'It's important to be authentic ...'
Looking at challenges as opportunities: I'm the type of professional who needs not a job but a mission, one that aligns to my values and a higher purpose. When you have that, challenges become less of a negative because your eye is on the destination, not the bumps in the road. I was the first African American partner at Deloitte in Florida when I became partner in 1999. I was going up the ranks and got closer to senior manager, and I think that's when I realized it was getting real. That became the destination that pushed me: I decided I would make partner and I would do it here in Miami, where I grew up.
Leading during a challenging time: None of us were given a playbook for how to lead in a pandemic. I focus on our strengths. We're great at connectivity and communication. It has been about connecting with our partners and leadership, connecting with the teams and with clients. There have been a lot of phone calls to just ask how people are doing. We have business activities — from town halls to leadership discussions to checking in on our teams and our clients — and we try to have fun. We've done virtual dance parties where people brought their kids as well. I also think it's important to be authentic — I get tired of looking at the four walls of my house, too, and I tell them that.
Facing issues of racial justice, diversity, and inclusion: In the middle of this pandemic, we ended up with a heightened awareness of racial justice and the issues that have been there for hundreds of years. I've been a proponent of talking about these issues for years and was the firm's diversity leader for our audit practice. It wasn't something new, but now everyone is ready to have the conversation. We worked on safe dialogue sessions — leaders could have an open, candid discussion with anyone that wanted to talk in a safe space. We had conversations with our client teams and with our offices. It didn't matter what race they were; everyone wanted to understand more. What we realized is that silence is not OK. Leaders need to be open and honest.
Helping clients now, and looking ahead: As our clients work remotely or begin to reopen, we're really leveraging the technology that we've been layering in over the last five years. We have the cloud; we can upload and are able to see things in real time. We're engaging with our clients through technology, and we haven't missed a step. Is it exactly the same? No, but in terms of getting the work done and engaging our clients, it has been pretty seamless. We're also sharing best practices. We're serving our clients, but in addition to the traditional accounting services, it's also sending the message that we're all human and we're all sharing in this together.
Kim Griffin-Hunter, CPA, is South Florida managing partner for Deloitte.
Last great book you read or movie you saw: Black Panther
Favorite podcast or app: Bible.is
Something always on your desk or in your travel bag: Inspirational messages
— As told to Lea Hart, a freelance writer based in Virginia. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Ken Tysiac, the JofA's editorial director, at Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com.