Spotlight on Women
Diane Wallace, Partner, Deloitte Touche LLP
Photo by Jen & Bec
How long have you been with Deloitte?
I joined the firm right out of college and have been here for 23 years. I grew up in western Kentucky and started there. I always knew I wanted to be in accounting. Deloitte had just started the Women’s Initiative program, which appealed to me. It provided opportunities to have a work/life fit while continuing on a professional path.
What was your next move?
Then I moved to New York to make partner. I spent seven years there before being transferred to San Diego. While in the New York office, I was chief of staff to the CEO, and at the same time I continued serving clients as an audit partner. I was also in charge of the Women’s Initiative while I was in New York. My responsibility included five offices.
What is the male/female ratio at Deloitte?
We have around 32 percent women partners and directors. Deloitte just named a woman as CEO of the overall firm. She is the first woman CEO of all the professional accounting and consulting firms.
What impact has your career had on your family?
I married my high-school sweetheart. Our graduating class was 80 in a small western Kentucky town. My husband is a stay-at-home dad, so he manages the family. I haven’t been in a grocery store in 10 years. My earlier moves were easy because our son and daughter were younger. This move to San Diego took a little more adjusting with my daughter, but we worked it out.
To whom do you credit your success?
My dad always pushed me to be assertive, and he encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. Then when I left Kentucky, it was a senior audit leader who was my mentor and helped me progress throughout my career.
Do you do the same for others?
I have mentored so many women and helped them progress to the partnership level. Mentoring is very big to me because I am involved in all of our women’s programs. I continue to try to be a role model to our women.
What is a typical workweek for you?
I work 40- to 50-hour weeks except for busy season, which last week was 76 hours. I love my life and what I do.
How do you spend your weekends?
My son is involved in sports, so we have baseball games, or dressage horses for my daughter and other family activities. When we don’t have activities, we just hang out at our pool. We take three or four vacations a year and spend a week in Kentucky.
How do you give back to the community?
Deloitte expects managers to give back. Once a year in June, every location, offices are closed worldwide, and employees give back to the community. Locally we are always looking for projects in which we can participate. It is a wonderful program, and we all love working together. Personally I serve on the YWCA board and also on the Salvation Army Advisory Board.
What do you see in your future?
My largest clients are public companies, which means I can only serve a client for five years as audit partner. I probably have two more moves, and I don’t know where they will be. By then my kids will be in college, so it won’t be so tough. After that I will look at any opportunity that arises.