Time Irado (pronounced Tee-May E-Raw-do) was born on August 30, 2011, in Secaucus, New Jersey. That’s when I joined 10 of my colleagues from across Ernst & Young for orientation for the Americas Corporate Responsibility (CR) Fellows Program. The loose translation of the Portuguese is “Team Awesome,” which includes three of us who are serving as CR Fellows in Brazil: Katie Duggan, Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services manager (New York, New York), Jamie Shafer, Advisory manager (Detroit, Michigan) and me (Columbus, Ohio). Other teams are deployed to Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile.
The CR Fellows Program is a skills-based volunteer initiative where “top performers” (I use the term loosely because I’m included) travel to emerging markets and are paired with some of Latin America’s top Entrepreneurs. [Note: Entrepreneur is spelled with a capital ‘E’ as these folks are the real deal.] Every businessman has a story, but not everyone has the guts, glory and appetite to lay it all out on the line like these transcendent personalities who grow businesses with nothing more than a dream.
The CR Fellows Program is a collaboration between Ernst & Young LLP and Endeavor to help foster growth, create jobs and build communities. As a Fellow, I am paired with an Entrepreneur who is changing the way construction and building materials are produced, delivered and installed, which — given Brazil’s construction boom — is a very good thing. However, as most business professionals know, growing too fast can create challenges. Technical resources are needed along the way including Information Technology, Accounting, Tax and the list goes on. It can also be helpful to have someone assist in thinking a longer range strategic plan. That’s where a program like the CR Fellows comes into play, by helping to provide some of that technical help that may be missing, and by bringing in a different perspective on growth.
So, Team Brazil heads to Sao Paulo for just under two months to donate about a thousand skills-based volunteer hours to three Brazilian Entrepreneurs.