Taxi issues to start the day? Not for this guy. I was headed to the E&Y office on Avenida Juscelino Kubitschek which is a very large office building with several towers of offices in it. However, along the way sitting in the backseat of the taxi, I saw one of the funniest things of my life. Stopped at a red light it was perfect time for "People Watching", one of my favorite pastimes. I saw a girl smoking a cigarette leaning against a wall while waiting for a bus. The top of the wall was adorned with flowers and plants in pots, which flowed down the other side of the wall to a nice shop. There was a gardener watering the flowers in the flower beds on the ground. What happened next?
Thats right, he pulled out a gun. Just kidding, you guys think Sao Paulo is some sort of dangerous city, while its no more dangerous than any other city ranked among the top 10 in size. But in all seriousness, you guessed it, he began to water the flowers and plants on top of the water and the girl was sprayed with a decent amount of water. Good stuff.
I arrived at the office around 9am and headed to the visitors section of the entrance. After a few quick exchanges of Portuguese and English, I was waved through and given a visitor badge. Tip: If you want a visitor badge at a large office building, just use a different language than they understand and carry a portfolio that has a company name that is located in the building on it. I headed up the elevator of Tower 1 to Floor 5 and realized my Ernst & Young "One Badge" did not work at the door. This Badge is suppose to let us in any office in the world but apparently they have not integrated Brazil yet. The door suddenly opened and I was greeted at the door. I was then shown to a cube that I could call my home for the day, located outside of the Human Resources department. I was there for a meeting regarding the E&Y CR Fellows program with our city contacts, HR, and the Brazil mobility team. I unpacked my things and quickly realized that I forgot my power cord. What did I do? I asked for a power cord.
Computer turned on, check. Internet Connection, check. Power cord, check. Im ready to start my day. I find the location of the water cooler and overhear what I refer to as a "Portuguese Sneeze". No, that is not some crazy mixed liquor drink, but a girl was talking on the phone and while talking sneezed about 4 or 5 times in a row while trying to complete her sentence. It was awesome and another laugh for the day. I did not realize how big the Sao Paulo office is for E&Y. There are actually 3 locations, one is the original E&Y office location, one is the E&Y education center, and the other is the former Terco office building which is now a part of Ernst & Young after the merger in 2010. After the merger Ernst & Young's name in Brazil became Ernst & Young Terco, building upon the strong brand of E&Y globally and also the Brazilian national brand of Terco.
There are over 3,500 employees in Ernst & Young Terco in Brazil and is growing at a rapid rate, as many foreign companies continue to invest in this market. In addition, Entrepreneurs like the one I am assisting, are growing their companies into multinational companies. The E&Y brand is so strong in the Brazilian market, E&Y has been selected the "Official Service Provider for the 2016 Olympics Games" hosted by Brazil. If you would like to read more about this important alliance between Ernst & Young and The Olympic Games, you can read this external press release from the Olympics and also our external press release from E&Y.
Don't worry, I am already trying to figure out how I can 1) come back on an E&Y assignment for the Olympics or 2) play on Team USA and help us win the gold medal in Men's Basketball. Im not sure the latter is possible so I will find a way to complete the #1.
I was able to meet a lot of new people today and the network within E&Y is incredible. One of the people that I started with at E&Y, Jenn Portues, is currently doing a 2 year rotation on the US Tax Desk in London. While there she worked with a Paulista, what Sao Paulo's citizens are called, Felipe Fortes. I met up with Felipe and planned a great lunch which was at Bar Des Arts. This place has to be the single coolest place Ive ever eaten lunch, or any other meal for that matter. Seriously, see for yourself on their website by clicking on that orange link you just passed over.Yes I know the website is in Portuguese but just click around and look at the pictures or you can even do a "g" image search.
We hurried back to the office from our elegant lunch just in time to make our afternoon meeting with the Mobility Team, HR, and our Peer Mentors while in Brazil. In the meeting we learned more about the history of Brazil which truly defines its people and culture. As stated in an earlier post, everyone looks different even though they share a common bond of faith (not neccessarily the same religion, but rather a positive outlook) and of course, "Brazilian" Portuguese. I am still convinced that every man above the age of 8 knows some sort of martial arts to the ability of Anderson Silva, Shogun Rua, or Lyoto Machida. It was a great meeting where we got to know a lot more people in the office and increase our network within Sao Paulo and E&Y.
After the meeting we worked for a couple of hours and headed out to Dinner with the Ernst & Young expatriots down here on a 3 month rotation. We met at Bar do Juarez for a beer and dinner and then after that, it was back to the hotel to write this blog and plot my plan to ensure I am back down here for the 2016 Olympics (and the 2014 World Cup!).