I am originally an Indian, born and bred in the Middle East with all higher education completed in the United States and United Kingdom. At a personal level I always wanted to travel the world and have the opportunity to interact with people from various ethnicities and backgrounds. This diverse background gave me the confidence to initiate my career in the United States with a public accounting firm as I felt that my personal interest of travelling and interacting with people from different cultures would not end but would get further enhanced with a career in a public accounting firm.

I have worked with female leaders from various ethnicities and realized that the term work/life balance is created by people that are trying to make a choice among the two roles in their lives of being a successful professional or home maker in the long run. Although, after joining Deloitte in 2007, I realized that for me both roles actually move in parallel and complement each other.

Today, when I look back at my personal graph, I feel that working for Deloitte was more of a personal achievement for me. Moving back to the Middle East with Deloitte as a Manager in 2007 helped me meet my professional and personal goals. I was given an opportunity to lead on various assignments across the region from a service line and geographic perspective.

The family-oriented culture at Deloitte, which is evident by their internal policies (flex or part- working arrangement for all levels of staff, extended maternity leave for first time mothers, child’s education that includes kindergarten and most importantly the co-operation from our partners to work from home, when any exceptional situation occurs at home), settle down with my husband in the Middle East. Furthermore, the flexibility and support I received in the last two years of my career from the Partners at Deloitte encouraged me to start a new journey of motherhood this year. I believe that Deloitte allows and supports women to not only accomplish their professional aspirations but also encourages and teaches them to be leaders in all spectrums of life. All female leaders that I have interacted with in Deloitte so far have been my mentors and have taught me to build my personal objectives in line with our professional commitments.

The one question that has never come to my mind is, if I ever want to become a home maker? The main reason for my motivation is my passion for the type of work I do. I believe that it is very important for every individual to select a career that they look forward to every morning and not because it gives you a pay check every month. Most women get insecure about their family responsibilities as they climb the corporate ladder, but my learning’s have made me a more confident wife and mother at home as I grew in my career.

There have been several instances in my professional journey that have made me believe the above. Firstly, most corporates, including Deloitte have a strong vision of ongoing education; this encouraged me to pursue my MBA from a top tier league global University (London Business School). This qualification allows me to set a standard of education for my children. Secondly, most schools today do not look at the assessments of the child but also review the background of the parents. Most importantly, we all have a role models in our life’s, and my role model have been all the female leaders in Deloitte that are also the bread earners of their families. Similarly, I would love to be a role model for my kid’s, and this requires me to continue my professional journey. I feel proud today, when I complete school applications for my son as my work at Deloitte demonstrates that we are a family that believe in being focused and independent in our fields of interest.

I truly believe that all successful leaders at Deloitte are not struggling to create a work-life balance as they have the ability, time and courage to support/mentor their families with a vision when required. This ability originates through few values that the firm instills in us such as accountability, quality, time management, creativity, and prioritization of tasks, thereby, enabling us in achieving multiple goals in our lives in parallel.

By Arati Marya, principal, Audit, Deloitte Middle East