Taylor Lee

tlee@calrotaract.org | LinkedIn

Danville, CA | Economics with a minor in Geospatial Information Science & Technology (GIS)

Spring 2018 | Auditor

How has Rotaract impacted your time at Cal?

It’s been quite a journey! My freshman year I wasn’t super involved, I only went to one or two meetings. But I made some friends in Residence Hall Assembly who had joined and invited me to check it out, so I gave the club another try my sophomore year. got involved my sophomore year. I had a really great family, met some really awesome people. I just discovered a really great community, a “home-away-from-home.” But I think what really kept me in the club long-term was discovering the potential that Rotaract offered me in my personal-professional development both within the club and outside of it and discovering that Rotaract family, Rotaract network made it really meaningful to me.

Describe your involvement with Interact.

I was an Interactor at Monte Vista in Danville (5160 A11, not to be confused with Monta Vista in 5170 A12). It was a good experience, but I didn’t see it as an organization that offered me something beyond that. But when I got to college, Rotaract became an important part of my life. One, because of the social aspect and the community here and then also helping me in figuring out my career goals. I was in a business fraternity separate from this, but Rotaract offered me something a little different because I think since we’re here for the service, and that’s what draws people in, I think just having that core value means that even if we are doing different things, there’s that level of support where I don’t think I would’ve gotten anywhere else. I was in Toronto and I met other Rotaractors who also worked for my firm, from Canada, from Cyprus, from Pakistan. I think that that type of comraderie wouldn’t really exist in any other type of context. And for that I think that has made Rotaract really special because we’re all here for the right reasons and because of that, we’re willing to help each other out.

Are you currently involved with Rotary/Rotaract or other service projects? If yes, please describe a service project you’re involved in.

Currently, I sit on the board of directors for Big West Rotaract. It’s a multi-district information organization that connects Rotarct governors and supports Rotaract districts and clubs in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona. It’s a really great group of people. Being a part of that organization gives me the opportunity to give back and share my experiences within Rotaract and help other club leaders and enable them to carry out projects. Obviously my two areas of focus are Interact events and finance and admin issues. It’s a great way to stay involved after graduating. Big West actually started at UC Berkeley – we hosted the first Big West Conference here in 2010. And the conference will be coming back to Berkeley for the 10 year anniversary in October 2020!

What made you want to go beyond Cal Rotaract?

You know it’s kind of that same question I had when I left high school. So much of what I’ve experienced with Rotaract (and Interact) is defined by the place I was at and people I was with during the time I was there. I think what makes the Rotary programs really special and different than the other things we do in college is that it’s a family that extends beyond just your campus and just beyond a particular age range. And so because I’ve gotten so much out of it, that’s why I was looking at how I can stay involved and give back. For each stage of life, it’s very different. But certainly I think that what I love about the Rotary family is Interact and Rotaract. So there are ways that I can continue to provide support and training and guidance to future leaders and just give back to members with any challenges that they have. I definitely got a lot of professional guidance from Rotaract and Rotarians. That’s something that I’m happy to provide as well.

Describe your professional background.

I currently work as an auditor for Ernst and Young and am studying to become a CPA. But I’m probably not the kind of auditor or CPA you’re thinking of – I don’t deal with the IRS! Think about big public companies like Apple and Microsoft or recent IPOs like Lyft or Pinterest. These are companies you or I can buy shares and be part owners, but how do we know that the profits are real and if the company is being honest? It’s the auditors — someone who double checks the numbers and digs in to the finances, to decide if everything looks ok. So that way, when you buy a share from a company, you know that it’s real. Recently I got to work on the PagerDuty IPO and work with them as they transitioned from private to public.

What made you want to pursue this career?

Read my Daily Cal article

The nice thing about starting a career at a Big Four firm (Deloitte, EY, PwC, KPMG) is that the average person stays for on average, 2-3 years.  The opportunity to experience different industries and work with different clients opens lots of doors and gives me a skillset that can I can take with me and pivot to other things. Thirty percent of Fortune 500 CFO’s got their start at a Big 4 Firm. I don’t have to be an auditor for life; but who knows, maybe I’ll fall in love with the profession?

My advice to anyone who doesn’t know what they want to do: don’t worry too much about choosing the “perfect” first job. Prioritize employers that allow you to build a versatile skillset applicable to many things. And don’t be afraid to reach out to alumni for advice!