In the spring of 2020 while the nation was still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, it faced a second crisis. Spurred by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, the cries to end racial injustice finally came to a head. Deloitte issued strong statements against racism, but we felt that we also needed to act.
Drawing from our history of driving inclusive behavior in our organization, we formed the Black Action Council (BAC) comprised of a cross-functional group of Deloitte professionals and launched “Uncensored: Stories of Black professionals at Deloitte.”
Our goal was simple: to encourage Black professionals to share their journey in an authentic and meaningful way, to foster honest and deep conversations while shining a light on first-person experiences that both Black and non-Black professionals can learn from. The online series has brought to life the authentic experiences of Black colleagues, while working as a mechanism to identify potential blind spots, celebrate successes, build empathy and allyship, and educate about personal and professional journeys.
Embarking upon this campaign required a humble, human-centric focus. To capture a wide breadth of experiences, we interviewed Deloitte professionals across businesses and industry groups and across all levels (from new hires to partners) who either volunteered to tell their stories or were nominated by colleagues. And because we wanted the campaign to make a visual as well as emotional impact, we developed a custom web template for our web pages and worked exclusively with professional Black photographers who helped tell the visual portion of their stories.
The stories were brought to life in first-person voice alongside striking photography, giving each one an unprecedented rawness. The authentic voice and personal photos give the stories the high-quality look and feel that has helped them stand out among traditional Deloitte news and reach readers across the organization.
Each story begins with an in-depth, one-on-one interview. Questions are carefully crafted to put colleagues at ease while gradually prompting them to open up and share often difficult experiences of bias and racism encountered throughout their life. The writer then shapes the story while a professional photography session is conducted at the professional’s home or studio. Once story and images are approved, the page is promoted on both internal and external webpages. We also secure a featured placement for each new story on Deloitte’s daily internal news site and promote the stories externally through Deloitte’s social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram posts and stories) and email subscribers. Deloitte professionals are also encouraged to share the stories on their personal social media profiles.
These stories about racial justice, allyship, unconscious bias, imposter syndrome, mental health, and well-being have made a significant impact on readers. Internally, they’ve sparked important conversations and helped guide how we will move forward as an organization. Externally, they’ve given people a new perspective on Deloitte: a LinkedIn user posted “I give Deloitte credit for the willingness to have [Nkiruka Ogbuchiekwe] share; even more so, for allowing her to speak about her experience authentically… it speaks well of their commitment to organizational growth & active, progressive learning in making space for such candor.”
While there have been other efforts to share the personal stories of professionals within Deloitte, Uncensored is unlike any other to date, garnering above-benchmark views on webpages, email opens, and engagement in social media.
Beyond the numbers, these stories have made an impact on our people. One featured participant shared that she received hundreds of messages and texts voicing support for her and her story, an experience she described as cathartic.
Fill out the form below and we'll work on connecting you to the entry creator!