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Arrieux Jr.’s Strategy: Skills-Based Hiring and Inclusive Growth

Roger G. Arrieux Jr. NY office managing partner, Deloitte LLP, offers a glimpse of what DEI looks like when it works.

by Eva Francis, The Amsterdam News

True leaders have vision, connect with people, and inspire growth. By these measures, Roger G. Arrieux Jr. stands out. As east region market leader and managing partner of Deloitte’s New York office—the organization’s largest and its US headquarters—he is focused on advancing both the business and equity.

“Success has to do with being innovative,” Arrieux Jr. says, adding that his drive to succeed is “an outgrowth of my love for New York City” — and a love for people expressed through creating opportunity for Deloitte professionals and the broader community of New York, which is Arrieux Jr’s hometown. “Collective success and opportunity are key to making this community—my community— a welcoming and supportive place for all that live and visit here,” he says.

With an MBA in finance from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Baruch College, Arrieux Jr. is deeply devoted to workforce development, and strives to foster a culture of growth, diversity, and inclusion, in his capacity as managing partner for the New York office, which has nearly 8,000 employees from countries across the world. He believes in skills-based hiring and aims to break down barriers to higher education and quality employment.

“I am proud to have achieved a modicum of success, and I constantly seek opportunities to pay it forward,” says Arrieux Jr., who is a licensed certified public accountant. “I derive great satisfaction in creating a culture of success within and external to Deloitte. This is an exciting time for us as we continue to focus on key elements of our culture, such as DEI, professional development, physical and mental well-being, and hybrid work.”

His commitment to creating opportunities extends to volunteerism. He supports the NY CEO Jobs Council, chairs the Harlem YMCA’s and Braven New York’s charitable boards, and serves on several others. As an active participant in groups such as Board Ready and the Black Boardroom Initiative, Arrieux Jr. also works to help increase diversity in boardrooms and C-suites.

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Read on to learn more about his work and the legacy he’s creating for the next generation of leaders.

Eva Francis: To what do you owe your success in your career and in your life?

Roger G. ArrieuxJr.: My own success is primarily due to support from my family, who worked obsessively hard. I’ve been lucky, and I, too, have worked tirelessly. I’ve also made a continuous investment into myself — learning, and applying what I’ve learned, especially about clients’ pain points, and the value of connecting and collaborating with others. And I pay that forward by elevating voices, developing talent, increasing opportunity, and building leadership pathways throughout a broad community.

EF: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned professionally, and how has it changed your perspective?

RA: I’ve been with Deloitte for more than 30 years, and I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes. During my career, my focus early on was being a specialist or technician. That is critically important, but it’s never enough. You really need to have great eminence as a leader and developer of talent as well. You must be certain that you know and help others and that you let others know and help you. That’s how we achieve collective success.

EF:  What advice do you have for people from marginalized groups who want to climb the corporate ladder?

RA: I’m a big believer in the idea that while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not. There are financial, familial, and societal barriers that may stand in your way. Having access to jobs is a critical component of economic mobility, and this can have generational impact.

My best advice to anybody is to invest, invest, invest in yourself both intellectually and socially. As I said, it’s very important to be a technician, a specialist, but that will only take you so far. Make certain that you and your talents are known and that you know others and  their talents. Be curious, ask questions, do independent work to educate yourself on matters outside your experience. Present yourself confidently and demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable, have invested in yourself and are prepared to make investments in others.

EF:  What is Deloitte doing to expand professional opportunities for marginalized peoples?

RA: My New York colleagues serve on over 200 boards throughout the city, and much of that work is geared toward assisting those that are under-resourced.

We’ve set up many different programs to support those who perhaps have not benefited from opportunities that others may have easily encountered. For example, we have established Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable (MADE), a commitment that combines both financial support and the depth of resources an organization of Deloitte’s size can bring to attract diverse individuals into the accounting field and support them as they chart their paths from high school to business professional to industry leadership.

EF: How have race and identity affected your career path and professional goals?

RA: Early in my career I felt that there was a perception among some that I didn’t belong. So, I invested in myself and relationships. I made sure to generally be the first one in the office and the last one to leave. Being well-prepared, with attention to detail and strategy, helped me to differentiate between constructive criticism and bias, and thereafter, to overcome those biases. That was critical. And it was of paramount importance for me to understand my value proposition and to ensure that those around me understood it as well.

It is important to embrace the idea that ultimately, Corporate America values talent. Becoming that specialist, that technician, making sure that others recognize and seek you out for the value you deliver can help dispel biases that others may have.

EF: How do you define equity — overall and specifically in corporate culture?

RA:  I view it as making sure that opportunity is made equally available to all, with an understanding that achieving collective success — because that’s the end goal — may require different approaches for some people on the team. Everyone might not come equipped with the same tools and resources for making the most of an opportunity. To make it an equal opportunity, organizations should take action to help their people bridge that gap. Equity requires sweeping advances, across industries, health care, housing and more. All these efforts are investments worthy of our time, and it is a good thing to collaborate with people and organizations who are candid about their desire to change practices that have and continue to place underresourced communities at a disadvantage.

EF:  How do you advocate for equity in your work and in your life?

RA:  In my volunteer and civic work spanning numerous organizations, my primary focus is on providing opportunities for academic acceleration and improvement to underresourced youth. Supporting this next generation of talent is profoundly important as we work toward a diverse and inclusive workforce and the broader changes that contribute to equity.

In addition to supporting MADE, I also work with organizations such as Board Ready, the Black Boardroom Initiative, and the New York Jobs CEO Council. Each of them supports critical points in the career journey.

EF:How does Deloitte’sculture of workforce diversity contribute to the organization’s growth and success?

RA: A group of like individuals is more apt to provide like-minded solutions to a complex problem. That approach is not what differentiates us, nor does it result in maximum optimization. Our teams are generally comprised of diverse persons in every regard—gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, experience, and more. That diversity of personnel produces a diversity of thought and ideas, which in turn produces a diversity of optimal solutions. That capability to bring diverse perspectives serves us well in advising our clients as they solve their problems.

EF: You’re known for your work in helping to diversify corporate boards. What needs to happen for more boards to truly reflect our nation’s population?

RA: At the current pace, Fortune 500 boards are unlikely to represent the nation’s population through at least 2060. Diverse talent is available; the issue is that organizations have not always actively cast a wide net when it comes to seeking talented, diverse individuals who might want to be considered for a public company board role. It is up to nominating committees and their organizations to cast that wider net.

EF: What legacy do you want to leave for the next generation of leaders?

RA:  During my time in this role, there has been tremendous change in Corporate America in recognizing the need to advance opportunity for all. Plenty of work remains. This generation of leaders needs to pave the way for our next generation, and I am determined to create a broader, stronger structure for that opportunity for all, both within Deloitte and beyond our walls.

My vision for the next generation of leaders, including Black leaders, is that they can feel seen, heard, and safe in the workplace and achieve their maximum potential. To make that happen, we need to dismantle racism, promote allyship, and empower equity for all. My hope is that the next generation of leaders builds on that legacy.

This articles also appeared in The Exchange a Deloitte Development LLC publication

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