Workplace Leaders
Cooper Parry
Head of Learning, Diversity & Inclusion

Eryn Frost

In the ever-changing world of business, pushing boundaries is not only necessary but imperative for success. No one knows this better than Eryn Frost, Head of Learning, Diversity, and Inclusion at the innovative accounting firm Cooper Parry.

Eryn met with Luke James, Co-Host of The Interview, to discuss her company’s unique culture, her work with diversity and inclusion and the challenge of upholding a company’s values whilst pursuing its commercial interests. 

Eryn's Journey

Luke: Can you give a brief introduction to yourself and your current organisation?

I’m the Head of Learning, Diversity, and Inclusion at Cooper Parry. We’re the rebels of accountancy, always pushing the boundaries as a business. 

Luke: The rebels of accountancy? That’s certainly a unique way to describe your business!

We have a unique culture. We have unlimited holidays, and we’re starting 100-80-100 — it’s a more flexible version of the four-day week. Everyone wears what they want: our offices are colourful and fun, we have swings, pool tables and a candy wall. We like to do things our own way, creating an environment where people can work hard and play hard. 

Luke: Interesting. We’ll definitely have to come back to a few of those points. So what led you to your current role? 

I’ve always loved learning and development, and I’m happy to be in a position where I can help people. I’m a really curious person: I love to delve in and find out what makes people tick. My husband works at Cooper Parry too, and he was always telling me how wonderful it is. So, I was desperate to work here and be part of the culture. I’d hate to be part of an organisation that’s stagnant. Forward momentum, bravery, and curiosity are all things that I look for in a business. 

Luke: How has your time in learning and development influenced the work that you’re doing now in diversity and inclusion? 

The landscape of diversity and inclusion is constantly changing: to respond to that we need to be adaptable, curious and challenge the status quo. Learning is a natural extension of D&I, it is about gaining a greater understanding of people and what makes them feel heard, seen and supported.  

Luke: So, how do you open up those conversations? How can we make people feel comfortable talking about difficult topics?

Every month, we highlight a different issue. For example, this month, we’ve been talking about eating disorders. Rather than just signpost to an informative website, we’re inviting people to share their experiences. Three incredibly brave colleagues came forward to tell their stories — one wrote her story down, one made a video, and one wrote a poem. So there are lots of ways to engage with a topic to make it accessible to everyone. 

Luke: That’s an interesting approach. Are there any other initiatives you’re working on around inclusion?

We have a committee to decide how to focus our inclusion efforts: we now have about 14 members from across the business. Last year, we had a whole Neurodiversity Month — that gave some of our employees the courage to come forward. We’re encouraging our people to explore neurodiversity: the NHS waiting list is now about three years, so we’re offering private consultations for anyone who might need a professional diagnosis, especially our graduates who may need additional support during exams. 

Luke: On The Interview, many leaders have been talking about the challenges of making these topics engaging for all employees. What’s your approach to getting everyone involved?

I think it’s about having different touch-points. In-person workshops, informational posters in the toilets, posts on Teams, fundraising focuses and efforts. Make it feel part of the everyday rather than a monthly communication. Make it personal. We are more likely to connect to a topic if we know it impacts or is important to someone we work with, we know.  

Luke: Cooper Parry is growing quickly, and you’ve made a few acquisitions recently. How can you maintain a sense of inclusion and belonging when you’re expanding so fast?

That’s the challenge that most excites me. When I think about inclusivity, I think about our culture. What do you feel and experience as soon as you walk into one of our offices. People being themselves. I am not saying we are perfect, we have work to do, but we are starting from a position of come as you are. We are growing, but as long as we maintain our values and our pledge to develop into a strengths-based organisation, I believe we can continue to build our inclusive approach.  

We are growing, but as long as we maintain our values and our pledge to develop into a strengths-based organisation, I believe we can continue to build our inclusive approach.  
Luke: How do you align your diversity and inclusion work with the broader commercial goals of your business?

I don’t want to think of them as two separate goals, the commercial side and D&I. To be successful, we need to blend the two, ideally, they should be seamless. How we act, think and work to achieve those commercial goals should be aligned with inclusive working practices. We’ve just become B-Corp Certified — a large part of keeping that certification involves maintaining the work we already doing in D&I.  

Luke: There seems to be a language gap between those who are commercially focused and people who are involved in diversity and inclusion. How can we bridge that gap?

Find common ground. Build an understanding of the business benefits of an inclusive and diverse workforce. D&I is the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense. The data and research supports the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance.

Quick-fire Question

Luke: What’s the most important book you’ve read?

I’ve just read the Wim Hof Method, and it’s changed my life. It led me on such a powerful journey. Just don’t go jumping into ice water without learning about it first!

Curious to see what the future of training looks like?
Luke James
Luke works hand-in-hand with leaders and changemakers in our professional services markets. If you want to join the next series of The Interview, or just learn more about GoodCourse, then get in touch at

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