Empowering women to make the most of female talent
'Diversity and inclusion are two sides of the same coin'
In order to make a difference to our clients, we make no distinction when it comes to talent
Working with a diverse client base? And with a diverse team of colleagues?
Dora Makai and Esther de Zeeuw, two young women who’ve been with Deloitte Netherlands for several years now, have nothing but praise for the opportunities the company gives them. But they do believe in the added value of the Deloitte Women’s Network – and are active team members of this network.
Dora, born and raised in Hungary, joined Deloitte Belgium out of university five years ago, and has since made three career steps and a cross-border move to become a Senior Tax Management Consultant in the Netherlands. ’It’s a misconception that Big-4 accountancy firms are an unfriendly environment for women, although we’re still outnumbered by men. At Deloitte, I feel valued for my own unique skills and am given every opportunity to contribute.
Bridge the gap
The behaviour of men and women may differ, but we all face challenges. We notice that at a certain point in the career of Deloitte women, they either stop advancing, or they resign, especially from manager positions and higher. With the Deloitte Women’s Network we want to bridge this gap by creating a safe and supportive environment for women.’
Esther joined Deloitte three years ago as an analyst and is now Consultant Strategy & Operations. She agrees with Dora, adding, ‘Women are often more self-critical and tend to take fewer risks than men. So perhaps women think that Deloitte isn’t for them because of the high pace at work. However, a good work-life balance is definitely possible at Deloitte. The added value of the Deloitte Women’s Network is that women learn from other women that it can be done. Among other things, the network organizes workshops, promotion sessions, and recruitment events.’
Despite the equal opportunities they’ve experienced, they both feel that the Deloitte Women’s Network has added value. Dora: ‘The network supports you with things like speaking up for yourself and optimizing your work-life balance. You learn about leadership styles and negotiation strategies. When women hear a “no”, they often accept it, or decide to revisit the subject some other time. Most men don’t take “no” for an answer. They see it as a starting point for discussion.’
Dora is responsible for the DWN newsletter and other communications, and she organises ‘learn and share’ sessions aimed at empowerment of existing talent. Esther is responsible for the network’s recruitment activities. ‘We organise in-house events targeting female students, with inspirational speakers and informal networking opportunities, to let students experience Deloitte’s culture. We raise our profile outside Deloitte in other ways, too, by for example by sponsoring and supporting other women’s networks and initiatives.’
Having a good work-life balance is definitely possible at Deloitte. The added value of the Deloitte Women’s Network is that women learn from other women that it can be done.
Parenthood and work-life balance are issues close to women’s hearts, and certainly not neglected by the Deloitte Women’s Network. Esther: “We held a clinic last October to inform mothers and expecting mothers about Deloitte’s Proud Mom programme. The company offers them a dietician, a personal trainer and a life coach to help them get back in shape, physically and emotionally, after childbirth.’
Room to grow
Deloitte offers lots of room to grow personally and professionally, both feel. Dora: ‘Deloitte gives me freedom to drive my own career and focus on what fits my skills and interests. I get the opportunity to challenge myself on a variety of projects. I like not being office-bound from nine to five – I visit clients and work from different locations, so every day is different.’
Esther adds, ‘I love the international scale of Deloitte. I recently worked in Miami with people from Canada and the UK on a Latin American project – an amazing experience. What I also like is that there’s lots of people my age here, so the pace is energetic. We have great times at work and after. Like our skiing trips: unforgettable!’