Sitting with Kerrie MacPherson, Global Client Service Partner at EY, almost made me want to go back and work for the firm I spent over five years with, back in the 90s.
While I learned a ton as an EY auditor, I am much (much) happier as a journalist who gets to highlight amazing women, like MacPherson, for Alpha Rising.
MacPherson, like many of us, walked into the EY doors after college and didn't expect to stay long.
But over 30 years later, she is still there and now an integral part of the firm's diversity agenda.
The firm recognized "long before it was fashionable, the need for diverse thinking," says MacPherson.
And that dedication to diversity has paid off. The National Association for Female Executives recently named EY to the 2017 top ten list of companies who support and promote talented women. Companies like Abbott ( (ABT) ), IBM ( (IBM) ), Johnson & Johnson ( (JNJ) ) and Proctor & Gamble ( (PG) ) also are on the list.
These companies are smart enough to realize that profitability improves as more women are invited to the corporate table.
And yet those stats haven't translated to the boardroom. Based on a 2014 sample of approximately 22,000 firms, in 91 countries, almost 60% had no women at all.
So clearly, we have work to do. And that's exactly why MacPherson spends much of her time empowering younger women.
In particular, she is an executive sponsor of the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, which is an annual competition and executive leadership program that identifies a select group of female entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale - and then helps them get there.
"We don't want our young women to think there are barriers," she says. "So it's up to the rest of us to make sure that 15 years from now ...when they are ready for it ...that we pave the way."
But is she worried that we may not get there? A little.
"Its taking far too long to make change...because it's too easy to revert to what you've always done...and it's not the right thing."
"There's a saying I like that says, 'If you can see it you can be it.'"
Which is why she believes it's so important for young women to look up and see that "there are senior women here and I too can do this," she says.
I'll be honest, if I looked up and saw MacPherson, I still might be at EY too.