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Life at Deloitte
Career Journey: Caroline Schoenecker
Consulting professional who reinvented herself at Deloitte
“I think that Deloitte, being as big as it is, provides an opportunity for you to create your own career path. And it’s funny. You hear a lot about that when you are in recruiting mode, but I have been able to live it now and know it’s not just lip service. When I came back from maternity leave, I decided I didn’t want to be on the road as I had been. So I looked for ways to reinvent myself — still within Deloitte, perhaps within consulting, still connected to Strategy & Operations – but with the goal of not getting on an airplane every Monday morning. My network was supportive and excited to share a multitude of opportunities that would help me add value to Deloitte and continue to be part of the consulting network.” — Caroline Schoenecker, Chief of Staff, Inclusion, Deloitte Services LP
In the name of business, Caroline Schoenecker has pedaled a bike with her team around Minneapolis, squared off in a buffalo-wing-eating contest (she downed 18 wings and took second place), and competed in egg-on-spoon races and dodge ball for a McLean office tournament called the “McLympics.” So when she talks about immersing one’s self in the Deloitte culture and making the organization a better place by contributing in lots of ways, she speaks with credibility.
Caroline joined Strategy & Operations at Deloitte out of the Darden School of Business at UVA, at which point she’d already spent four years as a teacher and talent strategist with Teach For America. In fact, she says that she still approaches difficult client situations the way she approached a classroom full of 10-year-olds. “I am going to be positive. I am going to work with my team. And I am going to mitigate challenges, and in the end, the bottom line cannot suffer.”
She joined Deloitte as a generalist, working like many consultants on client sites in various cities around the country. She worked in numerous industries, including financial services, energy, and health care across a variety of functional disciplines. She says of one assignment, “I thought of myself as a valuable team player and I really helped to be the conduit between Deloitte’s recommendations and approach and our client’s context, goals, and priorities.”
Then in 2013, Caroline gave birth to Maggie. “Deloitte is a great place to return to after maternity leave,” she says. Caroline was able to choose a path for her career that would keep her closer to home, shifting from client work to projects related to internal (or organizational) operations without feeling like she had to take a less-challenging or dynamic role. She was able to find roles that added value while still affording her predictability and flexibility. She worked on a virtual project team to help create reporting mechanisms and tools around key performance metrics for finance operations, helping them support client teams more effectively and efficiently. That project led to another, working with partners and principals from around the world to help the global transformation group develop go-to-market methodologies.
Caroline on “Why Deloitte?”
“I wanted to choose an organization where I could see that the people who were working there for 3, 5, 10, 15 years were similar to me personally and professionally. And I found that at Deloitte.”
Choose your own path
Today, Caroline serves in a Chief of Staff role supporting Deb DeHaas, Deloitte LLP's Chief Inclusion Officer and National Managing Partner for the Center for Corporate Governance. In this role, Caroline helps drive core efforts within the Inclusion Center of Excellence and the Center for Corporate Governance. She serves as a key resource in determining and driving strategic priorities, supporting executive leadership, and managing teams to bring goals to fruition.
For three years, Caroline has also co-chaired the Deloitte Women's Leadership Launch, a unique conference for MBA women and part of Deloitte Consulting’s Women’s Initiative. Additionally, she helps to lead campus recruiting efforts at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. One piece of advice? She emphasizes to recruits that they need to know their personal brand well: “If you were stuck in the elevator with our CEO, would you be able to succinctly articulate who you are and what you can deliver?”
Outside work, Caroline likes to run and read almost as much as she likes to binge-watch television dramas. She admittedly is a coffee addict. And, of course, her favorite thing is family time with Maggie and John, her husband, which is something that she protects, blocking off time at the end of each day: “It allows me to refocus on my daughter and husband, and not miss story time with Maggie.”