Listen to People Who Love Their Jobs: Advice From a Woman in the C-Suite

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Amelia Dunlop

Photo courtesy of Deloitte

Fairygodboss
Fairygodboss

Every fall, Amelia Dunlop addresses a group of over 200 rising seniors at Harvard University, her alma mater, and offers them a piece of advice: pay attention to people who love their job.

It’s advice that’s served her well in her own career. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in Sociology, Dunlop pursued a Masters in Theology, with plans to continue on to a PhD in social theory and theology. These plans changed, however, when she met a friend for breakfast who happened to really, really love her job. Her friend was a management consultant at the Monitor Group. 

“I’ve always paid attention to people who love their jobs, and I’m always curious about why that is the case,” Dunlop told Fairygodboss recently. “My friend loved her job because of the people she got to work with, the problems she got to help solve, and the way she got to grow as a person. It really resonated with me.” 

So, she decided to give consulting a try herself, becoming one of the “very first moral theologian strategy consultant summer interns,” she joked. Two companies and one MBA degree from the University of Cambridge later, and Dunlop is today Chief Experience Officer at Deloitte Digital, and U.S. Customer Strategy & Applied Design leader for Deloitte Consulting LLP. 


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“I definitely have my dream job,” she said. “And it is funny to even call it a ‘job,’ but what I love about what I get to do every day is that I get to show up with my full self.” 

In bringing her whole self to work, Dunlop continued, she’s able to share that with others and empower them to do the same: “For me, my purpose is about helping others become their best selves. I love that I get to do that every day.”  

This holistic approach to work isn’t just a perk that’s reflective of Deloitte’s people-first culture (although it’s that, as well). It’s also crucial to the very nature of Dunlop’s role. As  Chief Experience Officer for Deloitte Digital, she champions the organization’s efforts around Elevating the Human Experience (or EHX), which Dunlop describes as a far-reaching movement. 

“Elevating the Human Experience is the aspiration that we created for Deloitte Digital about 18 months ago,” she explained. “We realized that we don’t wake up in the morning as customers or as an employee or partner of an organization. We wake up as humans, and as organizations, we tend to forget that fact.” 

While there are countless efforts and measures dedicated to the customer experience, Dunlop said, few if any are built around “what it means to be fundamentally human.” So, with the help of the EHX catalyst team, she and her compatriots were able to create something they call the “Human Experience Quotient.”

“It’s the sum of a customer experience, a workforce experience and a partner’s experience raised to the exponent H where H is simply what you value as a human, whether you’re an employee, a customer or a partner,” Dunlop explained. “What would make this experience — this phone call, this meeting or this couple of hours we might spend together — more human? We ask ourselves that question, then use the principles of human-centered design to start with the human first — not the particular tool or technology or product we’re trying to push. What do the humans we’re trying to engage and connect with need most?” 

Adopting the EHX approach has resulted in a slate of efforts, aimed at both employees and clients. On the internal side, Dunlop’s team is gathering rapid feedback on the experience of its employees and responding with pointed solutions in surprising ways. They have also identified new ways to celebrate EHX leadership at all levels.  For clients, adopting the EHX approach is about showing up to the task at hand in a different way; for example, a project team may be helping a client with a digital website or a CRM implementation, but doing so with a “very human-first approach,” Dunlop says.

“For us, it’s a movement, not a single product or offer or piece of tech. Elevating the Human Experience is imbued in everything we do,” she said. “And it’s evolving to even more parts of our organization, … That’s one of the things that’s awesome about what we’re doing to bring the human experience to life, is that it ladders up to the overall Deloitte brand.”

It also feeds into Dunlop’s approach as a senior leader and mentor. Elevating the human experience of any given moment requires bringing your full self to that situation, a mentality that helps her deepen her impact as a leader. 

“I had a coach once tell me that as you progress in your career and have less and less time, be aware of the time you do have,” she said. “You might only have one interaction with a team member or a peer and not talk to them again for another year, but if in that one interaction, you can leave them better off, then that is a gift.” 

And as a woman in a position of leadership, Dunlop believes that modeling Deloitte’s bring-your-full-self ethos is especially important for future generations of female leaders to see. 

“As a female leader of the business, I think it helps others to feel like they can show up with their full selves, too,” she said. “If they choose to be, they can be parents and mothers and that isn’t going to limit their career prospects. Women should know that they can bring their whole self to Deloitte: as daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, partners and spouses. There is room for all of you.” 

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