PwC’s Earn Your Future: Setting a record and making a difference

PwC’s Earn Your Future: Setting a record and making a difference

Multimedia from this Release

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 11:45am


Susan Stone is the Geographic Marketing Leader for PwC’s Southern California market.

One year ago when Brian Cullinan, Market Managing Partner for PwC’s SoCal region, came to the marketing group looking for new ways to connect with our people in our region, I would never have dreamed that the result would be a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title.  What began as a “what if” quickly turned into a steely resolve to make it happen.  We started out with several goals: 1) connect the thousands of people in our market, which includes Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Phoenix and Las Vegas, around a fun activity; 2) give back to the community; 3) contribute hours to our national “Earn Your Future” financial literacy initiative.  We knew that if we could provide our people with the experience of teaching financial literacy to young people that they would get hooked and want to do more.

After several conversations with the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® team, we had a plan for the record we wanted to set: largest simultaneous financial literacy lesson in multiple locations.  Now, the big challenge − how to make that happen.  We assembled a steering committee of partners and staff across all of the offices in our market and created a project plan with multiple workstreams.  There were close to 100 people involved in the planning process; team leaders at the school sites, celebration event organizers, the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS®  coordinators, registration staff, internal and external communications teams and trainers.  In this case, it really did take a village!

We quickly realized one of the biggest challenges would be getting access to the schools and, that we would not be successful unless we engaged some of our community partners in the process.  We decided to connect with Playworks in Orange County, Los Angeles and Phoenix and Junior Achievement in San Diego and Las Vegas to develop a plan to work with local schools.  We would work with third, fourth and fifth graders, following the “Earn Your Future” curriculum, teaching lessons on spending, saving and investing, planning and other money management concepts. In the Playworks schools, in addition to teaching, our partners and staff would join students on the playground to connect with them during recess.  On the day of the event I remember seeing a post by one of our people saying he “just got beat by a fourth grader in a mean game of four square!”

While some of our people were initially a bit apprehensive because they didn’t have teaching experience, we developed a training session to allay their fears and prepare them for the task at hand.  After the session they were geared up and ready to go.

On September 24, our hard work paid off.  More than 840 PwC partners and staff volunteered simultaneously at 18 schools in five cities to teach 4,783 students about financial responsibility and yes, set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title.

The event was a huge success on so many different levels.  We created relationships with elementary schools in the underserved areas of our communities that we can now leverage for future financial literacy teachings.  We engaged our clients as independent observers to help verify the record and exposed them to our giving culture.  We created a once in a lifetime experience for our people and a sense of pride in the firm they work for.  And, most importantly, we touched the lives of kids and helped them to understand the importance of financial literacy and responsibility.

And then there’s the employee engagement aspect, which sparked the idea for this record setting event months ago.  We received amazing feedback from our PwC volunteers. Several people told me that they felt like they learned more than they taught that day.  Another participant thanked us for “a career defining moment at PwC.” Countless others had their first “Earn Your Future” teaching experience, and enjoyed it so much that they’re ready to get out there and do it again. And, we have a number of opportunities coming up in the next months for them to do just that, including financial literacy programs with Junior Achievement and other local organizations.

We not only set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title that day, we made a real impact. All in all, not a bad days work!