Janet Foutty – Most Influential Women in Accounting 2020-2021



Janet Foutty

2020-2021 Most Influential Women in Accounting
Executive chairman
Deloitte United States

What measures would you suggest to employers to be more effective in retaining and advancing women?

For employers looking to retain and advance women, it is important that the organizational culture is built on a foundation of fairness and inclusiveness and that sponsorship is a critical component. It means having leaders willing to put their political capital on the line for someone else, including those with diverse backgrounds and experiences. It is about building a leadership pipeline based on a diverse set of training, experience and skills that represent the diversity of stakeholders.

What book (s), blog (s) or podcast (s) do you recommend that have guided you on your journey?

I am a big fan of podcasts as a news source because of their convenience, I like to listen to them now in the morning while exercising or on a walking break. For my daily motto I listen Up first from NPR and What are the news from the Wall Street Journal, then grab PIVOT from NY Magazine every week or two for a broad view of business, technology, politics, and media. During this period of working from home, it allowed me to recommit myself to reading (and rereading) books as well. I read a combination of business and fiction books. I recently finished reading a terrific new book on how men can become better allies for women, titled “Good Guys” by Brad Johnson and David Smith.

McKinsey & Company released its 2020 Women in the Workplace study which basically says that the current pandemic is starting to impact the progress women, especially women of color, have made in the profession. What advice would you give employers to support women during this time so that the future of our workforce is not negatively affected?

Commitment in three key areas: a) unequivocal sponsorship from above; b) an ongoing evolution around diversity and inclusion that emphasizes equity – the quality of being fair and impartial; and c) fostering a culture of accountability for results, not just effort.

Describe someone who has been an important mentor and sponsor to you and how that person has helped shape the direction or direction of your professional life.

They say business is halfway between art and science, well, so am I. My mother was an artist and my father was a scientist. Through their different goals, they each encouraged me to ask thoughtful questions, give honest feedback, and pay close attention to the world around me.

Please share a personal rule or principle that you follow.

I am passionate about using writing and storytelling to help create a sense of community within my teams. One of my mantras is “write it down, and write it over and over and over and over until it is as clear as possible.” Written communication offers many advantages in creating personal relationships, especially in organizations where the team size can run into the hundreds or even thousands, and especially during this period of remote work; to provide a means of refining the clarity of an idea, concept or proposition.

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