As a leader at US Deloitte Digital, Dounia Senawi’s goal is to build the happiest practice.
“Happy people do good work!” says Dounia Entrepreneur on a call from the Deloitte Digital US studio in New York – where she has spent the past nine years as a principal, and was recently promoted to Chief Commercial Officer.
Here, she leads Deloitte Digital’s go-to-market efforts in the United States, defining business strategy and establishing linkages and alignment between the firm’s offerings, alliances, sales, product and marketing functions. .
She is – she admits – an “infectiously positive” person who draws her energy from those who approach life with optimism and determination and who is open and honest in her conversations with people.
“Setting a vision, inspiring others to take action, using stories to bring it to life, recognizing others and making time for personal relationships – it all counts,” says Dounia, who views her job as a sport of team – understanding the importance of having a strong and diverse team made up of people with different skills and backgrounds.
“We need to make flexible working more than a policy”
As a woman in tech and a first-generation American born to immigrant parents, Dounia is particularly passionate about developing talent and women in tech and takes every opportunity to encourage and support the professional growth of her colleagues and her team. crew.
Even with a hybrid work model, she prioritizes spending time on personal relationships at all levels, identifying ways to inspire and motivate.
“I encourage my teams to discuss both successes and failures and to share more personal stories. I am open and honest in my conversations and place inclusion, collaboration and respect first.
She adds, “If you want women to choose tech as a career path, you have to live it, be balanced and flexible, and share what works and what doesn’t.
Dounia points to the hybrid model as a particular challenge for women, who experience a high degree of burnout to feel “always on”.
A study recently published by Deloitte found that one-third of women rated their ability to disconnect from work as “weak” or “very weak”; almost half felt that their career progression would be affected if they were not permanently available; and over 50% did not feel comfortable talking about their challenges.
As leaders, we need to make sure flexible working is more than a policy, she says. “There must be a clear commitment to those who choose him and the assurance that there will be no career penalty. We need to get women and allies in visible leadership roles working in hybrid models so that we normalize it rather than be an exception.
An ally is someone who is not only willing to listen and learn, but also willing to use their personal capital to advance someone who is not in a position of power or not represented at the table.
“What has impacted me is how personally I have been supported by others. Our CEO, Dan Helfrich, uses daily equations to talk about behaviors that are important to demonstrate, and the ne of them is that “your well-being is greater than the well-being of your organization”.
“I’m not sorry for the days I can’t travel or the times I can take off early so I can see my son’s face when I pick him up from school. I want the women on my team to see that it is possible to balance a leadership role with being a mother, and I hope they feel empowered to do the same.
“We are all creative problem solvers”
Dounia says it was Deloitte Digital’s strong collaboration and teamwork that drew her to the firm nearly nine years ago, when she first worked with the consultancy on the digital transformation of a regional bank in which she worked.
“I was drawn to the Deloitte Digital team’s strong work ethic, problem-solving skills and ability to get things done,” she says, adding that as soon as the project was launched, she joined Deloitte Digital with a personal mandate to “help other companies drive growth, define ambition, design customer and employee experiences, and enable new business models.” »
She says being a former Deloitte Digital client has given her a unique perspective. “I understand the time, investment and reputational risk that comes with embarking on significant transformational change and what it takes to achieve successful results.”
A creative business powered by a consulting firm, Deloitte Digital began its journey 10 years ago and over the past decade has helped clients shape strategy, unlock insights, create value for the brand, improve experiences, create customer solutions and optimize operations.
“We are all creative problem solvers,” says Dounia, “We are committed to helping businesses gain competitive advantage from the convergence of technology and creativity and compete in new digital worlds. We’re not afraid to tackle the issues that matter to us, our customers and the world.
Dounia describes the last five years at the firm as “extraordinarily dynamic”, and the last two years as witnessing “explosive growth”; and thinks the next five years will be too, as the company continues to position businesses for new challenges and opportunities.
“We will help our customers navigate the changing competitive landscape while earning loyalty and trust in their customer interactions,” she told Business Chief.
“There is a real promise of everything in real time. In addition to speed, customers expect more differentiated and personalized experiences, and companies will need to continue to adopt new technologies to optimize the way they work in marketing, sales and service. Everyone needs to think about how they connect with their customers in new, unique and different ways. »
In her new role, Dounia says she is excited to explore new ways to increase trade, develop new businesses and create new opportunities.
“With a clear focus on growth and purpose, I will continue to drive thought and innovation and the integration and application of new technologies to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers,” says she.
“I also take seriously the privilege and responsibility of using my platform to advocate and be an ally for others, especially women in tech and most recently as a member of the Middle East Steering Committee. , North Africa and allies.”