The Next Generation Board Q&A
Representing the next generation of Deloitte employees
What does the next generation expect from their employer? What does the future look like for corporations? How can they remain competitive? Our Next Generation Board is helping to answer these questions, ensuring that Deloitte continues to be at the forefront of innovation, sustainability, talent attraction and more. Niklas, Ana-Maria, Margarita and Pascal from the Board discuss their goals and why the work the Board does matters.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Margarita: I am from Stuttgart, Germany, however I was born in Kazakhstan. I've been living in Switzerland for almost 4 years and I love it here. I have a dog which has become my biggest hobby, but I also love to travel, dance (I used to dance ballet for a long time), work on my golf skills (still a lot of room for improvement) and enjoy beautiful Zurich in my free time. I joined Deloitte a bit over a year ago and am working in a great team in Human Capital Consulting where I bring in the human perspective to all sorts of transformations and help to drive sustainable change.
Pascal: I'm from Germany and Togo and I was raised in Togo. I like poetry, travelling and classical music. I enjoy meeting people and having discussions and debates. I joined Deloitte a year ago and I'm working in Financial advisory in Forensics team, where we investigate fraud, money laundering, corruption allegations, etc.
Niklas: I am originally from Germany but I have lived in many places. This experience led to my love of exploring new things; I try to do one new thing per week. One of the more exciting things I did lately was going to the Feria in El Puerto de Santa Maria (in Spain) and dance Flamenco (see picture below) even though I had absolutely no idea how to. I loved it! At Deloitte I work as a leadership and culture specialist within People & Purpose (formerly known as HR). Through my day to day work I can make a difference in our culture and empower our people to be their true and best selves.
Ana-Maria: I was born in Transylvania, studied aviation in England, worked in air traffic management and airport operations in Switzerland, all before moving to audit and later to consulting in the Big Four world. I love discovering villages in Switzerland together with my two daughters. I’m also a big fan of swimming and hot yoga, with hiking being my favourite outdoor activity. I work for an exciting team within Consulting, advising and being a partner to CFOs and their teams undergoing transformations, implementing financial systems, as well as new operating models.
What exactly is the Next Generation Board?
Ana-Maria: The Next Generation Board was founded back in September 2021, out of our CEO’s desire to stay close to our more junior practitioners across all business lines. The Board consists of twelve consultants, senior consultants, assistant managers, and managers. As a Board we were given full freedom to self-organize, propose topics for discussion and come up with initiatives that we could drive at firm level. And all this with the purpose of enabling our firm to become stronger on the inside, to make an impact that truly matters and into which young practitioners feel invested.
Niklas: The Board was established as a vehicle for the next generation to be heard. We are operating in working groups that are committed to different areas. Ana and I are co-chairing the Board for now. However, every single member is valuable and makes this Board unique.
Why did you join the Board?
Margarita: When I applied for the Next Generation Board, I had been at Deloitte for only a few months. A colleague who was part of the Junior Advisory Board (a similar board dedicated to Consulting) gave me the idea to apply, as it would be a great way for a new joiner to get to know the firm, the people and the culture. I tried my luck and made it. Having always been passionate about the topic of organisational culture I saw the board as a great opportunity to help shape Deloitte's. I really liked the idea of a group of young professionals working together with top management to brainstorm and come up with new ideas and ways to improve topics such as talent retention, innovation and feedback culture.
Ana-Maria: I joined the Next Generation Board because I am a Pioneer according to Business Chemistry, and this was the very first firm-wide Board that was established at Deloitte in Switzerland. I wanted to be part of the change from the very beginning, experience for myself what it means to be part of a Board, learn from my talented colleagues how to tackle strategic issues, as well as support the firm to tap into the most exciting opportunities.
Niklas: I joined because the Board provides me with the opportunity to work with different people, make my voice heard, challenge the status quo, and improve the working experience here at Deloitte. It inspired me last year and still inspires me today that senior leadership asks us about our opinions and perspectives and wants us to help tackle challenges within the firm. After a long day at work, this inspiration makes going the extra mile way more fun and motivational.
Now that I am part of the Board, I can only say that all my expectations have been met – and in addition I had the chance to learn a LOT from my fellow team members. This has definitely helped me in my day-to-day job.
Pascal: I had just joined Deloitte when the Board was announced. I'm always excited to take on new challenges and to do new things. I also joined the Board to advocate for my colleagues, tackle holistic issues, and to better understand the challenges global companies face today.
What has the Board achieved so far?
Margarita: We are the first Board of this kind. So, I think our most important goal was to lay a foundation for the upcoming Board members in years to come. We were completely free to determine our initiatives and did not have to build on existing ones. And so we have worked on the topics of feedback, innovation and talent retention and have, for example, launched welcome packages for Deloitte's new joiners, supported the ongoing campaign to create an even stronger feedback culture at Deloitte and are currently working intensively on the topic of innovation. We represent the whole firm and the young generation - and top management really is interested in our opinions and ideas. That is already a great achievement!
Pascal: The Board has managed to build a community across business lines. This is great because we are interacting with each other cross-functionally, sharing our various challenges but also discovering new opportunities. The Board is also able to provide direct and authentic feedback to senior management and to our CEO in a way that would otherwise not be possible.
Our latest initiative is the Next Gen innovation community. The aim of this community will be to enhance innovation across all the business lines and to be able to tackle specific future-focused subjects, from the metaverse to blockchains, NFTs to cryptocurrencies. Once fully implemented, this will support our other aim which is talent retention and attraction by differentiating us and making us more attractive as an employer.
What is next – what do you hope to achieve in the short and long term?
Ana-Maria: As a Board, in the short term we want to set the foundation right for our community so that we can pass it on to the next Board cohort to drive forward. In the long term, I hope that the Board establishes itself as a valued ambassador and a catalyst for a culture of inclusion and diversity, so that each person working at Deloitte can feel they are represented and have the possibility to make a direct change. This to me is true empowerment.
Niklas: One of the key strengths of the Board is the fact that we can look at challenges from different perspectives. Not only are we very different in our personalities but we also represent all the different business lines, backgrounds and skills.
In the near future we have some quick wins and low hanging fruit that we want to take advantage of. Currently we are also working on a campaign to foster appreciation and recognition. In the long term we hope to tackle and change some broader challenges at Deloitte. I would love the Board to be a main contributor to talent retention and attraction measures for instance. Just imagine people saying: “Deloitte is the only company I can imagine working for”!
How do other Deloitte colleagues get involved?
Margarita: We are a team of twelve people who are all open to new ideas and feedback. So, colleagues get in touch with one of the board members and tell us what's on their mind. We are happy to take up topics and discuss them with senior leadership - through the Next Generation Board, everyone gets the opportunity to express ideas and feedback to the Executive Board.
Pascal: I think our strength is that our peers trust us because we face the same issues and opportunities they do, so we can act as a bridge to the Executive Board. It can be difficult to speak truth to power. I think this board is a fantastic conduit helping ensure that especially the younger generations truly feel seen and heard.