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Report On Business Magazine For retired Deloitte Canada CEO Frank Vettese, it’s about family, community and inclusion

Max Rosenstein

This is my last day in the office at Deloitte. That’s the hard part, because these are people I worked really closely with and mentored. It’s like the end of high school.

The world now is expecting organizations to do more than simply have a profit, growth or success orientation. Organizations have a really important role to play in society. And that’s why purpose is so important.

Growing up, the focus was on family. Community mattered. My parents, as Italian immigrants, emphasized keeping that firmly in sight. Those same ideals find their way into the workplace for me. It’s about team and a broader purpose.

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My parents had high expectations. They believed we were in the best country in the world, with unlimited opportunity, and we had to take advantage of it. There was never an expectation of what that would look like, other than find a passion, apply yourself, make a difference, give back.

I worked construction with my dad. It was the first job I ever had, and the hardest. Digging foundations with him, the time went by really slowly. Yet, he always had a view on what was being built, calculating, measuring and perfecting. I took that to other jobs—the sense it’s all about people coming together who share vision and values.

When I talk about inclusion, a lot of people look puzzled and say, “Well, you’re a 50-something-year-old white man. I don’t get where this comes from.” But when I grew up, I felt like I was different. We spoke a different language at home. I brought funny sandwiches to school in things called panini.

When I came into this role, my objective was, we need to become an organization where the composition of our people at every single level, from entry right through to the most senior level, fully represents the Canadian population. That’s in visible minority, gender, LGBTQ and so on.

Inclusion happens one person at a time, and it’s about people being able to bring who they are—their whole self—to work. It can’t happen overnight, because if it’s not authentic, and you haven’t done the hard work to ready people, you set up individuals, and sometimes groups, for failure.

You have to step aside at times to create opportunity. I sat on our global board. A group of us decided we would have our seats represented by a senior woman from our teams so the board would start to resemble our communities. And it changed the conversation.

Would I do anything differently? I feel that I devoted more of the best of me to the firm, which at times left more of the least of me for home. If I could have the chance to rebalance something, I’d certainly want to do that.

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Now that I’m rolling off this job, I’m going to make sure I find enough time to both play sports and enjoy sports. If you see me on a video, it probably won’t be a business video. It might be on the large screen at the Blue Jays game, because I’m just enjoying myself a bit.

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