Faces of Deloitte Advisory - Niloo Bedrood

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Meet Niloo Bedrood

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, Niloo talks about her initial struggles when she immigrated from Iran, uncertainties, and the fight to keep pursuing her dreams.

 

 

The reality is that so many people, places, and experiences have shaped my life. But my experience as an immigrant has had by far the biggest and the earliest influence in my life. As an immigrant, you learn very quickly to start and restart in a new environment. Because you must survive. I always tell everyone: I am a proud immigrant and a proud American. Because both have equally shaped the person I am today.

I moved to the United States from Iran when I was at the tender age of 14 with my parents and my three-year-old sister. This was right after seeing how a revolution led to a world falling apart overnight, people fleeing their homes, and even my own family members getting killed or imprisoned. I remember landing in Los Angeles after months of waiting in Germany for my visa with so many fears and questions in my head. I quickly had to adapt to a new life, a new high school, a new language, a new culture, new friends—all while learning to leave the life I had behind. Although I had visited the United States before, vacationing in a new country and moving there for good are worlds apart.

My father, the biggest champion of our education, didn't think the developed circumstances in Iran would give his daughters the freedom and opportunity to be the best version of themselves. So he, too, sacrificed the life of abundance and the comfort of home for us to have a brighter future. I look back and wonder whether I could make such a huge sacrifice for my kids if I were in his shoes. But in a crisis, we make decisions with the best information we have, and that's what we did as a family.

I can talk about life experiences as a young immigrant for a long time. How my parents lost their life savings within a year, and how both of them went back to school as adults to learn a new trade. I started working at 16 to support my family and never stopped. Throughout the ups and downs, I learned the power of trust, relationships, integration, adaptation, and learning to overcome fear at a pretty young age.

Finishing high school in Los Angeles could be a daunting experience by itself and was especially so as an immigrant. My dream was to be a dentist, likely from my culture's influences encouraging careers in medicine or engineering. So I started that journey at Cal State Northridge. But after my first semester, I very quickly learned that the medical field was for sure not the path for me. I've always had a passion for learning new technology and solving problems, so in my second year, I decided to switch to business and management information systems to explore my passion for technology. Working full time while going to college at the crack of dawn and night classes was the only way I could make it work and survive. Finally, after six years, I finished at the top of my class and started working my new dream job: my journey into consulting!

Sometimes fear is just part of the journey. And you have to learn to rise above it. Working in Deloitte's Crisis Management practice, I try to instill that same mindset in my teams and clients daily.

Niloo Bedrood
Seeing crisis from both sides

After being in the field for almost 17 years, I decided I wanted to get industry experience to have firsthand knowledge of what my clients were dealing with. I worked in the heart of the media and entertainment industry, leading global financial systems and transformation for almost a decade, as well as the business recovery and resumption from an iconic cyber breach. And that experience has helped me build trust and credibility with my clients.

I look back at my collective experience and am convinced I was destined to be in a practice that helps other companies become more resilient because I've navigated many crises in my life and career. I understand the pressures companies are under; the survival game; and that when you lead a crisis, you have to be an authentic leader, take care of your people, and do the right thing—all at the speed of light.

No one has all the answers

A lot of people, especially younger professionals, are afraid to ask questions. But asking questions is what allows us to dig deep and understand what our clients are dealing with. A crisis like COVID-19, which is unlike anything I've witnessed throughout my career, can be controlled by pulling in past experiences and not being afraid to ask those critical questions.

I am a curious at heart and love being challenged, so facing uncharted territory can be exciting. I always like exploring new things, whether it's picking up playing the guitar at age 45 or playing a new sport.

Niloo Bedrood with family
Taking your team out of their comfort zone

Throughout my career, there's one quote that I always go back to: "A good leader will take their team where they want to go. But a great leader will actually take them where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be." – Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady of the United States.

Especially when you're up against extremely challenging problems, having a solid team that trusts each other is critical. So as a leader, I always try to build a safe environment where people feel comfortable bringing up issues, sharing new ideas, and, of course, asking questions.

Niloo Bedrood hiking
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Get in touch

 

Niloo Bedrood

Managing Director | Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory

Niloo is a leader in Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory’s Risk Intelligence practice. She works with companies in the technology, media and entertainment (TMT) industry helping them streamline their business process, implement and optimize technology and resilience capabilities. She leads Advisory's Salesforce alliance cross industries, helping clients build a more secure and compliant Salesforce footprint.

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