Rachel Frey has three words of advice for women in the workplace: “Be a sponge.”
“Learn everything that you can,” Frey, a Principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, said. “A lot of people try to chart out the path they think is best for them and pass up opportunities they don’t think, at the time, fit into that path. What I’ve learned is that taking those opportunities can alter your path for the best. Don’t be so restrictive — allow yourself to take a role you may not think is the best fit and you'll learn things that could be key to growing your career.”
It’s an approach that’s served Frey well throughout her 20 years at Deloitte, beginning with her time as an intern. It’s also an approach that Deloitte inherently helps make possible.
“I’ve been able to try different things and explore new areas, and there’s a lot of support for paving your own path,” she said. “During my time here, I feel like I’ve spanned almost every part of technology — from building large, customized solutions to managing a global roll-out for hardware infrastructure. One thing I love about Deloitte is that everything I get to do allows me to grow and to become more tech-fluent.”
That emphasis on growth and continual development is something that helps set Deloitte apart as an especially welcoming space for women in tech. We’ve all heard the statistic that, in general, women only apply for roles they feel 100% qualified for, whereas men apply for jobs when they meet just 60% of the qualifications. In a space that’s as constantly evolving as technology is, this may have an even bigger impact on the willingness of many women to apply for roles — which is why leaders like Kristi Lamar see in-house development opportunities and flexible career paths as pivotal in helping women move forward.
“Ultimately, giving people the opportunity to explore other areas or advance in the space they’re in can be the best way to empower them to achieve their career goals,” she said. “I actually have two roles at Deloitte, which is one of my favorite things about Deloitte — you get to evolve and try new things.”
As Client and Market Growth, Digital Technology Leader, Lamar’s goal is to “connect more people with more data for greater effect” and share the ways that technology impacts peoples’ lives. And as a National Managing Director for Women in Technology and the Deloitte CIO Program Leader, she gets to lead women in tech and elevate efforts to develop more female technologists within Deloitte, for our clients and our communities as a whole. As much as she enjoys the impact she's able to make as a leader of “women in tech,” Lamar sees it as, ideally, a position with an expiration date.
“I hope my role as leader of women in tech doesn’t even exist in a few years and that, by then, it’s just embedded in an organization’s DNA,” she said, adding that it’s already been a long time since she’s “felt like a unicorn for being the only female technologist in the room.”
Deloitte is certainly doing its part to help create a future for women in tech where equality is a baked-in reality of the workplace instead of an exception. One of its efforts to that end is their Winning New Business Program, something Frey and Lamar have been involved with as both benefactors and benefactees.
“One of my passions is developing people, and one of the most meaningful things I’ve done at Deloitte is working with our Winning New Business Program,” Frey said. “It is a program focused on developing women in later stages of their careers to help prepare them for the next phase of their career. As an alumnus of the group, I was so excited to start serving as a Dean for this program, as I’ve personally felt the impact of the program. It’s been really rewarding to be able to now give back on the other side of it.”
And, of course, having a hand in developing others is made all the more meaningful when those individuals have come to feel not just like colleagues, but like a work family.
“We often refer to our culture by saying, ‘Big firm, small feel,’” Frey added. “My husband also works at Deloitte, and about 90% of our wedding guests were Deloitters. You spend so much time with your coworkers day in and day out that the people I’ve met here have really become family, and I feel like that’s rare based on the size of our organization.”
As used here, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of Deloitte’s legal structure. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.
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