Marriott School of Management graduate Patrice Mano is combating traditional stigmas as the youngest member and only female in her group at Deloitte Consulting.
Mano joined the firm working under the group’s original founder. While she knew there was a possibility she might be asked to take over leadership of the group one day, she didn’t anticipate heading the team before the founder even retired.
“It is an incredibly humbling and intimidating experience to transition from being the most junior person in the group to leading people with ten or more years’ experience than you,” Mano said. “For a long time, I was apologetic about my leadership position and felt like I had to clear every decision with the original founder, but I soon realized that no one follows a leader that is apologizing for leading and is not confident in their own decisions.”
Other members lobbied for this position, and Mano explains that getting the lead role was not an election and was something she wasn’t expecting.
“One of the partners early in my career said, ‘Patrice, you could be a partner one day,’ and I just thought there was no way I would ever do it,” Mano said. “It wasn’t because anyone told me I couldn’t. I just had never seen it done before.”
Mano received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the Marriott School of Management. Upon graduating, she found there were far fewer women finding success after BYU as women who were graduating from other universities. She believes this is because there were less women graduating from BYU than other universities.
“I don’t know if it is the upbringing, the culture or just that when I started in business, there weren’t as many women in executive positions,” Mano said. “But I truly hope that while being on the board of advisors program at BYU, we can continue to change this. Unfortunately, it will never completely change until there is a better male-female ratio to the program. We just need more women to apply.”
BYU’s Marriott School of Management student body is only 20 percent female. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, accounting programs across the country are more than 60 percent female.
Jim Brau, a professor of finance at the Marriott School, attributes smaller female representation in BYU’s management school to a possible lack of female finance faculty.
“Out of 17 or 18 finance faculty, we only have one woman. I only know of two women in the entire world that have Ph.D.s in finance and are active Latter-day Saints,” Brau said. “We aren’t the only department lacking female representation, but we work very hard with young women to get them into Ph.D. programs in order to change this.”
While Mano believes more women need to apply to the management school — commonly referred to as the BYU Buisness School — to provide female representation, Mano says she is grateful for BYU and all of the opportunities it has brought her.
“I need to give credit to the BYU School of Accountancy and its incredible professors,” Mano said. “It is a tremendous program recognized throughout the country. It is a great education which provides many career opportunities to both men and women.”
When Mano transitioned to her leadership role at Deloitte, she was surprised to find that there was tension coming from other women within the company over her promotion.
“I believe it was Madeleine Albright that said ‘There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help women.’ There were a couple of women in key roles that were not supportive at key moments in my career,” Mano said. “I really don’t know why. I tried not to waste too much time trying to figure it out. I do know that I have never regretted helping other women. It pays dividends.”
Tim McKay, Mano’s retired partner and mentor, feels motivation and intense discipline are two key traits that set Mano apart from other business people.
“If I had to distinguish how she has done what she has done at such a young age, it would be because of her discipline and strategic mind. She’s not just working on the project that is right in front of her, she can see the bigger horizon,” McKay said. “She never falls into a trap where emotions take over. She will be in extremely high-stress situations that will cause many others to act out in anger or frustration, but because of her disciplined mind she can stay very professional. This is an incredibly hard thing to do.”
Mano’s father, Ron Mano, is proud of the woman Patrice has become and believes her success stems from early developed character traits.
“She was very motivated from a very young age and she continues to be motivated now,” Ron said.
Mano reminds all those around her of her truly level head and dazzling humility when speaking of her future career ambitions.
“In this line of work, I am involved in decisions that impact companies’ financial statements and have the potential to financially impact individuals,” Mano said. “When I started my career, I knew I needed to stay on the right side of the line. That is my number one goal. Of course, I also want to pay my bills and always find something that interests me.”
Mano challenges all of the limitations put in front of her, and finds success in all she does. Perhaps her example of breaking stereotypes will encourage a few more women to go for their ambitions a little more fiercely. Maybe one day the job placement statistics of the Marriott School will be just as impressive as they are today, but the gender percentage will finally be evenly divided.