In fact, diversity is our best asset in an ever-changing world.

Svetlana, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte Austria, has a diverse background herself and personally knows about the importance of diversity and inclusion at work.

Hallo (“hello” in Austrian), my name is Svetlana and I work as a Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte Austria.
I am a native Bulgarian and working at Deloitte Austria since 2004. I am not only driving our business in the forensic department, but I am also the representative for diversity and inclusion – a topic that is extremely important to me. I want to support the process of change, in corporate culture as well as in the mindsets of people.

 

In fact, diversity is our best asset in an ever-changing world.

What is your personal understanding of diversity and inclusion?
For me, diversity and inclusion is about chances, changes and possibilities – not as a one-way street, but as a process that goes in many directions and that we need to go through in our society, companies and private life. It starts with changing corporate culture and the mindset of people. I guess, everyone who has ever worked in a diverse team will agree that there is much to be gained from different backgrounds, experiences and skills. The different members can complement each other, which ultimately leads to much better and more innovative solutions. We all benefit if we think inclusively rather than use the same tried and tested approach applied by the same set of people over and over again. 

What does it mean to you to work in a diverse environment?
To me, working in a diverse environment is something of great importance. I speak five languages and, as a native Bulgarian, I have background knowledge of the Central Eastern European culture. I am using all of these skills to the benefit of Deloitte as well as our Forensic investigations team. In 2008, we set up an international team with people from many different countries, like Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Poland, Hungary or Croatia. Ever since then, I have observed how various mindsets influence brainstorming sessions in a positive way and how they lead to solutions that are more creative.

What is the main goal of Deloitte’s initiative ALL IN?
ALL IN is Deloitte’s global commitment to diversity and inclusion, fostering a culture where everyone has equal opportunities to develop, succeed and be his or her true self. The main goal of the initiative is to ensure that we provide a workplace that enables all this. In order to grow and achieve their full potential, people need to feel respected and appreciated. If we can make sure that no one hesitates to make use of these opportunities, we have made a big step towards a more equal society. By putting a clear focus on our everyday working culture, we are able to change fixed patterns and pave the way for a more respectful, diverse and inclusive future. 

Why is talking and caring about diversity and inclusion so important for you?
Diversity and inclusion should be a matter of importance in all aspects of life, but I can see that this is not always the case. That is why not only talking and caring about diversity and inclusion is so important for me, but rather doing something about it. On a professional level and in Forensic, I work with strong female leaders and with a team that benefits from the broad range of background experience. Outside of this work bubble, I still pick up bits and pieces of injustice based on factors like gender, sexual preference or ethnicity. Sometimes, these injustices are so subtle that we just hardly notice it. At Deloitte, we have made an excellent start by looking closely at even the smallest evidence of inequality. I am convinced that by refusing to shut our eyes to unfairness, we can make a real difference. 

What is your personal impact to live diversity and inclusion?
As a partner, I am able to put together a diverse and inclusive team. This way I can observe and learn from different characters, mindsets and experiences. I gladly share my knowledge about how to lead a diverse team within our member firms. In general, I try to look at the world with my eyes open to its possibilities, but also to its inequalities. By standing up when it comes to the discrimination of people, I can make an impact that matters.

How did you experience working with diverse colleagues? What did you learn from it? 
Personally, I very much enjoy working in an international and diverse team. Working with colleagues who do not share the same cultural background might be a bit more challenging in the beginning, especially when compared to working in a homogeneous group. However, it is worth to invest in this process, as the outcome is more varied and multidimensional.

How has diversity helped you so far in your daily work or your career?
My personal background is an integral part of me and affects the way I work and how I perceive situations and challenges. I benefit from my diverse background as well as my language skills, because my work has an international component. It is easier for me to understand processes that are in place in other European countries and I am able to easily converse with clients and colleagues from different backgrounds as well. I feel comfortable interacting with a large set of diverse people. I enjoy finding out what assets other people bring into a situation and how I can personally contribute with my background to find solutions.

What does it mean for you to have a commitment to diversity?
I am glad that I can live and practice my commitment to diversity at Deloitte by making sure the workplace culture within my team is one where everyone feels valued – independent of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or other backgrounds. To me, a commitment to diversity is based on mutual respect and the appreciation that differences make us stronger. In fact, diversity is our best asset in an ever-changing world. 

 

Would you like to know more about ALL IN, Deloitte’s global commitment to diversity and inclusion? Please have a look on our website
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