Posted: 01 Jun. 2023 8 min. read

Leading global delivery through a DEI lens

Here’s Monica Kavatkar’s career journey

Monica Kavatkar joined Deloitte US-India Offices (USI) 19 years ago as a custom developer. In this blog post, she reflects on her journey from being a developer to an engagement delivery leader, who truly believes in empowering people to be the best version of themselves.

The first steps

I, like many others of my time, lacked a strong sense of direction during my school days. My only goal in life was to earn a degree in engineering, so I enrolled in the Savitribai Phule Pune University, the same university from which my sister graduated. I studied Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering and got placed in an IT organization through campus interviews. That is where I first encountered this revolutionary world of computers.

I participated in a training class where I was taught C, C++, and Java. After completing this course, I was assigned to a project as a core developer, and it was there that I discovered my true calling: specializing in cutting-edge technologies while providing innovative solutions to real-world problems.

I worked there for seven years. I then got a chance to crack an interview at Deloitte and this is where I have been for the last 19 years. Cut to the present, I currently work as an Engagement Delivery Leader for the Application Modernization and Innovation team in Core Business Operations in Consulting at Deloitte US-India Offices.

My work as an engagement delivery lead

My focus is delivery, delivery, and delivery. My responsibility is to endeavor the successful completion of complex projects while meeting the high-quality standards. This involves developing and managing project plans, facilitating proper staffing and resources, and motivating team members to meet deadlines and complete deliverables. In addition, I work diligently so that all the requirements and objectives are met, while also providing timely communication to clients and stakeholders.

The next big area that I oversee is delivery transformation. It involves understanding customer needs, developing, and implementing process improvements, and leveraging technology to achieve greater efficiency, cost savings, and customer satisfaction. It is important that the team is using effective tools and plans to maximize the benefits of delivery transformation. This includes utilizing software, automating processes, and creating an efficient system for tracking progress.

Third, being a people person, I’m responsible to guide my team and colleagues, as a leader. I believe in taking everyone along in the journey and providing guidance whenever needed. I believe in creating a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected. I am approachable and always available to answer any questions or hear out any concerns.

Monica Kavatkar at an internal event

Uniting our workforce for inclusive growth: My role as a DEI lead

As the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion lead in CBO, it is my responsibility to create a culture of inclusion, foster diversity, and promote equity in the workplace. It is important that all members of our team feel included, valued, respected, and heard. In that direction, I have taken steps to create an inclusive environment, such as assist in implementing hiring practices that consider diverse backgrounds (such as professionals who identify as PWD, LGBTQIA+), beliefs, and experiences, while organizing team building activities to encourage collaboration and understanding.

I also provide resources to help team members become more aware of the challenges and opportunities facing our diverse workforce. My plan for the future is to create initiatives that bring our team together to discuss issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion and to continue weaving in and enhancing the culture of respect and understanding in our day-to-day ways of being.

Apart from this, taking care of the team’s well-being is of extreme importance to me. Remaining invested in your team members’ health by checking on their mental, physical, and emotional well-being, is essential to help enable a successful and productive work environment.

Summing up, here’s what I believe any leader should endeavor to do so that their team members are happy and healthy, and feel supported and valued –

  1. Have regular check-ins with team members: Make sure to check-in with each individual team member at least once in two weeks, even if it’s for a few minutes, to see how they are doing, how their workload is, and if they need any help.
  2. Promote work-life balance: Encourage team members to take their breaks, vacations, and days off when needed. Set an example by taking your own breaks and days off to stay productive and energized.
  3. Create a culture of trust: Establish an environment where team members feel comfortable coming to you and approaching their own team members as needed, with any issues or concerns that they have.
  4. Offer flexible work hours: Allow team members to have flexible work hours so they can balance their home and work life.
  5. Offer rewards and recognition: Make sure you recognize the team members’ hard work and reward them for their efforts.

Lead with wisdom

As a leader leading a dynamic team in a hybrid work environment, I believe in being self-aware and committed to my own learning journey. Here are two ways to bring your true self to work and keep enhancing your growth mindset –

  1. Be authentic and comfortable in your skin: Embrace what makes you different and do not try to be something that you are not. Be confident in your skills, experience, and knowledge and act accordingly. Be willing to listen and learn from others, admit your mistakes, and be open to feedback. Additionally, try cultivating an environment of trust, respect, and collaboration among your team members, allowing them to express their views freely.
  2. Be curious and keep learning: Try reading industry publications, attending conferences and events, and networking with other professionals in your current field, and any other field you may be interested in. Additionally, be open to new ideas and technologies, and be curious to learn more every day. I recently attended an industry event for women a few months ago where I got to network with people, understand and talk about recent trends, share my experiences, and inspire women in technology.

Life at Deloitte has enabled me to not only grow as an inclusive leader, but also thrive as an individual with diverse ideas and perspectives. The rich network of connections, the talented teams I work with and the wide array of learning opportunities that Deloitte continues to offer have been the most enriching parts of my journey here.

Get in touch

Monika Kavatkar

Monika Kavatkar

Engagement Delivery Lead | Application Modernization and Innovation

Monica has more than 25 years of experience in technology ranging from custom development, automation, testing, project management and quality. She has vast experience in complex Integrated Eligibility projects for multiple US states, where she has worked both on-site and in offshore models to improve applications though effective requirements analysis, design, development, and testing. Monica’s specialties include Java, J2EE, Quality Engineering and she pro-actively works on upskilling herself with the latest Cloud technologies. She is a certified PMP and scrum-master. Monica leads Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for the Application Modernization and Innovation offering in Consulting at Deloitte US-India Offices. She is passionate about the cause and is working to advance Deloitte’s culture of DEI in the workplace. Monica’s biggest strengths are being positive, persistent, and an inclusive leader. She strongly believes in empowering people to be the best version of themselves every day and believes in this quote "The key to success is failure”.