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Principal and National Managing Director
Health Plans Practice
Deloitte Consulting L.L.P.
Diane Davies is responsible for the design and execution of overall strategy for Deloitte Consulting L.L.P.'s national health plans practice, one of the largest health plan practices in the country. She sits on the board of directors for Deloitte Consulting and the Deloitte Foundation, which raises and distributes funds for scholarships and other educational programs. Ms. Davies helped establish a mentoring program in Deloitte Consulting that partners talented young women with senior leaders at the firm, who give advice on career planning, work/life balance and other issues. Building on a previous Deloitte program to attract and retain talented women, the IMAGINE mentoring program aims to help women advance into leadership positions. Five years after its start as a pilot, the mentoring program has grown every year and become a part of the way the firm does business, Ms. Davies says.
Your professional role model: Jack Shaw, a retired partner, has been a mentor to me. He is an amazing man. He started a foundation called El Viento in Huntington Beach, Calif., providing scholarships to qualified young adults. He also founded Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County, which provides oral health care services to underserved children. He was also a great model in terms of client service. He was a great consultant who did a great job with his clients. Another person is Jack Witlin. Very, very good with clients. He was a project partner as I was coming up through the ranks and spent a lot of time mentoring me, and we worked together on some of the most difficult project engagements that I've had.
Best professional advice you've received: Both these gentleman always did the right thing for clients, so I guess I'd say: Put clients' interests above all else and always do the right thing for clients, even if that means that you tell them, no, you don't think they should go ahead with a project that would result in a lot of fees for Deloitte.
Advice for women entering the field: Realize the importance of networking. I think a lot of young women—more than men—believe if they put their heads down and work hard, they'll get recognized. I think working really hard and achieving results is great but (not) if no one understands that you're achieving all those results. And if you're not doing the right stuff on the networking side, I think you're missing a big piece of it. Also, don't wait for permission. I think that's another thing women do, is they kind of hold back and wait to be asked, and I think they need to…really proactively manage their careers instead of just letting things happen to them.
What you wanted to be professionally while growing up: I went to Catholic school, so in second or third grade think I wanted to be a nun. I think at one point I wanted to be a flight attendant (and) a veterinarian at one point. Then somehow it morphed…. A lot of consultants are still in consulting because they still don't know what they want to be when they grow up.
Best book you've read recently: “Health Care Will Not Reform Itself” by George Halvorson. I thought it did a good job of explaining in pretty simple terms some of the issues with the health care system.
Phone or e-mail and why: E-mail because I have five-hour plane flights and I'm able to get through a lot (via e-mail) in the plane time. I'm on calls all the time, so my time to catch up on things is on the plane. I'd rather have face-to-face (interaction) if it's with clients, but if it's just the normal day-to-day stuff, e-mail.
Business Insurance’s 2009 Women to Watch feature is our annual attempt to identify women who are doing outstanding work in commercial insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.