A mother's advice and a daughter's determination has been saved
Life at Deloitte
A mother's advice and a daughter's determination
“My mom always said, ‘Fly high and follow your dreams.’ So, for me, I didn’t even have to think about whether I should move from Argentina and join Deloitte in the US. It was where I was meant to be.”
April 12, 2021
Those that have worked with Stephannie Seltzer Bekerman would probably tell you she’s an incredible problem solver, technically inclined, and a reporting wizard. She’s a core member of the team…but she didn’t always feel that way.
Raised in Costa Rica by her Argentinian, Jewish family, Stephannie never really felt like she could be herself. “I lived in a lot of cultures, so I never felt like I totally fit in anywhere. But despite that, each culture taught me something for the future—and my family was always there, encouraging me along the way. They made me feel like I could do anything and always pushed me to be better,” Stephannie shared. So, in everything she did from science fairs to a six-month stay in Israel volunteering, Stephannie always gave 100%.
While volunteering with the Magen David Adom (Israel Red Cross) and working as a first responder, Stephannie fell in love with medicine. It seemed the logical choice to start pre-med courses when she moved to Costa Rica, but fate had other plans for Stephannie. “Growing up, I knew how important it was to feel secure. I always enjoyed my networks class and after I learned about the tech side of health care, I knew it was time for a change. I wanted to help people and businesses be safer from threats so when I went to stay with my mom in Argentina, I switched my major to Cyber.”
Stephannie excelled in her schooling and looked forward to starting her career. But the closer she got to graduation, the more she realized—this wasn’t going to be as easy as she thought. In Latin America, the Cyber field is heavily dominated by men. Stephannie didn’t find she had a lot of options right out of college, but ended up finding a technology role at the Deloitte Argentina member firm. She enjoyed her work and her colleagues, but she knew this wasn’t fulfilling her ultimate purpose. She wanted something different; the feel like she was where she was supposed to be. She knew she just needed to stay the course and keep working hard like her mother had always told her, and eventually, a door would open. Her mom’s wisdom ended up ringing true but at a very unexpected time.
While visiting her sister in Washington, DC, Stephannie wanted to visit the Deloitte office in Rosslyn. She said, “I had heard how cool the office was and felt so fortunate when I was able to secure a tour with a Cyber professional.” It was on that tour that Stephannie ended up learning about a job opening. “I couldn’t believe it when they asked me to interview for the role. I had a phone interview that day and ended up having an in-person interview before I flew home. Everything just fell in place.”
Stephannie started her role in the US in 2019 and is so thankful she made the leap.
For the first time in my life, I feel like I can be my authentic self. My role is challenging, and the diversity of the team is refreshing. It’s all the little things like being able to speak Spanish to a colleague or send a Rosh Hoshana card. It’s sort of like, I can show every side of the cultures I’ve lived in, and it helps me to better connect with the people I work with and value them more.
But it wasn’t just the culture of Deloitte that inspired Stephannie, it was also the leaders. “From starting out in a place where women could seldom get a meaningful role in Cyber to having an inspiring female leading, the US Cyber & Strategic Risk offering is amazing. She [Deborah Golden, US Cyber & Strategic Risk leader for Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory] is a role model for me and shows me how far I can go with hard work and determination,” continued Stephannie.
Stephannie’s future is bright, and she can’t wait to see where her journey takes her. She’s also looking for ways she can encourage those just entering the workforce.
“I want other Latin women to know that they can have a future in Cyber and to always be authentic. When you try to be someone you aren’t, you’ll struggle, but when you are yourself, you’ll ‘fly high.’”