Promoting diversity in the workplace is more – much more – than a buzz phrase in the 21st century.
Among top-rated companies, Deloitte has embraced this concept with its ALL IN strategy, focusing on diversity, inclusion and gender.
“These three core pillars aim to create an environment where everyone has equal opportunity to grow, develop, succeed and be their truest selves,” says Lise Corbin, a director in Deloitte Cayman’s Risk Advisory practice.
Corbin, who started her career with Deloitte 15 years ago, recalls her personal journey to becoming involved with promoting this strategy.
“Throughout my career, I have typically found myself at the boardroom table surrounded by men. It wasn’t until 2013 that I had the opportunity to work on a project for a client who had a strong, respected, female CEO.
“It was my first true encounter with a global C-suite female executive, and I was in awe,” says Corbin. “She was intelligent, commanded the room and was respected by her peers. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to have dinner with her where she took the time to share with me her perspectives on the importance of women at the table, the challenges she had faced in her career, and how she overcame them.
“This was a tipping point for me, where I realised the importance of having strong female mentors and supporters, and what I needed to do to help showcase this for Deloitte.”
Jennifer Skinner, the regional talent leader for Deloitte in the Caribbean and Bermuda Countries, adds that the company developed an inclusion strategy for Cayman and the wider Caribbean back in 2014-2015.
“By January 2019, we were ‘all in,’” says Skinner, who has more than 15 years’ experience in human resources in the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean.
She says the strategy represents the company’s commitment to supporting and strengthening its culture of inclusion, “which empowers all our people to be at their best both professionally and personally.”
“It is critical that we offer career development opportunities that are equally available to all our professionals, regardless of gender,” says Skinner.
She points out another key benefit: “We know that organisations with a greater number of women in executive leadership roles outperform those which are less diverse. That is why women in leadership is a primary focus of our global strategy.
“Working in diverse teams results in better outcomes for the business while providing a differentiated talent experience for our people,” Skinner says. “It also helps to attract top talent, as today’s workforce actively seeks out employers who demonstrate an inclusive culture.”
Corbin points out another element that is key to developing a top-notch workforce.
“Many women professionals are shattering the glass ceiling, breaking down barriers and becoming recognised as strong leaders,” she says. “A key factor that has contributed to this growth is the mentorship provided by both male and female leaders. Having strong mentors can encourage individuals to broaden their mindset, take ownership of their careers, and establish a path for continuous growth.”
As far as advice or suggestions for other women seeking to establish or further their career, Corbin says, “Find someone whose career path aligns with your goals and look out for leaders that you aspire to emulate.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get to know your colleagues. You will find that connecting with people can be a key factor in accelerating your career.”
Corbin describes the approach that has helped her succeed: “Exposing myself to new experiences, gaining new perspectives and knowledge in subject areas, and getting out of my comfort zone has allowed me to broaden my professional and personal toolkit, become more confident in my abilities, and strengthened my conviction to continuously build my brand.”