Colorado Business Roundtable
Faces of Business
Managing Partner, Deloitte
Leadership is about listening to the minds and hearts of our people.
Chris Schmidt is Colorado Managing Partner, Deloitte LLP. He’s responsible for driving client and business growth, facilitating cross-functional teams, and enhancing the strategic position of the organization in the Colorado market. Chris most recently served as the global lead consulting partner for Deloitte Consulting LLP on an international oil and gas supermajor for six years. He’s held various roles of increasing responsibility within the consulting business and leading account teams.
He’s had extensive experience serving clients in a variety of industries and sectors including energy and resources, consumer and industrial product, technology, media and telecommunications. He graduated with a bachelor of science in business administration from Colorado State University. He earned his master of business administration from the University of Colorado.
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands – nearly 90 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 7,000 private companies.
“Our people come together for the greater good,” Chris says. “We work across industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace, delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and healthier society.”
Why did Deloitte and you join COBRT and how long have you been involved?
Deloitte joined COBRT in 2018 and Chris has served on its board of directors since then. “I’m involved with initiatives focused on keeping Colorado competitive,” says Chris. “Being competitive is a big driver of Colorado’s growth, economic development, and attracting and retaining companies in our state.”
What is one of the most important decisions you made for your business in 2020? Any big decisions so far in 2021?
“My primary focus has been and remains the safety and well-being of our people, our clients, and our communities while providing exceptional service,” he explains. “Throughout the pandemic, we were able to pivot to an entirely virtual client service and project execution mode and yet still deliver on complex projects and deadlines. The outcome of this helps our clients to solve their most complicated challenges.”
What is one new initiative or commitment Deloitte launched during the past year that you are particular proud of?
“The past year gave us the opportunity to demonstrate who we are at our core,” says Chris. “I’m so proud to see my colleagues meet that opportunity.”
He continues, “We also started a skills-based volunteer program called stepup in Denver. Last year, 37 Colorado-based Deloitte professionals donated 1,770 hours – almost 45 work weeks – to help nine area nonprofits more efficiently serve the community through this program. stepup is Deloitte’s largest professional skills-based volunteer program, giving our people the chance to use their skills to help nonprofits tackle their challenges that, once met, can result in better service to the community.”
Deloitte recently launched an initiative to help address major barriers faced by racially and ethnically diverse student populations. Called MADE, Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable, the organization’s vision is to grow the population of diverse talent, thus helping to transform the future of the accounting profession. “This program has many facets ranging from inspiring at the high school level to supporting mid-career employees,” says Chris. “In all, the organization has made a $75 million commitment that includes $30 million in scholarships for students pursuing a fifth-year master’s program in accounting.”
What recent actions are you most proud of championing in your role as Managing Partner at Deloitte?
“Deloitte has a long history of work shaping corporate America’s inclusion landscape including several ‘firsts’ in the industry. Naming the first woman chair in 2003, the first Hispanic CEO in 2011, and the first woman CEO of any of the Big Four firms in 2015,” Chris says. “Our efforts toward building a diverse and inclusive workforce are constant. But much work remains to be done including continuing to create meaningful talent experiences for our professionals, striving for a diverse and representative workforce, and promoting processes that provide even more opportunity for our professionals.”
Where have you drawn inspiration during this challenging time, the pandemic?
“I’m inspired by the resilience of our organization and its people. As I mentioned before, we were able to pivot to an entirely virtual client service and project execution, yet still deliver on complicated projects and deadlines, and help our clients solve their most complex challenges,” he says. “Our people have been tireless in their commitment to our clients and our community.”
In addition to taking the necessary measures to help stop the virus, many businesses have taken this time also to reflect on the values and lessons learned throughout the pandemic. Is there anything, along these lines, you can share with us?
“At Deloitte, one of our most critical roles has been to focus on sustaining our people, creating value for stakeholders and society, and serving and leading on the long road ahead,” says Chris. “A key message from our leadership is to listen to the minds and hearts of our people – even if the message is something you might not be comfortable hearing.”
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
“I’m proud to be involved with Colorado Business Roundtable and work alongside talented and committed business leaders,” Chris says in closing. “The commitment to our community and Colorado demonstrated by the individuals and organization is truly remarkable.”