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Ed Heys
Ed Heys

Business isn’t all about products, services and bottom lines. It can also act as a catalyst for change. Ed Heys (BBA '83), Atlanta and Birmingham managing partner at Deloitte LLP, shared his views about making business and community work together at the Aug. 20 Terry Third Thursday Speaker Series event in Buckhead.

“When I think of the things I’m proud of, it’s really our commitment to people,” Heys said. “And one of the ways I measure what we’ve done around people is that we’ve invested in what we call ‘Deloitte University’ in Dallas. It’s an 850-room hotel and conference that we built. It’s been a cultural changer for us. It’s a central place we have common learning experiences. It’s been a great investment for our firm.”

Heys manages a 2,300-employee operation that spans audit, tax, consulting and advisory services as well as a range of client work in the consumer and industrial products, financial services, healthcare and technology industries.

Deloitte’s success, he said, stems in part from its place within the communities it serves. The company prides itself on increasing the diversity of its workforce and giving back – through money and service – to organizations that serve community needs.

“We close down our office one day each year for what we call Impact Day,” Heys said. “We started this in Atlanta and now it’s a national program in 80 cities across the nation. We close down one day in June and go out into the community and work on projects that range from hard work, manual labor sorts of things to skills-based volunteerism. We think the best way we can give back to the community is skills-based volunteerism, helping other organizations be more effective. In June about 1,600 of our people worked on 30 different sites in the community. We’ve done this for 16 years, and we’re proud of the impact that we’ve had.”

Skills-based volunteering means that Deloitte treats nonprofit and community organizations like clients, helping them create new strategies and revenue models that increase their effectiveness. But the help doesn’t stop there.

“As business leaders, I think there’s an agreement in the room about the importance of public education. It’s a big issue for us,” Heys said. “I think it’s something that the business community can be involved with to have a significant impact. I don’t think there’s anything more important than a pipeline of really good, qualified employees to join our workforce here in Atlanta and in our state.”

To that end, Deloitte has partnered with several programs and organizations, such as College Summit, City Year and Courageous Principals, that strengthen public education.

“We want to find organizations that are having an impact and working effectively, and then try to figure out how we can help them increase their impact on the education community,” Heys said. “My ask of you is to get involved. Look for ways to be involved in the community around education because it’s our No. 1 issue.” 

The next Terry Third Thursday speaker is Terry College Dean Ben Ayers. He will speak Sept. 17 on the topic of “Life's Lessons: How the Past Shapes the Present & Future." Details about the event can be found at terry.uga.edu/ttt.