Dean’s Dialogue: Joe Ucuzoglu
Dean’s Dialogue: Joe Ucuzoglu
Global Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte and Leventhal alum Joe Ucuzoglu ‘97 joins Dean Garrett and Dean Holder to discuss the changing nature of leadership and the importance of building a culture of purpose and inclusivity.
Joe Ucuzoglu ’97, Deloitte Global CEO, joined Marshall Dean Geoff Garrett and Leventhal Dean William Holder for a wide-ranging discussion in the latest Dean’s Dialogue speaker series. The standing-room only event took place Thursday, March 2 on the University Park Campus and ended with a Q&A session with audience members.
When you work in a professional services environment, you realize pretty quickly that two things matter. People and clients. It was that way 25 years ago, and it is absolutely no different today.
Ucuzoglu spoke about modern leadership and the challenges ahead for professional services firms. There is still a stereotype of the CEO as someone who issues edicts from the corner office said Ucuzoglu. “This was born of a bygone era.”
Today’s leaders are faced with even more complex challenges and must lead with empathy and humility, he said. “If you embed value systems and then trust your people to make the right decisions in interfacing with other colleagues, clients, regulators, and communities, then values-based leadership has taken the place of the autocratic all-knowing issuer of edicts.”
As an accounting student at Leventhal, Ucuzoglu didn’t start out with his eyes on becoming CEO or having a long career at Deloitte. “When I began my career at Deloitte, in full transparency, I had mapped out just two years,” he shared with Holder, explaining that was the amount of time he needed to gain the work experience for his CPA license. His path forward ended up being much different than he originally envisioned.
“When you work in a professional services environment, you realize pretty quickly that two things matter. People and clients. It was that way 25 years ago, and it is absolutely no different today,” Ucuzoglu said. “Ultimately your success becomes more and more about your ability to help others succeed.”
Dean Holder asked what advice Ucuzoglu would give Marshall and Leventhal students as they embark on their careers. “The number one attribute, above everything else, beyond a strategic mindset and technical capability, is a growth mindset,” he said. “Having humility, recognizing there’s a lot more that you don’t know than you do know. An openness to take feedback and listen… In the professional world, you want to be constantly assimilating new information,” added Ucuzoglu.
Ucuzoglu maintains strong ties to his alma mater. He is a member of USC Leventhal’s SEC and Financial Reporting Institute Advisory Council and currently serves as Chair of Marshall’s Board of Councilors.
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