At Deloitte, 50% of new hires are currently women, and going forward the company obviously wants to see the same gender balance organization-wide, all the way up to partner level. To retain talented women, Deloitte has set up a Female Mentoring Program that pairs up women in management positions with directors and partners. Highly recommended, say mentee Esther Schagen-van Luit and mentor Emeric van Waes.
Esther, Junior Manager Cyber Security for Deloitte’s Risk Advisory service, joined Deloitte four years ago. She helps large organizations identify and address security risks in their digital environment. She is also an ambassador for women in IT. ‘I signed up for the Female Mentoring Program to take my own personal growth to the next level, but also to become a better coach for the consultants in my team.’
She was given a directory with names and profiles of some 80 mentors. ‘I was spoilt for choice!’ Esther exclaims. ‘But Emeric’s profile caught my eye – I could have written it myself.’
"I signed up to take my own personal growth to the next level, but also to become a better coach for the consultants in my team."
Emeric, partner Consulting, has been with Deloitte since 2007. He is a strategic advisor to large banks and responsible for all Consulting services to financial sector clients. ‘I signed up as a mentor for women in management positions because I think it’s important to support female talent in making the most of the career opportunities that Deloitte offers.’
The Female Mentoring Program is a one-year package of speaker events, networking sessions and, most importantly, monthly one-on-ones of an hour with the mentor. ‘Employees already have a formal coach to discuss their projects, performance and training needs with. The mentor’s role is a much more informal one,’ Emeric explains. ’You’re not in the same team as your mentee. So discussions are far wider ranging. They’re about the long term, experiences, lessons in life.’
Lessons in life
‘One of the things I wanted to know is what it’s like to be a partner in Deloitte,’ says Esther. ‘When you join Deloitte, it’s just taken for granted that you have the ambition to become a partner, but I didn’t necessarily have that urge.’
Esther and Emeric have had three one-on-ones so far, over lunch outside the office. ‘Until now, we’ve always ended up overrunning our time, so I would rate our chats as a success,’ Esther grins. ‘We’ve discussed my performance review, and on the basis of that we’ve identified a career goal and developed a plan with practical steps to reach that goal.’
‘In our mentoring talks, the focus is not at all on “women’s problems”, but rather on the challenges that all young managers face,’ says Emeric. ‘The Female Mentoring Program gives women that little nudge they may need to navigate career bumps, by giving them access to the expertise and life skills of experienced partners.’
"‘The Female Mentoring Program gives women that little nudge they may need to navigate career bumps, by giving them access to the expertise and life skills of experienced partners."
Both warmly recommend the Female Mentoring Program. ‘I’ve found that sparring with younger colleagues gives me a lot of satisfaction,’ says Emeric. ‘I have several mentees, and the challenges are quite varied. I’ve discovered how valuable my experience is for others, and enjoy sharing it – without talking down to them like a proverbial Dutch uncle.’
‘Alongside my coach’s advice, given from his point of view, I can now also place feedback from Emeric, who looks at situations from a very different angle. This gives me a broader and more balanced perspective on the issues I come up against,’ Esther explains. ‘Also, Emeric’s stories have convinced me how exciting a long career with Deloitte can be. There will be plenty of challenges along the way, but good advice from peers, coaches and mentors makes the road to the top a lot easier.’