mentor our young women. I’ve had the opportunity to work with most of our Advisory female leaders, either in client work or internal initiatives, and each one provides something unique that I’ve been able to actively learn from. I’ve also been impressed by our junior team members and my manager peers because we all have diverse backgrounds and we all bring something different to our roles and perspectives. It’s not uncommon to participate in regular peer-to-peer mentoring or upwards-mentoring and encouragement.”
Be yourself and focus on what you can contribute
And when it comes to Alycia’s own advice for female colleagues wanting to truly excel in their career, “Just be yourself, and be confident in the unique value you bring to a team,” she happily suggests.
So why not learn more about EY as an employer and research the wide range of exciting career opportunities on offer to identify where your own career at EY might take you.
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young. This article provides general information, does not constitute advice and should not be relied on as such. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
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