Edirin joined Deloitte in Consulting in 2021. We speak to him about his journey to get where he is today, and the importance of diversity in the workplace.
Growing up in Nigeria
When Edirin was young, his parents had always hoped that he would complete his degree in the UK. Shortly after he was born in London, the family moved back to Nigeria, which is where he grew up and went to school. “I was quite sheltered from some of the bigger problems the country has, and I was lucky to go to a good school. The focus there was very much on studying,” he says. “There is strict discipline, and your school day lasts from 9-5pm with an expectation of homework and tutoring once you’re home.” By the time he was in his mid-teens, his mother had moved to England to pursue her career in midwifery and start preparations for Edirin’s future at a British university. “I was supposed to stay in Nigeria until I turned 18 and then move across to the UK,” he says. Tragically his dad passed away when he was just 14, meaning he had to move to England much sooner than expected.
A different environment
“My experience of school in the UK was very different, and I was shocked to see people talking back to teachers,” he says. “I was very quiet, and there was an assumption that my English wasn’t good. It was quite a struggle integrating at times.” Not long after he moved back, his mum became unwell. “Looking back, it was a really difficult time, but at the time you’re just trying to battle through it,” he says. Two years after his mum became ill, she sadly passed away when he was 17, leaving Edirin and his siblings to support each other. “I went to university to study International Relations and Politics but I struggled for various reasons. I hadn’t managed to process everything that happened with my parents,” he says. During his time at university, Edirin was balancing his studies with a busy work schedule. “I’ve worked since I was 16 and was sometimes doing 40-hour weeks alongside my degree,” he says.
Finding his feet
The hard work paid off and he began working for a telecommunications company before finding a job with another consultancy. After several years there, he decided he was ready for a change and chose to apply to Deloitte. “Due to previous life experiences, I always do my best to look forward and be ambitious. A friend of mine told me it was a really great place to work and that I’d have the opportunity to work with smart people and big organisations,” he says. Although Edirin was excited to be offered a position, he was also apprehensive. “The first six months were challenging for me, due to various personal reasons which stemmed from my past family trauma. Over time my confidence grew and I’m now able to offer mentorship to others.” As well as working with incredible people, he enjoys being able to solve problems for clients in his role in Consulting. “Everyone around me is talented, which inspires me to be even better.”
The right support
He’s also found Deloitte to be a supportive environment when he most needed help. “One of my brothers, who lives away from the UK, has Sickle Cell Disease and is currently recovering from a Stroke which has impacted his speech. He’s needed a lot of support from myself and my siblings,” says Edirin. “I spoke openly about this to my manager at the time and we were able to manage my role around my family commitments so that I could offer the right support.” Now that he’s firmly planted his feet in his role, he’s looking forward to being able to contribute to the wider Deloitte vision. Edirin has joined the Deloitte Black Network and has been pleased to see the progress following on from the Black Action Plan. While he recognises that Black people often struggle to move into very senior leadership positions across many different industries, he’s glad to be working for a firm that’s moving towards increased equality and fairness. As well as supporting the Black Network, he’s also keen to support people who might be struggling with their mental wellbeing. “It’s taken me a long time to process what happened in my life so far and I am finally starting to feel that I’m in a place where I can speak about it more openly. So many people go through dealing with loss and trauma-and then feel afraid to talk about it. If I can help someone else by sharing my story or listening to them, that’s something I would really like to do.”