The 2015 Women Leaders in Consulting: Diane Davies


Diane Davies

Principal, Chief Talent Officer and National Managing Director of Regions
Deloitte Consulting
Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous)

Diane Davies, who passed away in March, joined Deloitte in 1989 as a management consultant. During the more than 26 years she served at Deloitte, she made a lasting impact on her clients and teams with her passion for life, deep industry knowledge, and dynamic and approachable leadership style.

As a partner of the firm, she advised CEOs and senior executives at numerous managed care organizations and health plans, and held a number of leadership roles during her tenure with the organization. Davies served as the Health Plan sector national leader, the Regional Managing Director for the West Region, the national Consulting Women’s Initiative leader, the advisory university partner for her alma mater UCLA, and as a creator of the IMAGINE program for outstanding leaders.

She served as a member of the Deloitte LLP U.S. Board of Directors, the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, Global Board of Directors, the Board of Directors for Deloitte Consulting, where she was a founding member, and the Board of Directors for the Deloitte Foundation.

Most recently, Diane served as Deloitte Consulting’s Chief Talent Officer and as the national managing director for regions where she worked tirelessly to make the organization a top destination for talent and to enhance the Deloitte experience, while encouraging practitioners to find balance between their work and personal lives. Her reputation as a respected leader, compassionate mentor, and role model was unmatched. Davies was recognized for her professional acumen by the National Diversity Council as one of its “Most Powerful and Influential Women,” and was named by Consulting magazine as one of its Top 25 Consultants in 2005.

And now, she is the recipient of Consulting magazine’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jim Moffatt, Chairman and CEO, Deloitte Consulting

“I had the privilege of hiring Diane from UCLA in 1989 and the unique pleasure of working closely with her throughout her entire Deloitte career. I saw firsthand Diane’s ability to make a tremendous contribution to everything she touched. I feel honored to have been able to call her a close friend and partner. Diane had a passion for life and a magnetic personality. She was a devoted wife to her husband, Brian, and a loving mother to her two daughters, Samantha and Megan.”

Cathy Engelbert, CEO, Deloitte LLP

“I was honored to have served on the board with Diane and extremely fortunate to get to know her so well. Diane’s legacy at Deloitte will be her excellence with clients, our people and as a leader—and her unwavering integrity. I miss her very much.”

Cheryl Robbins, Retired Partner, Deloitte

“We both came up through the Los Angeles Touche Ross Office at a time when the number of women in the consulting partnership, nation-wide, could be counted on one hand. I knew Diane to be a gifted consultant in Finance Strategy and Operations. I don’t remember her taking the spotlight. I do remember her significant contributions around the table. Reflecting on it, I believe she was the most skilled team leader we had back then, and rarely publicized. The teams she led produced work of the highest caliber; results were consistently stellar. It appeared to me, Diane led in her family life in a similar way. Even when Diane and I commiserated about those inevitable challenges a woman in our consulting practice had—giving priority to her family at ‘inconvenient’ times for her clients—even at those times, Diane seemed calm, unassuming, and happy. This is what I remember most fondly about her. She took on every challenge with the poise and grace and seemed to be a rock even when chaos swirled all around her.”

Michelle Kerrick, Managing Partner, Deloitte

“I had the pleasure of working with Diane the past four-and-a-half years since moving to Los Angeles. She has been wonderful to work with and to get to know. She welcomed me to LA and was always willing to find time to get together and provide counsel. She was amazing on so many fronts. She cared so much for her family. We shared many stories about raising daughters. Her eyes always lit up when she spoke about Sam and Megan and their distinct personalities. Even when she was first diagnosed, she was so thoughtful of how much and when she would share her news with her girls. She was always appreciative of the constant support Brian provided throughout her career. She loved her family. She also loved her career. She was extremely thoughtful, insightful and talented and never required the spotlight. She was a role model for men and women. I will miss her friendship and her counsel but know her legacy will live on in her daughters and all of us that she shaped and molded.”

Sam Silvers, Principal, Deloitte

“We lost a wonderful colleague, a great leader, and a terrific mother, wife, and person.  Diane’s impact on me personally has been significant, and I have been honored to call Diane my partner, my mentor and my friend.”

Erin James, Senior Consultant, Deloitte

“I often thought of Diane as superwoman! One trait that I especially admired was her ability to make me, and others, feel appreciated and recognized. Though she had an unbelievably busy schedule, she still made time to meet for breakfast and would often send personal thank you notes after a deliverable or a meeting to recognize a job well done. These simple acts of kindness meant so much coming from her and something I’ll try to imitate throughout my life.”

 Janet Foutty, Principal, Deloitte

“Diane’s accomplishments in the firm have been well documented, so I will not recount those. What I want to do is try to recapture a bit of her spirit: No ego, ever, ever, ever; Always had time for everyone—in her head and in her heart; Razor sharp intellect; Funny, funny, funny—with an amazing smile and laugh; Great advice and counsel—always direct and straight; The ultimate mentor to many—but especially women; And my favorite, from her husband, she was “an accidental leader”—Diane was not looking for leadership, it found her.”

