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Why we do what we do
Meet Mo Reynolds
Faces of Deloitte Advisory are true stories that explore the personal history of our professionals, sharing the experiences that defined their values and explaining why they do what they do. In this story, Mo Reynolds shares life lessons she’s learned from her parents and extended family at Deloitte—values and teachings she now passes on to today’s future leaders.
“People always remember how you treat them…while I always challenge myself to take the next hill, I’m not leaving anyone behind. Because at my most vulnerable points, my friends at Deloitte have never left me.”
Think of someone who mentored or coached you along the way. What do they believe you could still achieve?
This insistent belief—that we are made for more, and always have more to give—was instilled in me from a young age. I was not allowed to say, “I can’t.” My entrepreneurial father’s mantra was, “Losers quit when they are tired, winners quit when they are done—and we are winners.” You would think as a grown woman he would have let up a bit. But the day I became a principal, my dad sent me flowers and the card read: “Mo, congrats. Huge accomplishment. Now focus on making CEO.”
And my mother, a Catholic schoolteacher, was nothing short of a prophet. When she saw me going door to door without stopping until I hit my sales goals for the school fundraisers to win the exact prize I wanted, she predicted that I would be in some type of sales role when I grow up. She may have been joking, but she saw my conviction and courage. She knew that my ambitions would grow with time, and so would my determination. And thanks to those values and their teachings, I became an influential and inclusive female leader. Today, I mentor and sponsor future leaders by paying forward my learnings and experiences. And each day, I drive change to continually improve Deloitte, my life, and the lives of those around me. I believe my purpose is to make a meaningful impact while I am on this earth.
How? My comfort zone is discomfort. My mantra is “what doesn’t challenge us, doesn’t change us.” I want to fly into uncertain weather, into challenges where the outcome is not guaranteed. Because it’s only when we push into what we’ve never done that we discover what we’re made of. So, I get excited by motivating others toward their best and leading teams who are willing to take chances because I know that will help define who they are.
People might look at me and not see my vulnerabilities—but my colleagues have. Years ago, when I’d just become a principal, I was given a huge task, something that had never been done before in our profession. When the senior partners seemed unsure about the completion of the task by the proposed deadline, I assured them that it would be done. I said “yes” because I knew the client needed it.
But there’s something precious that project gave me—perspective on building friendships for life. One week before the deadline, I was sitting in my living room crying because I didn’t think we were going to get there. Trina Huelsman, one of our veteran leaders, called me and said, “Mo, no matter what happens, I have your back.”
To this day, I still choke up; I was nervous with an intense amount of pressure on me, and in that moment, she reminded me that, regardless of the outcome, she would support me. This proved to be quite pivotal for my career. I gained a great deal of confidence, got the opportunity to work with high-performing teams, and learned so much about governance and regulatory responses. But far more than that, I knew that I had people who would always be in my corner.
When you’re shoulder to shoulder with other motivated leaders, and you run into something that feels impossible, you know they’ll just keep forging ahead. Not that they’d stop whatever they’re doing. But when my father got very sick that’s what happened.
And maybe for the first time in my life, I couldn’t achieve my way past it. I regularly had to drive from Connecticut to Pennsylvania to be with him during his treatment and a coworker who lived there asked, “Do you need company?” He opened his home. He came and just sat with me at the hospital. And then continued to show support for me in tangible ways when Dad passed.
I am my father’s daughter. His tireless, unsinkable spirit has never left me. I’ll always be known as an optimist who is here to make an impact, and I’ll never quit. And that’s how I feel about my clients. I love creating change for them, advising them, having their back, and writing their victory speeches. I get energy from helping clients, my partners, our professionals, and my friends every day in whatever way I can. I am an empathetic person who is easily accessible to colleagues, clients, and friends.
But what am I most proud of? Well, nothing compares to raising two kind and respectful sons alongside my best friend and husband, Eli. I like to share with other moms wanting a career that it can be done and that you can have fun while building your career and raising your kids simultaneously.
But at the end of the day, more than kind words and compassionate actions, people always remember how you treat them. How you made them feel. And while I always challenge myself to take the next hill, I’m not leaving anyone behind. Because at my most vulnerable points, my friends at Deloitte have never left me.
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Principal | Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory
Mo Reynolds is a principal and newly appointed chief talent officer, recently transitioning out of the chief financial officer role, for Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory within Deloitte & Touche LLP. As a member of its Executive Committee, she bridges strategy, talent, and operations to ensure superior results for the practice while creating a meaningful talent experience.