As Rebecca Wei Jiang has advanced in her career at Deloitte, she feels like she’s experienced the exploration, trial and error, and — most of all — triumph of putting together a huge jigsaw puzzle.
“When I try new things, step into new roles, and stretch myself, it’s like I discover a new puzzle piece — a part of myself I often wasn’t aware of,” Rebecca says. “But it ends up being a perfect fit! It’s so important to take on new challenges, so we can find these other sides of ourselves and grow. It’s really fulfilling and exciting.”
Rebecca, a lead partner for Risk Advisory in Deloitte China, wasn’t always so open to taking professional risks. But she took a chance on a career opportunity more than two decades ago at Deloitte — when she was offered a chance to join the firm’s newly formed Enterprise Risk Services (now Risk Advisory) business.
Previously a top performer in Deloitte China’s audit function, Rebecca was hesitant to take on a new role, where she would be performing different activities and working with different types of clients: business leaders, outside of the finance function.
“The partner I worked with at that time said he trusted that I could do well and asked me whether I would like to try together with him in this new area, and I was really touched,” Rebecca says. “I was also thinking, ‘Why shouldn’t I try? I need to push myself a little bit and step out of my comfort zone.’”
She took a risk that paid off, and the rest is history. Rebecca has spent 25 years at Deloitte — 22 of them in the field of risk. And as Deloitte celebrates its Women in Risk Advisory, Rebecca stands out as a passionate, accomplished, results-driven leader — who not only challenges herself, but also encourages others to embrace new challenges and opportunities.
A Day in the Life
For Rebecca, there’s no such thing as a typical workday at Deloitte; each day brings something new.
“A lot of people ask what’s kept me at Deloitte for so long,” she says. “One reason is that it’s allowed me to continuously learn. Continuous learning enables me to keep and develop my passions. I’ve gotten to explore new things and be successful in different areas.”
In her role, Rebecca leads the accounting and internal controls portfolio for Deloitte China and Deloitte’s Asia-Pacific operations. She’s also a board member of the Deloitte China firm. Rebecca also serves as lead client service partner (LCSP) and lead business partner (LBP) for several of Deloitte China’s strategic accounts.
“Another thing I love about working in Deloitte is the ability to deliver value to clients — resolving their issues and pain points,” Rebecca says. “I’m always inspired when I can be of help to others: both clients and colleagues, as well. And while providing value, I can learn. So, I’m absorbing new things and then using that knowledge to help others. It’s a very beautiful thing.”
Rebecca notes that in recent years, clients have been most interested in advice and support around the future of controls, digital transformation, and how to identify and mitigate risks during the digital transformation journey — a process that the COVID-19 pandemic expedited for companies across the globe.
“Before COVID, many clients weren’t accustomed to virtual meetings,” Rebecca says. “They’re used to them now; the work style has changed significantly to support remote and hybrid workforces. And for us at Deloitte, the way we engage with clients — and even find and manage talent — has changed as well, to support more flexible arrangements.”
Embracing Other Challenges
For Rebecca, joining Risk Advisory wasn’t the only time she stepped out of her comfort zone in her job. In particular, she found herself embracing professional challenges when she pursued — and accepted — two secondment opportunities in other Deloitte office locations.
Rebecca spent more than two years in Australia (2015-2016), working as the Chinese Service Group (CSG) leader for Deloitte Australia Firm, before returning to China to resume her Risk Advisory role.
“In Australia, the nature of the work was very new to me,” Rebecca says. “The experience gave me a totally different perspective, and I explored another side of myself. In looking at how to liaison between our China and Australia firms to provide excellent services to clients, I learned a lot I could apply in my future career.”
Much earlier in her career at Deloitte, Rebecca went on her first secondment — to Deloitte’s London, UK office. Although she was still doing Risk Advisory work there, the new environment took some getting used to.
“I was a bit nervous at first,” Rebecca shares. “I was working in a totally different place, with colleagues and clients in diversified culture. And although my English wasn’t bad at the time — and has since gotten stronger — it’s not my first language. It was an exciting environment, but definitely a challenge for me too.”
Plus, as she set out for extended work in the London office, Rebecca was juggling another “first” and experiencing a major milestone… as she had her 10-month-old son in tow!
Rebecca acknowledges that childrearing can take a village. She appreciates the support that her husband — who accompanied her on the secondments — parents, and in-laws provided.
“I’m grateful I got support to help balance my career development and personal life,” Rebecca says. “And receiving support, or having support mechanisms in place, is often very important to women in their careers. Companies need to have flexible arrangements, options, and choices that allow women to grow in their professions, while balancing family and personal life. At Deloitte, we accommodate personal needs during career development, which helps many people thrive and succeed.”
Rebecca notes another key part of success: having time to pursue interests outside of work and “recharge.” She particularly enjoys traveling — and using business travel to find nearby places to explore — reading, and spending time with her family, including her two lovely dogs.
“I remind myself not to work until too late, and I think hobbies and downtime are very important,” she shares. “Work-life balance isn’t just about time management; it’s also finding ways to manage and release pressure, if you have any. If you’re feeling really tired, do use your interest to relax and reset yourself a bit. This also keeps you refreshed and energized for your work ahead.”
Advice for Leaders
Rebecca shares that managers and leaders have a role to play in modeling and promoting balance — and also in fostering an environment where people are encouraged and empowered to contribute.
“Leaders, trust your teams,” she notes. “A team effort is always much more effective than one person, or the leader, trying to take on everything.”
She continues: “I also think we’re stepping into a new era in Risk Advisory that benefits greatly from a diversified skillset within teams. We have people with different backgrounds and experiences, who all have valuable perspectives to offer. When people feel they are included, they’re more willing to contribute. That’s the essence of an inclusive culture, and it’s what we promote at Deloitte.”
Rebecca notes that leaders can also support their employees’ career development by prioritizing check-ins, encouraging their efforts, and — in particular — recognizing a job well done. Positive feedback is meaningful from managers and leaders, and especially impactful when it comes from a client.
“I still remember vividly a moment from years ago, when our team did a year-long engagement with a Chinese automotive company,” Rebecca recalls. “We helped them build a risk management framework and a roadmap for addressing their top 10 risks. When we did the final round of reporting to the company’s top management, the chairman turned to us and said:
‘Selecting Deloitte was the right choice. You really understand us. This is the best consulting project we’ve ever done.’”
Rebecca continues: “With those words, the whole team was really excited and I felt all the hard work was worthwhile. A team member said he almost burst into tears. That type of feedback is impressive and motivating, and it really sticks with you.”
Fitting More Puzzle Pieces Together
Being open to new challenges and opportunities can lead to moments of triumph like that one. And for Rebecca, pursuing a career in risk has led to great payoffs.
“Throughout my career, I’ve intentionally tried to make choices to seek out challenges, be more open, and connect with more people. This approach has helped not only in my job but in my personal life as well. When I face new opportunities, I often ask myself: ‘Is this helpful? Am I going to develop something new through this? Is there something I can learn?’ That’s a way I push myself to step into new areas.”
It’s an approach she encourages other women to consider, too.
“As women professionals, we can strive to be braver,” Rebecca says. “Only you allow yourself to try new things. And when you do, you’ll have more opportunities and chances for growth. You may find another piece that fits in your puzzle.”
View Deloitte’s Women in Risk Advisory series