Sharon Allen has spent 38 years at Deloitte. Doing the math on that, it probably feels more like a millennia. Accordingly, Ms. Allen has decided to hang up her green dot and chillax in Pasadena (keeping an eye on the husband, no doubt).
The Deloitte Board Chairman (her preferred term!) did a Q&A with Accounting Today and we've picked out some of the highlights, including yes, a par-tay.
For starters, Sharon is a closer!
It’s a good time to leave when you’re on a high. I feel very confident in future leadership and the direction of our organization, and I think it’s just absolutely the right time to turn the reins over to others and proudly watch them continue to lead the firm in a good direction.
There will be a retirement rager, natch.
I’m going to have a big party. Yes.
Retirement will involve quality time with the hubby (but not so much that he goes nuts) and leading the Village People.
First of all I plan to spend a lot more time with my husband, family and friends, but of course there will probably be a limit on how much togetherness he can stand.[...] I have already committed to becoming the chairman of the board of the national YMCA board, which is an organization I’ve been involved with for over 25 years. I’m sure I will find ways to keep productively busy.
In case you weren't aware, she doesn't have a Y chromosome.
I am proud of many firsts that are in front of the titles I have carried. I was fortunate to be the first woman to become an office managing partner, the first woman to become a regional managing partner, the first woman to be elected to the board at Deloitte, and that’s been some years ago now. But I have to say my proudest accomplishment, I believe, was to have been elected as the first independent chairman of Deloitte’s board of directors. We separated our chairman and CEO role and created a full-time independent executive chairman of the board. It is an elected position by our partners, and I was very proud to be elected to that role. I always say, “Oh, by the way, I’m a woman.” It’s a very important distinction for me.
She's more like you than you think - she got passed up for a manager promotion because her supervisor was clueless!
[P]erhaps one of the most important challenges that I had as I was coming up through my career also turned out to be one of my best lessons. That was when I was about four years into the firm and I expected an early promotion to manager, and I was passed over for that promotion. Interestingly, as I walked into my supervisor’s office and clicked off all the reasons why I thought I should have had the promotion and had earned it, he kind of sat back in his chair and looked at me and said, “I didn’t even know you did all those things.”
What about this boys club mentality?
I do think that there still is an underrepresentation of women in senior leadership in business generally and certainly in the board room of corporate organizations today. I do believe that organizations need to examine how they are recruiting, how they assure women are proportionally given the best assignments.
You know, back in the day, we basically had to come to work in drag.
There is a very big difference between today’s women and women of my era when I started in the profession because, in those days, honestly, you almost had to pretend there were no differences. I came up in the business world of wearing a suit and a little bow tie and trying to dress like the men and, of course, fortunately, men and women both can acknowledge the difference and benefit from that.
Leave Sharon your well wishes (or food and entertainment requests) below and if you get invited to this party, email us the pictures.