Caroline Calov Funch became a partner in Deloitte in June 2021 – only a couple of months after giving birth to her daughter. Her story is a true example of combining high career ambitions and family life by voicing your needs.

Being a partner is often associated with tight schedules and sacrifices on the family front. But as the traditional division between work and life transforms, the possibilities of tailoring your career path to fit your aspirations becomes endless. Caroline Calov Funch experienced just that when she found out she was expecting her second child during the complex process of becoming a partner.

To postpone or not…

Deloitte’s partner admission process spans over more than one year. It takes time, effort and ambitions – something Caroline felt ready to invest after four years in Deloitte’s Actuarial, Risk & Advanced Analytics department.

However, her road from the initial conversations about a potential partnership to the final interview in front of the Partner Admission Committee became a bit more circuitous than usual. Around halfway through the process, she found out she was pregnant. Her due date? Less than two months before the final interview. The big question hit: Is it possible to become a partner in the middle of your maternity leave?

“I asked my leader what influence my pregnancy would have on my partner case. He told me that it would influence my case how I wanted it to. If I wished to postpone and save it for the following year, I would get full support. If I decided to go ahead with the original plan, I would get the same support. How I wanted to structure my partner process was my own decision.”

Luckily, Caroline had an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth, so it only felt natural to stay on the standard path towards partnership. When the big interview day came, she brought her newborn and her husband to the office – and successfully gained her new title as partner.

Starting the partner adventure with a newborn

Throughout the onboarding process, which commenced shortly after the final interview, Caroline was on maternity leave. Therefore, it was a bit of a niggling task to combine the maternity bubble with a busy onboarding schedule that she wanted to take part in.

- My maternity leave was not as much of a bubble as it could have been, but I was really motivated to start learning and be part of the onboarding with the other new partners.

Since returning to work, she has worked four days per week. Meanwhile, her husband – who is a musician – takes the remaining parental leave. This has ensured a smooth transition back to work.

- It has been great to come back and I have been curious to truly step into my new role. Like most other changes, it is definitely tough, but together with my leader, I have found a comfortable solution that leaves me with a long weekend to spend with my daughter, my 8-year-old son and my husband.

In January 2022, Caroline will be back at full speed, and her daughter will start in daycare.

Voicing your needs will take you far

The many possibilities to tailor your career to your personal life situation is one thing Caroline will bring with her from the process.

- My advice for anyone who wants to find a balance between career and family life is to be vocal about your aspirations. Involve your leader and voice your needs and your dreams. How I chose to structure my process of becoming a partner might not work for everyone, but it did for me, Caroline says and adds:

- There is no one-size-fits-all. You need to find out what size fits you, and that goes for any point in your career.

Support from both family, friends and colleagues at Deloitte played a vital role in the process of becoming a partner as well as during the subsequent return to work.

- Your support base is extremely important during big changes. When I came back to work, my mentality was to ‘get going’. My colleagues provided great support by reminding me that I should take it slow and ease into the new role and responsibilities, Caroline explains.

Breaking away from the stereotype

The past years have taught Caroline that there is indeed room to have high ambitions and be family-oriented at the same time.

- Traditionally, there have been two stereotypes of women in the consultancy world: the career woman, who is cold and only business orientated, and the family woman, who has low career ambitions. I see this notion being eradicated more and more, she says and continues:

- During my process of becoming a partner, I have witnessed real intentions of walking the talk when it comes to diversity and flexibility at Deloitte. If you want the ultimate influence on how your work life is structured, it requires that you are ready to take control of your career path and say your aspirations out loud. If you do so, there are so many possibilities.

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