Making a Difference, One Recruit at a Time

June 6, 2014 3:48 pm

KPMG’s Ryan Friday

Ryan Friday, KPMGWhen then soon-to-be CPA Ryan Friday went looking for a job, he considered all the Big 4 accounting firms as well as other companies. He checked corporate websites to make sure the company was welcoming and inclusive, especially to LGBT employees.

What initially convinced him to go to KPMG was an internship. But what led him to permanent employment at KPMG? The people, starting with the formal on-boarding experience.

Ryan, who came out in college, first learned about KPMG when he attended an Out for Undergrad Business Conference while a student at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

He spent the summer of 2010 as an audit intern in KPMG’s Atlanta office, and was hired full time in January 2012 as an audit associate. In July 2013, he was promoted to senior associate.

“I made great connections with people in the Atlanta and New York offices. People used to think of accounting as a stiff, rigid profession. People at KPMG are the consummate professionals but they also have fun,” says Ryan, who became a CPA in January 2013.

For both his internship and his full-time job, he had mandatory on-boarding that included diversity-and-inclusion messaging. “It made me feel welcome and it made a difference. They made it clear there was no discrimination allowed and they take this very seriously,” he says.

Still, he says, the on-boarding was theoretical and what really mattered was seeing inclusivity in the workplace, on a day-to-day level. “I see other out people in the leadership in my office and my practices. If you don’t see those examples at a higher level, you’re probably not going to come out because you have to look out for your career,” he says.

Ryan, who has been active in the Atlanta office’s LGBT employee resource group, is now involved in recruiting college youth, especially LGBT youth, to come to KPMG.

“To be honest, I think it makes a world of difference to bring your whole self to work and be open and honest with co-workers. When you feel you can be 100 percent yourself, it influences how you interact and communicate with other people,” he says.

—Barbara Frankel