Deloitte’s John Zamora Speaks the CEO’s Language
The child of Cuban immigrants to Miami, Zamora was a focused, driven student who started in IT and moved to public accounting. Family was extremely important o him, so after his father died, he decided to remain
in Miami to be near his mother. Zamora, who recently turned
40, has been on the fast track at Deloitte, which he joined in
When Deloitte’s long-time chief diversity officer Allen
Thomas retired, Zamora was approached by Barry Salzberg,
the CEO, and Maritza Gomez Montiel, deputy CEO and managing partner of legislative affairs, quality and risk.
He feels, in retrospect, that they wanted someone who
understood how diversity management fit in with the business
objectives. “They approached me from a number of perspec-
tives,” he recalls. “They wanted someone who could lead the
U.S. firm across all the businesses in a strategic manner … I
think their real focus was on my business lines— 40,000 people
have got to have some credibility.”
Zamora was flattered but nervous about doing something
out of his comfort zone. “I’m not an HR person and I was a
little hesitant. Our organization is very focused on talent devel-
opment and I wanted to make sure I could do this,” he says.
He decided to take on the additional responsibilities, “to
take my business-unit skills and make sure they are lined up
with talent-development skills.” His background, he says, gave
him instant credibility internally.
“As I approached our partners and our CEO and our clients,
they knew I spoke their same language and how diversity ties
into their business agendas,” he says. “I was trying to help
them drive revenue, in terms of operating the business unit.
And having the background of client service and business
helped me navigate the entire organization; because I have a
lot of relationships among our businesses and operate a business unit, I knew where to go.”