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Why we do what we do
Meet Ed Powers
Faces of Deloitte Advisory is a series of true stories that explore the personal history of our practitioners, highlighting key experiences that defined their values and explaining why they do what they do. In this story, Ed describes himself as a life-long learner and emphasizes the importance of working together with clients to solve complex problems.
“You don’t always have to have the answer. But it’s empowering to know you can figure it out.”
It’s a funny thing that I’ve spent most of my adult life working at Deloitte. In fact, I never would’ve thought I’d end up here in the first place. I studied history and classics in college and intended to become a professor. I taught high school Latin and undergraduate courses while earning my master’s degree in ancient history. But my career moved in a much different direction when my wife and I started a family while I was working on my PhD.
I ended up working in the medical device industry and eventually went back to business school to earn a master’s degree in information and operations management. On a whim one day I stopped by the campus career center and signed up to interview with Deloitte—and here I am nearly 25 years later.
I think that my early career in academics and teaching provided great training for the work I do at Deloitte. In an academic setting, you have to be deep in your field and be able to defend your ideas among people who have spent their entire lives working on specific issues. But you also have to be able to engage with undergraduate students and explain the same topic to people who have little experience and perhaps not much interest in the subject. The same can be said of our work; you have to know your stuff, and then be prepared to engage people effectively across a wide spectrum of proficiency.
While degrees in the humanities aren’t always the norm in a big consulting company, I think mine have been a major asset. They have given me the foundation to approach situations with a different perspective, applying critical thinking, constructing arguments, and communicating with clarity.
A lifelong learner
While I’ve always had a passion for teaching, I also love to learn.
I think a lot of people are reluctant to admit they don’t know everything. But being comfortable admitting that—especially to clients—has been a game changer for me.
I love working with clients who are open to learning new things—especially people who are just starting a new role, facing unfamiliar challenges—and are willing to let me go on that journey with them. I thrive on those one-on-one interactions where I can help a client work through something they’ve never faced before.
I think that’s gone a long way in helping me build relationships, because clients don’t typically want someone who’s just going to sit there and tell them what to do. They want to work through challenges together.
But the learning for me doesn’t stop at work. I try to dedicate an hour or two every day to reading—even if it doesn’t happen until late at night when everyone else in the house is asleep.
Why I’m still here
Many of us are constantly inundated by recruiting calls and emails. And everyone has different motivations, priorities, and circumstances. But there are a few reasons why, time and time again, I have chosen to stay at Deloitte.
I feel a sense of purpose. The issues we help clients with present many of the biggest threats and risks that organizations may face in our lifetime. I am proud that Deloitte is positioned to really help. I love bringing clients everything they need to do to get ahead of risk—business, industry, regulation, technology. It makes my job truly fulfilling.
But most importantly, my best friends are here. They have supported me through hardship—and I’ve done the same for them. We see each other on weekends … not because we have deliverables due, but because we enjoy spending time together. We sometimes even vacation together. When people mean that much to you, you don’t just leave them for a bigger paycheck or a better title.
Choosing where and how to spend your career is one of the most important decisions in your life. And, whether you realize it or not, you make it every day.
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Offerings & Services Leader | Regulatory & Legal Support Leader
Ed is a principal at Deloitte & Touche LLP and the Offerings and Services Leader and Regulatory & Legal Support leader for Risk & Financial Advisory. In his roles, he oversees all offerings available to clients and more specifically, as the Regulatory & Legal Support offering leader, services that address our clients’ needs to manage regulatory compliance, enforcement actions, litigations, disputes, financial crime, and other investigation-related matters.