Armand Lourens is one of those people who proves that you can have your cake – and eat it! He has a Master’s degree from North-West University, and studied at the University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne. He joined PwC as an International Trade Consultant in 2015, and at the beginning of 2017 was promoted to a project facilitator within the firm’s Culture and Strategic Digital Transformation projects, where he works on internal strategy alignment for the Africa firm.
“I’m so excited to be part of this team, which is headed up by our Southern Africa CEO, Dion Shango and our Strategic Digital Transformation Leader, Liesbeth Botha,” says Armand. “I’ve also received amazing coaching and mentoring from inspiring people throughout the firm.”
The team is focused on sharpening PwC’s competitive edge in the context of globalisation and the exponential changes that come with it.
“There’s so much trust and care in this organisation that I, as an openly gay man, feel comfortable sharing details of my life with my colleagues.”
“The aim is to embed our everyday work values and behaviours within the changes we’re making,” says Armand. “This includes simplifying our policies and processes to make it easier to develop a culture that encourages our people to build trust in society and solve the problems facing our clients, governments and communities.”
Armand says he feels at home at PwC. “People really care. There’s so much trust and care in this organisation that I, as an openly gay man, feel comfortable sharing details of my life with my colleagues. I don’t have to hide anything or be afraid that I could be given the cold shoulder. We’re such a diverse group of people and I truly believe that it’s this diversity that largely accounts for PwC’s success. When everybody comes from the same background, culture and point of view, you miss out on hearing different opinions and collaborating on innovative solutions.”
The onboarding process gets a big thumbs-up from Armand. “You meet all the other newbies and momentum is built up slowly until you’re so pumped up and excited that you just know that you’re part of a fantastic firm,” Armand explains. “You’re allocated a buddy who takes you around and introduces you to the other teams. I was lucky enough to recently become somebody’s buddy – Andiswa. I showed her around and wanted to make sure that she got the best possible welcome. I emphasised that this is her home and that this is where she will be acknowledged.”
Armand says that PwC’s refreshed values resonate with him in a big way.
“Act with integrity; make a difference; care; work together; reimagine the possible. These values act as a compass for my life; they completely match my own values.”
Understanding why you’re working at PwC is very important. “By understanding the purpose of your work, you come to understand the vision. And for that to happen, you need the right values,” says Armand.