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Diversity & Inclusion with Kuvani Naidoo

How do you identify yourself?

I identify myself as a mother, supportive partner and professional.

What does inclusion mean to you?

Inclusion in respect of work to me means that people can come as they are irrespective of their background (i.e. culture, belief and ethnicity) and are able to work in a way that suits them.

What challenges did you experience, if any, in your career and how did you overcome them? 

I had people in the past “block” my progression in my career. I looked for a sponsor in my organisation who was willing to speak on my behalf in the room when I was not there. This makes a big difference to have someone who is supportive and in your corner.

What could others learn from your journey?

Always know and believe in your self-worth and value at every stage in your career journey. Be able to stand up for that belief as you will come across obstacles which will continuously want to knock you down. Only your belief will remove those obstacles.

How is Deloitte helping you build your career?

I joined Deloitte in November 2021. I fell pregnant during my three month notice period at my previous employer. I was very concerned that I would not be paid while I was on maternity leave as this is not standard practice especially in your first year of service at a company. In the first week of working at Deloitte, I told my employer I was pregnant, they were absolutely thrilled and I was paid and supported throughout my maternity leave. I returned from my maternity leave there was a maternity workshop which helped me transition back to work. This support as a parent is invaluable.

Inclusion in respect of work to me means that people can come as they are irrespective of their background (i.e. culture, belief and ethnicity) and are able to work in a way that suits them.

Do you have any mentors and if so, what is their value to you?

Yes I do but right now they are dispersed all over the world. A mentor is invaluable in terms of taking yourself out of a situation. As when you have a situation there is a lot of emotion especially from your side that gets mixed into it. Taking yourself out of the situation brings clarity.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned since you joined Deloitte?

Take people on the journey with you to achieve a goal.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a young female starting off their career?

Your career is a journey not a race and it’s not always smooth sailing. Find a work environment where you feel you are valued and belong (happy). The only person who can limit your career growth is yourself ,if you feel there is a glass ceiling and accept it, then it will exist. Do not work in a place which allows you room for growth at work with no time for personal growth or personal goals.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone relocating their life and career to Ireland?

Do your research around cost of living, housing shortages, etc. If you are relocating alone connect with someone in the firm (employer) before you come over: understand and get comfortable with transport routes, grocery stores, areas in the country. Most of all give yourself some time to settle into a country and take care of your mental health. Have open communications with your employer about your settling in situation so you can get some support if required. When you come over join Meetup Groups, Toastmasters, Book club, Foodie Groups, Running Club, whatever your interests are. This will help you integrate within the community.

What’s one piece of advice you would give a new parent/ caregiver trying to juggle their new life and career? 

Set boundaries and do it early enough. Make sure your employer knows about your external commitments especially to your family.

What do you see is the role of an ally/ what do you value most?

An ally is a person who is understanding of your differences and promotes acceptance of your differences in the workplace. Someone you trust and is able to understand that your circumstance is different and requires additional support.

Please describe inclusion in 5 words.

Belonging, welcomed, understanding, accepting, acknowledgement

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