Bridging the Gap: “Creating an inclusive culture starts with leadership.”

TEDxAmsterdamWomen - Melissa Raczak

Deloitte is one of the largest multinational professional service organizations in the world. We caught up with Melissa Raczak, a Partner in the Deloitte Consulting’s Technology, Media and Telecom team. Melissa is also a strong advocate of women’s initiatives, leading the Deloitte Women’s Network (DWN) and is on the Diversity and Inclusion Board. We spoke to her about her thoughts on diversity and inclusion, as well as partnering with us, as a TEDxAmsterdamWomen Platinum Partner.

Why does Deloitte support TEDxAmsterdamWomen?
“I believe women need a platform where they feel safe and secure to share their ambitions. TEDxAmsterdamWomen creates an environment, where women share their stories, to inspire other women to go after their dream. In our women’s initiatives at Deloitte, our goal is similar. We want to attract more women and equip them with the skills needed to reach their ambitions. Self-confidence is fundamental in this, for men and women alike. When you believe in your own capabilities, you will excel. It’s important we help each other.”

How do you do this within Deloitte?
“We have various initiatives wherein our focus is threefold – attracting diverse people, retaining them and ensuring we create an environment where they can develop themselves. Creating an inclusive culture starts with leadership. You need to look at your organisation as a whole but also ask yourself, what you can do to ‘bridge that gap’. All partners took part in an inclusive leadership assessment, where the traits of an inclusive leader were made tangible. This came down to combining curiosity, cultural intelligence, collaboration, commitment, courage and cognizance of bias. In 2019 we will also bring the inclusive leadership assessment to our directors, and from there we will work our way through all levels within our organisation. In addition to this, we set targets. Even though there is a lot of criticism on this strategy, targets do get people moving. This year, 50% of all our promotions within Deloitte Consulting will be women. We make sure only to promote women who are ready, so we invest in them to be successful not only during promotion process, also to be equipped to excel in their next career step.”

What is your personal experience with inclusion?
“I have my own personal challenges and truly want to become a more inclusive leader. Becoming aware of my unconscious bias is increasingly important. Improving starts with awareness and a big part of that is learning not to immediately judge a situation, something I do often. My communication style is not always inclusive. Especially during stressful periods, I can be very direct. So now, I take more time to explain my thoughts and invest in becoming an active listener. Knowing how my team is doing and making them feel included is a priority for me.”


Thank you, Melissa. It sounds like Deloitte has several initiatives aimed at making women excel. We can’t wait to join forces for this Platinum Partnership as we both support inclusion and diversity.

If you wish to partner with TEDxAmsterdamWomen, contact us today. We would love to hear from you.