'Education is one of the most powerful tools a person can have. It is particularly so for people from minority, underrepresented and/or under-served backgrounds', says Raphael Chinwuko, Senior Consultant Data Privacy at Deloitte. 'Education empowers you to be independent, turning you into a thought-leader capable of imparting knowledge to others, and making a wider impact. That is why I am passionate about education, just like Deloitte.'
Raphael (27) grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to Europe at the age of 19. 'Coming from an average-class family with three other siblings, I would not have been able to financially access the quality of education that I did without academic scholarships, bursaries, and sponsorships. For me, this highlighted the importance of (access to) education and the multi-layered impact it can have on an individual and their wider community. I studied Law at Durham University in the UK, and after a legal internship with a Dutch travel tech company, I moved to Amsterdam post-graduation to join the company full-time as a legal counsel. I instantly loved Amsterdam, as it is the perfect blend of everything – not too big or too small. The city is quite international, and the people are friendly and relaxed.'
In January 2023, Raphael joined Deloitte in the Netherlands. 'I am still at the early stages of my career, and I have a clear vision of where I want to be in the near future. Deloitte particularly appealed to me because of its continuous growth and development mindset, and how it consistently connects the work it does to its impact in society. I appreciate a work environment with other ambitious professionals, where everyone, including senior colleagues like Directors and Partners, are proactively encouraged to invest time in continuous learning and development.'
Part of two teams
At Deloitte, Raphael has a unique placement. 'I am part of two teams', he smiles. 'My primary role is as the Data Privacy/ Digital Law Expert for Devence by Deloitte, Deloitte’s small but growing start-up practice in the Netherlands, focused on tech start-ups and scale-ups. We help tech start-ups and scale-ups grow responsibly by providing them with tailored advice on managing key risks such as cyber security, data privacy, compliance, data quality and sustainability. It is a very dynamic field of work. We are at the intersection of law and tech. We need to be as sharp and up to date as possible, for ourselves and for the clients we serve.'
Deloitte creates an environment where I feel comfortable following my passion.
Next to that, Raphael is part of the larger Deloitte Cyber Privacy Team as a Senior Consultant. 'In this team, we advise larger clients including multinationals and tech corporates in the areas of privacy, digital ethics, and digital regulations. A huge benefit of working within these two teams, is that I can cross-transfer knowledge and experiences. The larger well-established companies give me important insights on what it takes to grow your business and manage it at a large scale, and the start-ups teach me what is new and innovative. A perfect combination!'
Passion for purpose
Besides being passionate about education, Raphael has a passion for purpose and giving back to society. 'I was awarded a fully funded scholarship to Oxbridge Tutorial College (OTC), Nigeria’s leading sixth-form college, by its Founder Dr C. O. Ogunsanya. There, I studied in preparation for the Cambridge A-Levels examination, before progressing to university in the UK. The OTC Founder, Dr Ogunsanya, also founded the Oxbridge Tutorial College Legacy Foundation (OTCLF), an education charity organisation with the aim of supporting young and talented individuals, especially those from underserved and/or marginalized backgrounds, giving them the opportunity to further their education. This is done by supporting them financially (through donations from private individuals, organisations, supporting them with finding and applying for scholarship opportunities), and providing them with bespoke academic and career mentorship along the way. I benefited from this support whilst studying at university in the UK, so when the Founder reached out to me to join the Board of Trustees, I wholeheartedly agreed. Through this platform, students who are dedicated and driven but cannot afford it, are supported and exposed not only to higher education within and outside Nigeria, but also a real opportunity at positive social mobility and social impact', Raphael explains. 'Within the charity, we also engage with the public, particularly young students, through periodic public webinars on topics like communication, networking, relationship-building, and career-based advice. Seeing the change that we make in the lives of these students is a powerful experience for me.'
'Not long ago, I was one of those students myself, so being a part of the organisation now is my way of giving back and it is incredibly fulfilling to do', Raphael says. 'I think it is great that Deloitte has the Deloitte Impact Foundation, through which Deloitte is committed to giving back to society pro bono. I see that as a mindset that matches well with mine, and which further affirms my involvement with the OTCLF. I mostly dedicate my time on weekends to the charity organization, which helps me maintain a healthy life-work balance at Deloitte. Overall, I would say that Deloitte creates an environment where I feel comfortable following my passion.'
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