Life at Deloitte
Career Journey: Sylvia Taylor
Working mom and military spouse
“When you're 22, fresh out of college, and exposed to real-world clients for the first time, it's tough because you don't have that life experience yet. When I came back to Deloitte, I had that experience, and it helped me adapt again to the professional world.” — Sylvia Taylor, advisory, Richmond
Flexibility is crucial
The flexibility that Deloitte was able to offer me has been extremely valuable, as both a working mom and a military spouse.
In 2006, five years into her first stint at Deloitte, Sylvia left Deloitte when the military relocated her husband Patrick, a US Navy pilot, to rural California, where she opted for a local industry position. “Despite being a Navy base, many are built out in the middle of mountains and desert, rather than near the coast.” After California, they moved again to the high desert of Nevada, placing her hundreds of miles from the nearest Deloitte office. Forced to leave her industry job, she took advantage of this time to start a family while pursuing a professional certification as well as her master’s degree.
Still, Deloitte remained on her radar. “I always said that I’d like to try to come back.” So when circumstances took her family back east to the DC area, Sylvia applied to Deloitte’s Encore program, an 11-week course for people who’ve left the professional world for an extended period of time. Encore hones skills, builds professional confidence, and prepares people for the return to a high-performance environment. The program rekindled Sylvia’s passion for Advisory and for Deloitte. Following it, she immediately stepped into a senior consultant role in Deloitte’s Richmond, Virginia office.
Her return to Deloitte has been far less turbulent than when she first walked into the Houston office back on September 10, 2001. Yes, the day before 9/11. A short time later, after several industries experienced a regulatory fallout and their bankruptcies created more turbulence, auditing and consulting were changed forever. That combination of events shaped her work, with much of it being focused on early compliance with the 2002 federal law known as Sarbanes-Oxley.
Booting Back Up
Now, 15 years later, she’s tackling another challenging area of the profession that’s growing exponentially: auditing information technology. “Coming back up to speed was really a ‘boot camp’ for the first three months, and in some ways, it still is,” she says. Sylvia’s found support from co-workers and mentors. In fact, she’s been able to reconnect with friends who still work in the Houston office where she started. “I have my married name now, and I actually emailed them joking around, introducing myself as a new employee…then at the bottom of the note I told them who I was!”
Sylvia says raising a family and working like she does is a balancing act. She gives credit to a few things for being able to maintain both. First, her parents who are the children of immigrants from China who fled the country during the Communist Revolution. “They owned several small businesses while raising a family,” she says. “They've worked very hard and have achieved much success from that.” That instilled in her a strong work ethic, whether the pursuit is a career, hobby or family.
Second, being a Navy spouse has taught her to be flexible and to deal with uncertainty. Something that is required in advisory work. Lastly, she says, “Deloitte has been really great at working with me to stay on local clients with minimal travel.” She adds that she’s been able to carve out blocks of time for her family—evenings and weekends—while still being connected to her work and her team. “It's easier now than it was 10 years ago for us to work remotely with advances in communications and technology.”
Outside of work, Sylvia enjoys experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. “We have had amazing travel opportunities with our careers, and food was always a big part of that experience. I enjoy recreating many of those experiences at home.” She now looks forward to one day traveling with her two boys to share the same experiences with them.
Sylvia on boomeranging back to Deloitte
You get tremendous exposure to the business world working for Deloitte. You learn many critical thinking skills and are exposed to a variety of industries. I've worked on everything from commercial fruit growers to a major oil companies.