Five colleagues pinpoint cross-border initiatives as a way to enhance their careers.
Professionals who are early in their careers typically don’t interact regularly with senior leadership or contribute to high-profile, global initiatives. It usually takes several years for those types of career-enhancing opportunities to come knocking.
Deloitte is looking to change that through a program that was launched in November 2010 – the U.S. Global Office (USGO) Fellows Program. “We want to give the next generation of Deloitte leaders the chance to understand the realities of operating a borderless enterprise and be involved in shaping the future of our organization,” says senior manager Amanda Hale. “Through this program, high-performing professionals at the manager level and below get to work closely with senior leadership, build a cross-border network and play an active role in helping to secure Deloitte’s leadership position globally.”
The USGO Fellows have an opportunity to see how Deloitte differentiates itself in the marketplace, while strengthening their project management, analytics, modeling and financial reporting skills. Work done by the fellows is leveraged by senior leadership groups such as the U.S. managing partner of global, the Global Committee of the U.S. Board, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) leadership and executives of other member firms. Together with their USGO colleagues, they provide strategic information to support executive decision-making, help solve problems and drive transparency around cross-border investments.
Professionals from all functions and enabling areas in the U.S. and the other Americas Region member firms (Brazil, Canada, Caribbean/Bermuda Cluster, Chile, Latin American Countries Organization and Mexico) are encouraged to apply. Each fellow serves a three- to six-month rotation in which they are assigned to work primarily on one of three focus areas: the Americas Cooperation Agreement – a commitment among the seven Americas member firms designed to strengthen Deloitte’s leadership position in the region; “priority markets” such as China and India that have potential for high growth; or global programs such as the As One strategy. The USGO operates as a virtual team, so relocation is not required – team members communicate online and meet via videoconferencing.
Soon after the program was announced, more than 60 professionals applied. Following a rigorous selection process, five professionals – Marta Gomez, Eric He, Kathleen Hooker, Tristan Relly and Shantanu Samant – were chosen as the first group of USGO Fellows, working from November 2010 through May 2011.
“This is an outstanding way for professionals who are early in their career to gain global experience,” says Bob Chapman, managing partner, Global. “As we strive to operate without borders, experience in the global arena will prepare them to serve clients with distinction. Whether it is through the USGO Fellows Program, a client project or a global deployment, all professionals are encouraged to develop a cross-border network and learn about how we work together ‘As One’ with other member firms.”
Operating “As One” means bringing the right resources to tackle every challenge without regard for geographic or business borders. “The USGO Fellows Program reflects this approach by bringing together talent from across the organization to focus on high-impact initiatives that helps position Deloitte for continued success in a rapidly changing global environment,” says Hale. “It’s exciting to look back and see the notable contributions the fellows made to these efforts. It’s even more exciting to see the impact the program has had on them.”
Since joining the Canada member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, Hooker, a Tax senior analyst, has worked in the Toronto and Winnipeg offices. As part of the Tax Management Consulting Group, she helped clients with corporate compliance work. Hooker has also done some tax planning during her time in Winnipeg, where she typically worked with smaller, private companies.
As part of her USGO Fellows experience, Hooker opted to deploy to the U.S. Firms and work in the USGO’s New York office during her six-month rotation. “I was interested in the USGO Fellows Program because I saw it as a great opportunity to learn about our crossborder strategy and better understand how we operate as a global organization,” she says. “Having the chance to be in New York and see firsthand how we operate makes me proud to be part of a network of people committed to being the best at what they do.”
Hooker was active in developing key reports and providing analysis to leaders on a variety of projects. For example, Hooker collaborated with the Americas Client Growth Initiative, U.S. India, Global Clients and Global Learning to compile best practices on industry programs, cross-border Lead Client Service Partner (LCSP) Summits and LCSP development programs. This information was used by U.S. and global leadership in its strategic planning.
Hooker believes that this experience has strengthened her leadership skills, made her a better communicator and improved her organizational skills. “It’s been a fantastic experience and has been a wonderful opportunity to work with exceptional leaders on the USGO team.”
When not at work… Hooker is an avid runner and also plays a mean game of badminton. Hailing from Canada, it’s not surprising that she is a hockey fan, and she looks forward to returning home to be with her seven siblings and other family members during her personal time off.
Function: Deloitte Financial Advisory Services
Office: Cayman Islands
Originally from South Africa, Relly is a Deloitte Financial Advisory Services (FAS) manager in the Caribbean/Bermuda Cluster member firm. Part of the Corporate Finance and Valuations team, he periodically assists the Forensic and Dispute Services group as well.
Relly says he found the opportunity to become a USGO Fellow intriguing because he believes that raising awareness of the Americas strategy and its potential for the future is important for Deloitte. “I also enjoy strategic thinking,” he says. “The creative approach in developing new services and figuring out how to bring them to market interests me.”
That’s probably why Relly found himself drawn to “As One,” a strategy designed to help Deloitte secure and widen its leadership position globally. “I’m a huge fan of the concept,” he says. “It’s revolutionary in its application, and it’s a robust model that ensures our entire global organization is pulling in the same direction.”