Diane Davies’ Talent Team

“Each summer, Diane would host our team retreat in LA.  It was something that we looked forward to every year. To pump us up for the get together, we created a CD compiling our theme songs. Diane’s was ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’ More than just a great song, it was a perfect summary of how Diane led us. Not only did she push us to achieve more than we thought possible, she stood beside us each step of the way. Like the song lyrics say “when you need me, call me, I’ll be there in a hurry, you don’t have to worry”—with Diane at your side, you didn’t have to worry. She was our role model and a woman leader with a backbone of steel and a heart of gold. Diane was more than our leader and colleague. She was our team mom. She invited us into her home where we cooked and ate together with her family, including the dogs. She was our cheerleader when we achieved our goals and she always picked us up when we stumbled. And while this is a big stumble for us right now, we will continue to be her strong team carrying on her vision and passion for our people.”

Suniti Narasimhan—SMGR —Diane’s Talent Team

“All it takes is a few moments and a purpose to make to make those moments matter. When I joined Diane’s team and met and interacted with her, this purpose came out very clearly to me and will stay on forever—encourage, lead, listen, be patient, courageous and authentic—that is Diane for me.  And a smile that exemplifies all those qualities and more. Thank you Diane for having me in your team—my chance at knowing you is only because of that”

Bryan Funkhouser, Principal, Deloitte

I suppose I did not know Diane extremely well – at least not compared to many of our Deloitte colleagues from her local office, her client teams,  and her closest networks.  But I would offer that Diane was one of those very special people who was very easy to know.  In very short order, she could make you feel like more than a colleague, but more like a friend of hers for whom she assumed responsibility for your success and your personal well-being.  Indeed, she has been committed to making our big firm feel small, long before it had a label or a program.  She didn’t just practice what she preached, she had perfected in practice what she believed in — long before she preached it in her leadership role. I remember vividly when Diane interviewed me for my role as the Chicago Consulting MD…   She knew my ‘quals’, as it were, but what she really wanted to hear about was my passion for our people.  She wanted to know that I understood how important a very ‘real’ sense of community is.  She told me that she was seeking someone who would connect with our people in a sincere way and try to make our the big Chicago office feel a bit smaller.  And after my initial sadness at the news of her passing, I must admit I almost immediately thought that I hoped I had not disappointed her.  She has certainly been an inspiration to me in this role.”

Christie Smith, Principal, Deloitte

“Diane’s commitment to her clients, her passion for our people, and her leadership of our firm truly distinguished her. Her genuine and personal investment in others are what made her a role model and a mentor. But more than anything Diane was a dear friend and extraordinary wife/mother to Brian, Sam and Megan.”

Erin James, Deloitte

“Diane was such an extraordinary women with so many admirable qualities. I often thought of her as superwoman! One trait that I especially admired was her ability to make me, and others, feel appreciated and recognized. Though she had an unbelievably busy schedule, she still made time when she was in my office to meet for breakfast and would often send personal thank you notes after a deliverable or a meeting to recognize a job well done. These simple acts of kindness meant so much coming from her and are something I’ll try to imitate throughout my personal and professional life.”

Sandy Shirai, Principal

“I will deeply miss Diane.  We worked together at Kaiser when I was a young partner and she was my senior manager.  Everyone loved Diane including our team and the client.  Years later I asked her to be our RMD for Pacific Southwest region.  Everyone loved Diane, including hundreds of Deloitte consultants in the L.A. office and region. Then years later Jim and I asked her to take over as NMD for all regions.  Everyone loved Diane including thousands of Deloitte consultants across the US and USI. Then Diane became our talent leader and joined the US Board.  Everyone at Deloitte across all functions and across the globe loved Diane.  With all that love, I truly believe Diane’s spirit will be in our hearts forever.”

Deborah Johnson, Senior Manager, Learning and Development

“Diane was an extraordinary counselor, leader and mentor to me over the years. I first met her in the year 2000 when I transferred to the Los Angeles office from New York. The following year she became my counselor, and was in the role for me when my first child was born in 2003.  It’s only in retrospect that I see how lucky I was!  She gave me terrific advice (‘outsource everything that doesn’t make you a better mother, or better professional’), listened patiently to all my angst, and ultimately helped create a role for me that would allow me to come back to work on terms I could live with. That role was her Chief of Staff for the Women’s Initiative, and it changed my life. Though that work I discovered my passion for talent, learning and development, and have followed it ever since. I am eternally grateful to have known Diane, and her legacy lives on with me and the many others whose stories are like mine. Her passing is an immeasurable loss for the world.  I hope I can honor her contributions by paying forward to others some of the care she took with me. Thanks for sharing her with her Deloitte family.” 

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