Hallo (“hello” in German), my name is Taku and I am a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Germany.
I began my career with Deloitte in 2012 as a rotational intern. I then started full-time at Deloitte in San Francisco before transferring to Deloitte in Berlin, where I now live and work. Along the way, I learned a lot about diversity and inclusion.
Being committed to diversity means being more sensitive to the experiences and journeys of people around us.
What is your personal understanding of diversity and inclusion?
For me diversity and inclusion are about recognizing the unique differences in people’s backgrounds, experiences, ethnicity, race, religion, and identity and channeling those differences towards shared objectives in the workplace and in society.
Why are diversity and inclusion so important to you?
Some of the most memorable moments during college and in my professional career were part of programs promoting diversity.
For example, I joined the San Francisco office through a program that Deloitte had initiated to encourage college graduates to intern with the Tax, Advisory and Audit department, exposing them to different professional services so they can decide what to focus on later. The diversity of experiences and services within Deloitte led me to realize that I wanted to enter technology consulting because I learned that technology interlinks everything.
Another example: I managed to attend university in the United States through scholarships that were provided by an organization called the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), whose motto was “Live as we climb.” NABA was established to provide a platform for people of color to obtain the exposure, professional training, and the networks necessary to enter and succeed in corporate America.
I care about diversity and inclusion because diversity and inclusion are an integral part of my life. They have been key factors in my success and helped me get where I am today. I want to make sure that their benefits can be passed on to future generations.
What does it mean to you to work in a diverse environment?
A diverse work environment is an environment where you do not have to be afraid or constantly reminded of “who you are” and “how different you are.” Whether it is your accent, race, nationality, gender, ethnicity, or culture, a diverse work environment celebrates nurtures, and channels your diversity as an asset in achieving the overall objectives of the organization.
What have you done to promote diversity and inclusion?
By 2035, Africa will be home to the world’s largest working-age population, surpassing both China and India. This means that by 2035 the majority of the world’s employable population will be from Africa. The question is how we prepare this often forgotten population for the global economy and the future of work. I am helping to contribute to a solution with my non-profit emerginationafrica.org. So far, we have impacted 15,000 young people across Zimbabwe by providing them with skills in entrepreneurship, business modelling, professional development, and technology, just to name a few areas. The goal is to help ensure that whether the young people come from rural areas or urban areas or marginalized backgrounds, they can participate in the global economy, just as I have been able to.
How have you experienced work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds? What have you learned?
The most interesting project I was on was a global finance transformation project where we provided a client solution for near real-time customer data collection. What made the project fascinating was the diversity of thought within our team. We were four nationalities in one team providing our client with one solution.
What does it mean for you to be committed to diversity?
Being committed to diversity means being more sensitive to the experiences and journeys of people around us. This means listening more, eliminating biases, getting a better understanding of people, and putting yourself in their shoes and speaking up when it matters most.
How has diversity affected your way of working?
I have learned that in order to solve difficult problems the diversity of experience is key. You can gain very different perspectives on problem-solving. Diversity has also taught me a lot about the importance of empathy and being open to different cultures as a way to understanding the world around us.
What opportunities and challenges arise from working in a diverse environment?
I think the biggest challenge that can arise from working in a diverse environment occurs when the leadership does not view diversity as an asset but as a hindrance. Leaders who do not recognize the power of diversity may hire people that look and behave like them because it’s easier. They may also seek to make those that are different from them completely conform to how they like to think and behave. It’s a zero-sum game because nothing new is gained. Leaders must understand that diversity is an opportunity. They must ask themselves how to recognize the unique talents and strengths of their employees and how to channel those strengths into the company’s shared objectives.
Sven ist seit 2018 im Team Employer Branding & Personalmarketing bei Deloitte Deutschland tätig. Dort verantwortet er unter anderem Employer Branding Kampagnen mit Fokus auf berufserfahrene Talente. Im Deloitte Karriere Blog berichtet Sven über aktuelle Karrierethemen und relevante Business Entwicklungen, die Karrieremöglichkeiten für die unterschiedlichsten Profile bereithalten.