MATCH MADE: Q&A with Belinda Pestanas mentee, Lauren Tanenbaum, Tax Services Manager, EY.

Author:Pestanas, Belinda
Position:LATINAS: ERNST & YOUNG - Interview

WHAT IS your current role at EY and how did you become interested in this field?

I am currently a manager in the International Tax Practice. Whether it be cross-border transactions, local country/withholding issues or foreign tax credit planning, there are so many different technical areas to grasp within international tax. The more I've immersed myself into the field, the more passionate I have become about helping clients to be as strategic as possible when it comes to their non-US operations.

How did you connect with Belinda? Did she help define what you want to achieve through you career?

Belinda has been an incredible mentor to me for over 10 years--before we even began working together at EY. Over the years, she has introduced me to numerous colleagues, clients, friends and various leaders within the Tax Services practice. When I first mentioned to Belinda that I wanted to work in the international tax group, she immediately hopped on the phone to find a spot for me on the team, which resulted in the opportunity to oversee some of her accounts. Belinda has spent countless hours ensuring that I have all of the necessary tools to be successful and that I am in a position to provide exceptional services to our clients.

What is the level of obligation and responsibility that comes with having a mentor? Does this push you to be an asset and take ownership of your own career path?

Whether or not someone has a mentor should not impact the level of effort that goes into pursuing an ideal career path. I think everyone needs to take responsibility for their own futures. A great mentor can give you direction and motivation--you have to bring yourself to the finish line.

What is the single most valuable piece of advice that Belinda has shared with you? How would you define her leadership style?

There are two pieces of advice Belinda has shared with me over the course of her mentorship. First, the key to success is to surround myself (at all times) with the right mentors and the right subject matter experts. Second, Belinda stressed the importance of prioritizing my work/life balance. In terms of her leadership style, Belinda has a "tough love" working style, which has allowed me to become a more independent...

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