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Janet Foutty – 2020-2021 Most Powerful Women in Accounting


Janet Foutty

2020-2021 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
Executive Chair
Deloitte U.S.

What steps would you offer to employers to be more effective in retaining and advancing women?

For employers looking to retain and advance women, it’s important that the culture of the organization has a foundation of equity and inclusivity and sponsorship is a critical component. It means having leaders willing to put their political capital on the line for someone else, including those that have diverse backgrounds and experiences. It’s about building a leadership pipeline based on a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences, 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 love to listen to them now in the morning while exercising or when taking a walking break. For my daily currency I listen to Up First from NPR and What’s News from the Wall Street Journal, and then catch PIVOT from NY Magazine  every week or two for a broad take on business, tech, politics and media. During this time of working from home, it has afforded me the ability to recommit to reading (and re-reading) books as well. I read a combination of business and fiction books. I recently completed reading a great, new book on how men can become better allies to women called ‘Good Guys’ by Brad Johnson and David Smith.

McKinsey & Company issued their 2020 Women in the Workplace study that basically says that the current pandemic is starting to impact the strides women, especially women of color, have made in the profession. What advice would you give to employers to support women during this time so that the future of our workforce isn’t negatively impacted?

Commitment across three key areas: a) unequivocal sponsorship from the top;  b) continuous evolution around diversity and inclusion which includes an emphasis on equity – the quality of being fair and impartial;  and c) fostering a culture grounded in accountability for outcomes, not just efforts.

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

They say business is equal parts art and science—well, so am I.  My mother was an artist, and my father was a scientist. Through their different lenses, 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 utilizing writing and storytelling to help build a sense of community within my teams. One of my mantras is, “write it, and write it again, and again and again until it is clear as possible.” Written communication provides many benefits from building personal connections, especially in organizations where you may have a team size in the hundreds or even thousands, and especially during this time of remote working; to providing a way to  hone the clarity of an idea, concept, or proposal.

Read more about the 2020-2021 Most Powerful Women in Accounting Winners.