Sarah Casey Otte ’89
Global Chief Risk Officer for Deloitte
Education: Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, BSFS; University of Texas School of Law, JD.
What I Love Most About My Work: The international scope of my job and the ever-changing nature of all the different risk issues that come in my direction. Deloitte operates in more than 150 countries across the globe, so all the things you read about in the paper, like the war in Ukraine, impact us because we have operations there. How we react to these events and how they impact our business, those are the kinds of things I’m in the center of that are interesting, important, and at times heartbreaking. Previously, I worked in a public sector role at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and I like that the issues I deal with in my Deloitte role connect our purpose as an organization with a public interest perspective of serving transparency in capital markets.
How KPS Helped Me Get Here: I wasn’t a very extroverted person in high school, but I always had confidence in academics and the classroom. I never felt like I couldn’t speak up, and I always did. I remember very specifically when I went to the School of Foreign Service that it was an impressive student body. I’d done an AFS exchange year in Italy while at Kent Place, but half my classmates had three different nationalities and had lived all over the world. It was a little intimidating at first, but I wasn’t intimidated. And I could see the difference in some other women, who held back in a way I never did. I felt very confident that I had something to contribute and I didn’t have to check myself. And work-wise as well — I worked in a German firm for several years after law school. At that time, the legal profession in the country was incredibly conservative. In the whole city of Frankfurt there were two women partners, who didn’t have children, of course. I remember being in meetings with 20 to 30 people and I’d be the only woman. I had the confidence that, yes, I can do this. That was thanks to Kent Place.
How I’ve Been Challenged: Some of the biggest challenges I’ve faced are from combining a career with being a mother and trying to reconcile those two things. It’s not always easily done. Having been brought up with this expectation that there's no reason to imagine you’re not going to do the same thing that a man would do, I carried that on into my career. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing were it not for the fact that my husband has absolutely been at least a 50-50 partner. Do what makes sense for your family rather than be stuck in gender roles.
Advice for My KPS Sisters: I sometimes see in girls and teenagers looking to go to college that they’re very focused on the next step. My advice is to follow your interests. I really believe that if you follow the thing you’re truly interested in, the career will come.