Within five years time, Laura Grootenboer, Head of Sustainability Engagement North and South Europe (NSE) at Deloitte, has added an impressive list of impactful roles to her name. From the Deloitte Impact Foundation to the Internal Sustainability Team, and now also as a co-lead for ‘Proud at Deloitte’. ‘I’m passionate about making a positive societal and environmental impact through collaboration, inspiration and motivation. How lucky am I, that I get to spend 100 per cent of my working hours doing this?’

‘For me, Deloitte is the perfect fit’, Laura (29) says. ‘To make an impact on society I couldhave joined an NGO or worked in the public sector, but the unique position and companyculture of Deloitte makes this the perfect place for me to be. I have access to a huge pool ofsmart, passionate people and plenty of other means. There’s a culture of entrepreneurshipand innovation to help drive change. Moreover, we have a large scale of influence throughour extensive network becasue we work across all industries. The only thing left for me todo is to encourage and equip my colleagues to join my mission, whether it supportssustainability or diversity, equity, and inclusion. And this is exactly what I love to do most!’

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More than just a tagline

Five years ago, Laura started working at the Deloitte Impact Foundation (DIF) to drive project engagement and storytelling. ‘Making an impact is at the core of our purpose. And it’s more than a tagline alone. Through the DIF, all Deloitte colleagues are able to use their professional skills to make a positive difference in society, pro bono. It was my job to enhance the visibility of impact opportunities our people could join and to show that anyone within Deloitte can make a meaningful difference with their unique skills. In 2020, I started my own DIF project for a non-profit organization Climate Action Project. We created an app that encourages young people across the globe to consider the environmental impact of their daily choices (e.g., food, purchasing and mobility). Within Deloitte, I started a Changemakers Network with partners of the various service lines to increase the number of DIF projects we were setting up. Our DIF efforts have expanded enormously, thanks to all our changemakers throughout the organization.’

I’m passionate about making a positive societal and environmental impact through collaboration, inspiration and motivation.

Empowering people to make a positive impact

It energizes Laura to make a positive impact on human behaviour. ‘I’m intrigued by the human side of impactful transformations. Aligning and empowering people for a greater purpose. Deloitte is not a manufacturing company - it’s an organization driven by people. Everything evolves around the passion and talent of our people and the choices they make. In my experience, most people want to do better, but they could use some help in shaping and prompting the actions they need to take. That’s something I love to help them with’, Laura says excitedly.

That is why, after three years at DIF, she has moved to the central Internal Sustainability Team for North & South Europe. ‘Deloitte teams across 29 countries in our region, from Iceland to Lebanon, are in the middle of a sustainability transformation we’re calling WorldClimate. Our team is setting the strategy and driving the delivery, and it’s my job to encourage, inspire and empower our colleagues from every corner of our firm to be catalysts of change.

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For instance, we are currently implementing a Sustainable Delivery Clause which is our commitment to work with our clients to find more sustainable ways of working, from prioritizing virtual collaborations to choosing the most sustainable ways to travel when meeting in person for the moments that really matter. We want to make sustainability part of our client conversations from the very beginning. It’s a crucial step in planting the seeds towards more positive impact, for us and for our clients!’

Showing diversity

For Laura, making an impact goes beyond the borders of daily work. Recently she became the co-lead of the Proud at Deloitte network for colleagues who feel an affinity with the LGBTQ+ community. ‘I have a girlfriend and I used to think I didn’t need to be very outspoken about that, until I attended a meeting where one of the female partners of Deloitte shared about a fun weekend she had had with her wife and children. I was surprised to notice how big of an impression this remark made on me. I realised how important it is to show diversity and to be a role model. If we don’t discuss these matters, it’s like they don’t exist, which makes it harder for people to be themselves.’

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‘With Proud we want to take action in support of LGBTQ+ inclusion’, Laura says passionately. ‘So far, we have – among other things - added a Deloitte policy for Gender Transition Support, a policy for rainbow family leave, and added gender-neutral toilets at our offices. To create awareness around LGBTQ+ inclusion, we set up campaigns and join Pride events such as the Amsterdam Pride (watch the video below). As a co-lead, I’m committed to accelerating the pace of change in the field of LGBTQ+ inclusion. How can we adjust our business culture? And how can we create even more effective LGBTQ+ allies? These are great challenges that I’m excited to work on, together with my colleagues on the Proud at Deloitte Core Team.’

Laura recently joined the Deloitte Green Room Podcast for an episode on ‘Activist Leadership’. Listen to the broadcast here.

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Choose your impact

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