Thomas Svane’s letter to a young talent
Dear young professional,
My name is Thomas and I am Partner & Equity Partner in Tax & Legal, and thrive in Deloitte and have been doing so for 20+ years. I aim for constant development and am motivated by progress – the feeling of moving in the right direction as a team as well as individually towards new adventures, knowledge or visions. And in this letter, I will share some of my career reflections and one of my greatest adventures with you.
Spending almost my whole career in the same company, I am often asked why. And what it means to me to be part of Deloitte. Some very evident questions.
First, being part of Tax & Legal in Deloitte means being part of an organisation, where I have a voice that matters. People listen, as I have a strong brand behind me. That obligates me, and everyone else, to protect and live up to that brand. Secondly, it is amazing to be part of a constantly evolving community. Tax & Legal does not look the same as when I started. We have become broader in our knowledge, so we can understand our clients in a much bigger perspective. And we participate in the social debate on a completely new level. Finally, we become more and more focused on how we can use our competencies together with novel technologies to create better and smarter processes in the way we work with tax. We didn’t have that focus ten years ago. So, in other words, the constant development that allows me to gain new perspectives and to develop me, have made me stay.
For me, Tax & Legal is defined as a place, where opportunities come with responsibilities, which offer you plenty of room to grow, evolve new ideas and to take responsibility and act on the visions and ambitions for your career. To speak up your mind, and proactively seek those opportunities can feel transgressive. However, the ones who dare, win.
Once at a conference I got an opportunity to become part of a project in Central Europe. It was a project about an extension of EU - meaning that Deloitte should help a country merge into EU, where several Deloitte countries should work together to realise this. At that point, I was ready for a new adventure. Therefore, I simply walked up to the person responsible for the project and shared my interest in contributing. Later that year my family and I moved to Slovakia.
The project attracted my attention as the foundation for the project was like a white canvas – clean and ready for creating something new. The project was also interesting from a historical perspective, as we were to help Slovakia, which had been part of a communist form of government during the time of the Cold War, to become part of EU. It was both eye opening and very interesting to experience all the specific problems that come with not being part of EU, e.g. long lines of trucks waiting for clearance to get across the borders. Deloitte became an enabling factor to a country in development and that was an amazing feeling for me to be a part of.
For me, context is everything. And as the story above illustrates, you play an important part in creating your own as well as contributing positively to the story of others.
Therefore, my piece of advice to you would be to remind you that most opportunities start with the right relations. Think about how you build long lasting relations both within your workplace but also in every other aspect of your life. It is important to surround yourself by colleagues, but also to keep in touch with old friends, new friends and professional relations. You learn and develop in all those settings: from the impressions you get, the experience you build and the discussions you participate in. If you can use all those learnings, you will build solid social competencies, which enable you to put yourself in other people's place and meet them in an equal dialogue. A crucial ability to be able to understand a context and how you can contribute to it.
I wish you the best of luck creating your own context and moving in the direction that inspires you.