Life at Deloitte
Career Journey: Todd Sweeris
“Surround yourself with great people. With any successful individual, there's a team of people who are a huge part of that success. That’s the case for tax professionals as much as for athletes.” — Todd Sweeris, Tax, Deloitte Tax LLP
An eye to the future
There is a forward-looking nature to being a tax advisor, where you aren't just thinking about the past, but also about where the client’s business is going.
Table tennis champ
When Todd Sweeris was 13, his parents drove him across the country and dropped him off to live and train at the US Olympic headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He recalls, “One of the last things my mom taught me before driving away was how to do laundry.” He spent the next six years living there, September through May, attending school and training in the sport of table tennis.
Todd was among the best young players in the US. Over the course of about 15 years, he won national titles, competed in the World Championships, played in two Olympics—Atlanta and Sydney—and even made the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame.
The Sydney games took place during his second year at Deloitte. Training for the games took time and required some flexibility at work. He said his manager supported him in that. He was able to continue working in Tax at Deloitte and to realize his goal of competing in doubles at the Olympics. Though he didn’t win a medal, it was a memorable, final experience of international competition.
Todd's career takes off
Once he returned from Sydney, Todd says, “I refocused, and my career started to take off.” Fact is, he attacked his career with the single-minded focus he’d reserved in the past for table tennis competitions. Todd went back to school nights and earned a graduate degree. He connected with a mentor at Deloitte, who to this day is someone he turns to. He branched out seeking assignments in new industries, such as Aerospace & Defense and Software.
The result was predictable. By his fifth year Todd was promoted to manager, then to senior manager. Along the way he gained experience and depth, clients requested him on their business, and he built long-term relationships. Among his current clients are individuals and companies he began working with back in 1998. It was that ability—to consistently deliver for clients in ways that strengthened their relationships with Deloitte—that helped him make Partner in 2013.
Today, Todd leads some 20 different client engagements. They run the gamut from large, public multinationals to fast-growing entrepreneurial companies. He particularly enjoys his work in the middle market and entrepreneurial spaces. First, because he likes connecting with the business owners directly. And second, because that requires him to understand more than just tax. “You become a trusted advisor, not just a tax advisor.”
When thinking back on why he chose Deloitte over other career options, he says that throughout the process, “Deloitte always stood near the top for me from a cultural standpoint and a fit perspective.” He encourages young professionals to take that seriously. “On a weekly basis, you spend more waking hours with your colleagues than you do with your family. So make sure that fit works … follow your gut.”
Todd and his family love sports of all kinds. His wife grew up playing lacrosse. His 4-year-old son has already taken to hockey. They are Washington Capitals season ticket holders. And, while Todd hung up his paddle back in 2001, he still exercises his hand-eye coordination … in golf. “It’s nice to play a sport where you're not playing anyone in particular. You're playing the course. And yourself.”