September 20, 2019

Now Your Kids Will Get to See How Cartoony Deloitte Really Is

Through the years on this here website we’ve reported on things that were said or done at Deloitte that might be considered cartoonish. Like when Deloitte Global CEO Punit Renjen claimed Deloitte is harder to get into than Harvard. Or Penn. Then there was that time when Deloitte offered prizes to alumni and retired partners just for joining the firm’s LinkedIn group. And really anything tweeted by Life at Deloitte from about 2013 to 2015.

So, in a way, it’s not all that surprising that Deloitte is partnering up with the creators of a female cartoon character on a new comic book series.

And if for some reason you’ve always wanted to see what some of Deloitte’s women executives look like as comic book characters, now you’ll get your chance, according to a press release:

Today [Feb. 26], Deloitte and The Ella Project, creator of Ella the Engineer, announced the launch of a new collaborative comic book series with the goal of exposing girls to STEM in a fun and unique way. The graphic novel series features comic book character Ella solving various problems using her STEM skillset under the guidance of various Deloitte leaders, including Deloitte Chair and Consulting CEO Janet Foutty and Chief Innovation Officer Nishita Henry.  

To be honest, I had never heard of Ella the Engineer before. According to a 2014 Daily Mail article, Ella was created by a dad of two daughters, Anthony Onesto, who thought introducing a female comic book character who can code and hack would get girls more interested in tech careers from a young age.

I asked my fourth-grade daughter last night if she’s ever heard of Ella the Engineer. “Uh, no.” I had her ask her friend, who she was talking to on her iPad, if she’s ever heard of Ella the Engineer. “No.” My sixth-grade daughter had never heard of Ella either. But at least both of my daughters know what STEM means (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), so that’s a plus.

STEM seems to be something that the women leaders at Deloitte are passionate about. The firm cites research from the National Girls Collaborative Project that found women represent only 28% of STEM jobs in the U.S. According to Deloitte’s own research, there will be 3.5 million STEM jobs that need to be filled by 2025, with more than 2 million going unfilled due to the lack of highly-skilled candidates to meet current demand.

Deloitte partnered with Salesforce in 2017 to develop Pathfinder, a program that works with community colleges, veterans, and other professionals looking to re-enter the workforce to develop in-demand STEM-related skills. In addition, the Deloitte Foundation works with the nonprofit group Base 11 in creating a nationally scalable STEM career accelerator model for high school students through experiential learning curriculum.

Henry said:

“The goal of our collaboration with The Ella Project is to give young girls a role model to inspire them to learn more about STEM. These adventures with Ella show that developing STEM skills is a gateway to a great career and empowers girls to have a deeper understanding of solving problems in our day-to-day world.”

The series, which will include four comic books and a graphic novel, “champions problem-solving skills, tech-savviness, collaboration, and various emerging technologies to get to the bottom of hijinks and challenges facing the main characters,” according to Deloitte.

In the first issue, Fouty—pictured (or drawn?) above with Ella—encourages our young protagonist to use analytics in order to find her stolen class hedgehog. The graphic novel series will be circulated to schools and educational groups around the country, Deloitte said.

Other Deloitte women leaders who will be featured in the series include Catherine Bannister, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and chief talent officer, technology; and Kelly Herrod, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

But what about Cathy Engelb … oh wait, that’s right. Nevermind.

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