Mary Sawyer

MBA '05

Senior Manager
Deloitte Consulting

What do you do professionally?

I am one of those very few people in this world that has worked at the same company my entire career. I am a proud employee of Deloitte Consulting out of the Atlanta office (although I live in Durham because I could not leave this great city once I moved here!). I am a Technology Consultant who has done many things throughout my career. For the first 11 years at Deloitte, I helped state governments bring technology to their organizations to make their processes and people more efficient. This role took me all around the country to some of my favorite state capitals as well as the nation's capital (Austin and Boston are two of my favorites). For the past four years, I have served as an internal consultant for Deloitte, which has been an amazing experience to understand how the big business I have worked at for so long creates a long-term strategy, makes informed decisions, and executes on that strategy for the good of our people, clients, and community.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

No doubt it is the people, supportive environment, and the balance of doing "project" work and extracurricular activities. The reason why most people do not stay in consulting as long as I have is because of the travel. When I completed my maternity leave about four years ago and was looking for an opportunity where I could minimize my travel, I found a role that was not only challenging, but also one where I could work virtually (I know, unheard of in the consulting world!). Not only was Deloitte able to provide this opportunity for me, but the network of people I had built relationships with were so supportive of my decision and helped me continue to be successful. In addition, due to my minimized travel schedule and my residence in Durham, I have been able to attend Duke campus events A LOT in order to lead and support recruiting events and truly connect with students (some students say they see me more than they see some of their classmates).

What is the biggest challenge you face?

The biggest challenge I face is and will always be balancing career and family. I strive to be the best mom I can be, and my wish is that my 5-year-old daughter can see that hard work means something and that women can do anything that men can do. I also hope she knows that I work hard so she can have a good life. So far, so good…I think. Check with me in another 5 years to see if that sentiment is still strong.

What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?

With consulting, the world is your oyster both professionally and personally. For work, my favorite travel experience is my annual trip to Bangalore, India, to visit my team that works there. Also, with the life of consulting comes airline miles, hotel and corporate card points, and status with these vendors that allow for many nice upgrades. This has allowed me to travel all over the U.S. and the world using my hard-earned miles and points.

What is the best professional advice you've received?

Build my network in and outside of Deloitte. In consulting, this is especially critical so that you are able to "tap" your network to get on your dream project or engage in a non-traditional opportunity. Also, you never know what the future holds, and one may need to part ways from their company, so making friends and associates outside your organization is key so that you have a network of professionals to turn to in order to make a switch.

Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?

I have always wanted to own my own restaurant, but the thought of working all day, all night, and every weekend does not really align with my other goals for balance in my life. So, I think for now, I will see how long this consulting gig will take me…so far 15 years strong!

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love to spend time with my daughter doing all the fun things the Raleigh/Durham area has to offer. She and I are quite the foodies, so we explore all the new places that pop up in the South's tastiest town.

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?

Through case-based learning, I learned how different companies solved their problems, and I also learned that my Fuqua network is truly for life. The friends I made during my time are good people who work hard and have made great lives for themselves. It is nice to know I can turn to them for professional or personal advice.

Who was your favorite professor?

Rick Larrick for Power and Politics. What a great class to learn the inner workings of an organization. I have taken what I learned in that class to help me understand the corporate environment in which I work.

What is your favorite Fuqua memory?

Campout was truly a memorable time. Even though I did not get tickets, the comradery among my classmates was something very special to witness over a 36-hour period. Then of course there was beach week!

Why do you support the Fuqua Annual Fund?

I support the Fuqua Annual Fund because I believe I am very fortunate to have been admitted to Fuqua, was able to matriculate, and enjoy my two years. I want that same positive Team Fuqua experience for everyone that has the passion and work ethic to succeed in that environment. My donation to the Fuqua Annual Fund helps with exactly that.

What does Team Fuqua mean to you?

Team Fuqua means knowing that a team is stronger than the individual leader or each team member can ever be. It means a group of people with a similar passion and energy for an institution that goes beyond the four walls of Fuqua. It is relationships that last for a lifetime even though alumni are located in all corners of the world.