oliviaOlivia MacDonald, Senior Associate, PwC

My name is Olivia MacDonald. I am 22 years old and I live in Ireland.

I am passionate about education and youth engagement. Growing up, I was lucky that if I had difficulty in a class, there were sufficient resources and supports available. This is not a luxury afforded to all, something I was oblivious to before attending college. Here, I realised my privilege and wanted to return something to my community. This lead to my involvement in a number of youth organisations. Since graduating from college, I’ve realised the important role professionals can play in society. I hope to use my qualifications in accountancy to highlight the impact Chartered Accountants can have on worldwide issues, reaching further than business. Chartered Accountants have the skills, network and resources to make a real difference in areas that their members are passionate about. This is something I have already seen in action and hope to inspire my fellow Chartered Accountants to engage with.

Throughout my adult life, I have devoted my free time to youth engagement. This began with homework and school completion programmes organised by Waterford IT. In 2014, I was awarded the opportunity to travel to Washington DC with the Washington Ireland Program. Here I worked with Citizens for Tax Justice, volunteered with DC Central Kitchen and Life Pieces to Masterpieces, and received incredible leadership training. On returning home, the most important thing from the program is using your new skills and experience to impact the world around you. This lead to not only volunteering in organisations, but actually leading the sessions. Before heading to Washington I 100% would not have been able to do this and it is such an important skill. Acknowledging that even with a degree from a great college I was still missing important skills such as public speaking, event coordination and so on inspired me to launch Junior Chambers International in the South East. This is the largest professional network for young people internationally. Almost every major city in the world is represented yet barely anyone in Ireland seems to know what it is! While it’s still a work in progress, we’ve already held great events on success, LinkedIn and public speaking. I’m really hoping through JCI people will be able to gain real life working skills.