Relly was also involved in Deloitte Analytics, the practice of using data to drive business strategy and performance; it includes a range of approaches and solutions, from looking to the past to forward-looking scenario planning and predictive modeling. “This is a cutting-edge product that takes what we’ve historically done as problem-solvers and raises it to the next level,” he says. “I hope to be able to bring this to the Cayman Islands. It’s at the frontier of what’s happening.”
When not at work… Relly spends a lot of time outdoors, typically kitesurfing, rock climbing or practicing photography. When indoors, Relly spends his time researching investments, promoting his father’s book on the future of global healing methods and practicing yoga.
Gomez joined the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited member firm in Spain in 2001. More than four years ago she moved to the U.S. as part of Deloitte’s Global Development Program, accepting an opportunity to join the U.S. Firms permanently at the end of her assignment in the Chicago office.
When she became a USGO Fellow, Gomez was working as a manager for Audit Enterprise Risk Services (AERS) Advisory’s Finance Operations & Controls Transformation Market Offering. She was advising clients on improving their operating efficiencies and making changes to their organizations, processes and systems to improve the overall value of finance. Today, she serves Deloitte internally as a manager in the finance department of Tax.
The USGO Fellows Program appealed to Gomez because she saw an opportunity to do things she’d never done before. “In finance you focus on the numbers and your work is very process-driven,” she says. “As USGO Fellows, we dealt with broad, strategic issues. It’s really taken me out of my comfort zone.”
And it’s provided her with a greater understanding of Deloitte by challenging her to think about things she wasn’t normally exposed to in her client-service role. “It’s been great working with senior partners – seeing how they think,” says Gomez. “I now have a better understanding of the challenges we face and what’s important for the continuing success of our organization.”
Gomez appreciates the opportunity she had to work on a project for the Americas Region. She says it was the first time since joining the U.S. Firms that her bilingual skills were of real value. She helped assess how each member firm in the Americas Region currently uses the industry experience of professionals in its practice and how an industry strategy could benefit the entire region. “It was exciting to be part of the team that researched the opportunities for expanding and strengthening the industry-based approach across the region. We outlined what it would take to get a regional industry strategy up and running and pitched the idea to senior leadership. It was a fantastic experience.”
When not at work… you may find Gomez traveling back to her home country, Spain, with her husband, Juan, to visit family and friends. She also likes to entertain guests who are visiting America in her adopted hometown, Chicago.
Function: Audit & Enterprise Risk Services
Office: New York
In 2005, He joined the China member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL). Two years later, he moved to New York and is currently a manager in the AERS Advisory Finance Operations & Controls Transformation Market Offering.
His interest in becoming a USGO Fellow hinged on a single word: global. “That was the key,” He says. “I saw an opportunity to work with DTTL’s priority markets, especially the China member firm, where I got my start. I really wanted to be involved in helping to strengthen the practices in these high-growth markets.”
The priority markets each have a “transformation team” in charge of overseeing targeted investments. He worked closely with the China transformation team, monitoring DTTL’s investments in China, analyzing the financial and operational performance of the U.S.-China Consulting Joint Venture, and collaborating with the International and Asian Business Resource Groups to promote awareness of deployment and transfer opportunities in China. He also assessed the alignment between the priority-market investment and the “As One” strategy, two of DTTL’s most significant global initiatives. “I was involved with projects that provided me with insight into how Deloitte operates on a global scale and outlined the future path of our organization,” He says. “Being a USGO Fellow is the only way I would have been involved in these activities at this point in my career.”
Particularly important to He are the skills he’s improved that will apply directly to his client-service work. “The work I did with the priority markets required collaboration with professionals from various cultures, functions and regions of the world, so that improved my ability to manage different points of view and strengthened my communications skills.”
When not at work… He likes hitting the road – he’s been to every continent but Antarctica – and capturing his travels through photography. He says he enjoys visiting places that challenge him physically.
Samant joined the U.S. Firms in 2008 after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology. A consultant, he normally works on large SAP implementation projects.
In Samant’s client-service role, his work is, by nature, detail-oriented and focused on the unique challenges of a specific client. While he enjoys technical problem-solving, Samant saw the USGO Fellows Program as an opportunity to enhance and broaden his skill set. “As a fellow, I had the opportunity to help monitor Deloitte’s cross-border operations and identify issues,” he says. “In looking at things from a broader business perspective, I have a greater understanding of how our organization operates. It’s made me a better professional.”
Samant was assigned to support financial reporting and FY12 planning for U.S. crossborder investments. He points to improvements in managing his time and increased comfort in “managing up” as key takeaways from his experience. “The relationships you build and contacts you make are great benefits,” he says. “With access to senior partners, you gain insight into what it takes to run a global organization. That’s an opportunity not typical for someone with my level of experience.”
As a native of Mumbai, Samant particularly enjoyed working on the India One Consulting initiative, which is designed to enhance collaboration between the Deloitte India and U.S. India Consulting practices to bolster Deloitte’s competitive position in the Indian market. Samant managed the initiative’s investment tracking work stream. “Working with colleagues from other member firms and other functions really reinforced for me the importance of our global focus,” he says. “This experience was exactly what I hoped it would be.
When not at work… Samant is an avid reader and enjoys travel – especially if it gives him the chance to go hiking. When he’s on the road, he typically takes along his camera, looking for a perfect shot. He was excited when his home country recently won the Cricket World Cup.