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Meet Diego Molina

Faces of Deloitte Advisory is a series of true stories that explore the personal history of our practitioners, highlighting key experiences that defined their values and explaining why they do what they do. In this story, Diego describes the deep passion he has for his work, as well as his desire to help others through mentorship.

 

 

I moved to the United States from Venezuela when I was 17 years old. Although I barely spoke any English at the time, I decided to take a leap of faith and get out of my comfort zone.

So why and how did I end up here?

Being raised in Venezuela, I have seen first-hand how certain hardships have divided and damaged my country in ways that people can’t really imagine. Venezuela was once Latin America’s richest country and one of its longest-running democracies. Today, it is nearly a failed state, plagued by inflation and extreme poverty. After surviving a kidnapping attempt at the age of 17, I knew I needed to get away. Even though that meant moving away from my comfort zone—and my entire family.

I applied and was ultimately selected for a student exchange program in the US. Through the program, I was placed with a family in Nebraska, and they became my lifeline to learning everything about the American culture. Their two young children basically taught me how to speak English. And to top off my new all-American experience, I decided to join the high school football team as their kicker.

At the end of my exchange year, I decided to apply to different universities. I was ultimately accepted into Creighton University, in a nearby city called Omaha. However, at the time, I was still struggling to adjust to the new environment and was a bit homesick. After four difficult years filled with hard work and sacrifices, I was fortunate enough to graduate summa cum laude with numerous awards and recognitions.

Through my high school and college experience, I’ve gotten pretty good at adjusting to new situations and learning as much as I possibly can along the way. Because, as with anything in life, if you want to survive and be successful, you have to learn to adjust.

Diego at Deloitte
Pushing myself to compete with the best

At Creighton, I majored in finance and management information systems. It seemed like a natural fit because I’ve always really liked numbers and I am very passionate about technology—always wanting the latest gadgets and trying to figure out how things work.

But I didn’t yet know what I wanted to do in the real world. Following an investment banking internship in the summer of my Junior year, I realized that finance wasn’t the right career path for me.

I decided to shift my focus and try something in the technology field, since I knew that was more aligned with my passion. And that’s when I came across an opportunity at Deloitte; a new experience in a new city—Chicago. Coming into Deloitte, I didn’t have a long-term plan. I just knew I wanted to dedicate myself 100% and learn as much as I could about different areas.

I like to think of my career as a race: If I’m running against a group of people who are all slower than me, I’m probably going to win the race every time. But if I’m competing in a race where I’m one of the slower ones, I’ll probably actually run faster because my competition is pushing me to get better.

At Deloitte, I never feel like I’m the smartest person in the room—and that’s a good thing. There are always smarter people around me, and that pushes me to keep learning and to try to reach their level.

Diego running
Paying it forward

I am a very passionate person, and I bring that passion to work every day. When I am working with clients, I always try to give them 100% of my time, skills, and knowledge.

I am very passionate about helping clients design and implement transformational enterprise security programs so they can better manage their cyber risks, while making sure these programs align with their business priorities.

You cannot be taught how to be passionate—you’re either passionate about something or you’re not—and I get to do what I’m most passionate about with my clients and colleagues every day. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today. But I also had a lot of mentors who played a big role in helping me succeed. Because of them, I make an effort every day to pay it forward and help others along the way.

Whether they’re high school students or new hires at Deloitte, I try to take five to ten people under my wing each year. Having relied so much on my host family and mentors throughout college, I know how important it is to have someone you can turn to and trust. And it’s easy to get lost without that guidance.
A few years ago, a group of high school students came to tour the Deloitte office in Chicago. I was introduced to a girl from a rough neighborhood in Chicago. Not surprisingly, no one in her entire family had ever gone to college before. She kindly asked me to be her informal mentor and we stayed in touch over the years. Through my support and her own efforts over the years, she was awarded a scholarship to the University of Illinois, interned at Deloitte her junior year, and just started working with us full-time. It’s amazing to think I played even the smallest role in helping her get here.

Especially compared to most people back home in Venezuela, I realize how fortunate I am to have the opportunities that I’ve had throughout my life so far. And that’s what motivates me to dedicate myself 100% to everything I do and pay it forward whenever I can. I am grateful for the struggles and challenges in my personal life because they’ve made me a more compassionate and grateful citizen of the world. As I attempt to pay it forward, it is a personal goal of mine to make our communities and our work environments a more inclusive place for everyone.

Diego running
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Get in touch

 


Diego Alvarez Molina

Manager | Cyber Strategy

Diego is a Manager in Deloitte’s Cyber Risk Strategy practice focusing on information security, strategy, defense, and response across the Financial Services and Technology industries. He has over eight years of experience in the planning, design, execution and delivery of numerous large-scale cybersecurity projects, including: assessing and developing an organization's forward looking cyber strategy; aligning an organization's cyber operating model to its overall security & enterprise goals; and assisting clients with strategies to manage emerging trends in cyber such as blockchain and 5G. Diego also has extensive experience performing cybersecurity maturity assessments, cloud assessments, identity and access management restructuring, cyber regulatory preparedness, among many other areas.

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