Life at Deloitte

A story of resilience

Ryan Walters shares his journey

May 23, 2019

Strategy and operations consultant Ryan Walters joined Deloitte Consulting LLP in early 2017 as an experienced professional with several years under his belt in multiple roles. Although his knowledge and wisdom have brought a lot to the table, it's not just his professional experience that stands out. Drawing on his own struggles with disabilities, Ryan has been a strong voice in the diversity and inclusion conversation at Deloitte. Here he shares his experience and how it has made him stronger.

A path to re-discovering my identity

I attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia from 2011 to 2015. During my second semester of freshman year, my friends and I took a trip to Cancun, Mexico. During the trip, I fell from a balcony and suffered a spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed. I also suffered damage to my inner ears causing profound hearing loss. I was hospitalized in Mexico and transported to Houston, Texas for surgery. I received cochlear implants to address the hearing loss and a permanent wheelchair for mobility. After intense rehab, split between Houston, Texas, and Boston, Massachusetts, I returned to school just under a year after my accident in January 2013. The greatest challenge for me was the journey to re-discovering my identity. I knew who I was prior to my accident — a leader, highly regarded by my peers, driven by unlimited opportunity — but, lost for who I could be after my accident.

Ryan (right), receiving a sponsorship award at the Careers & the Disabled Magazine’s 2018 Career Expo in Washington, DC.

Deloitte journey

On day one when I joined Deloitte, I heard about Deloitte’s commitment to having employees bring their authentic selves to work. At the time, I was still coming to terms with my post-accident identity and found the idea intriguing. Within months of joining Deloitte, I was lucky enough to meet our Inclusion Leader who helped me get involved with inclusion at Deloitte. As I grew my understanding and passion for diversity and inclusion, I realized how important persons with disabilities are to our workforce and society. Deloitte allowed me to explore this interest, which has led me to provide D&I experience to leading hospitality and infrastructure companies. Deloitte has helped me understand what I am passionate about and has supported me in exploring that passion.

I am especially grateful for organization’s willingness to listen. Beyond being a part of an inclusive organization, I have been able to take an active role in creating a dialogue with leaders across Deloitte about our D&I strengths and opportunities. Real change is happening, and it is because many leaders are willing to listen, for which I am truly grateful.


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