Taproot Foundation and Deloitte co-created Pro Bono + Inclusive Leadership as free resource for businesses that demonstrates how Deloitte has leveraged pro bono as one way to help develop inclusive leadership traits and how other companies can do the same. This profile from that resource showcases how a professional at Deloitte has connected pro bono experiences to their own leadership development.
How Pro Bono Supports Commitment
Working for impact through pro bono service can strengthen an employee’s own values while deepening their connection to their company for sharing those values. Pro bono teams often bring together diverse perspectives to be successful, and that experience reinforces the value of diversity to talent, innovation, and business/social impact.
Highly inclusive leaders are committed to diversity and inclusion because these objectives align with their personal values and because they believe in the business case. —The Six Traits of Inclusive Leadership
The Story: Janysia Jenkins Smith
Senior Manager, Deloitte & Touche LLP
For Janysia Smith, pro bono service is as deeply rooted in her personal values as it is in her professional ambitions. She articulates this by sharing a concept she’s adopted from the National Association of Black Accountants, which is to “lift as you climb.” Janysia is keen to note that you can’t lift unless you are giving back and paying it forward.
Over her 13-year Deloitte career, Janysia says, “Giving back to my local community through pro bono and volunteer efforts is really what I love most about what I do. It has allowed me to build what I commonly refer to as my professional family here at Deloitte.” From giving high school level students a week-long experience in the field of accounting with the Accounting Awareness Program (ACAP) of Houston, to helping Goodwill Houston formalize user-centric innovation ideas for their local stores, she is committed to using her skills and experiences to help more people succeed in school and work and life.
Through her pro bono service, Janysia tapped into Deloitte’s values to take care of each other and foster inclusion – motivating her to think more deeply about diversity and the role of inclusion at Deloitte. Over the past year, Janysia has leaned in on her values and taken a full-time role as the Chief of Staff to the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and Pro Bono Lead for Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory within Deloitte & Touche LLP. In this role, she’s focused on DEI efforts for over 16,000 professionals. And the list goes on. Janysia holds leadership roles within Deloitte’s Black Employee Network and the Houston office Inclusion Council. She also serves as a champion for INROADS Houston, which seeks to increase ethnically diverse employees in corporate management in the U.S., and to help change the way these candidates gain entry into the business world.
Living out her personal values within her professional sphere empowers Janysia to not only give back to her community, but to lead by example and promote the wellbeing of those around her. This is how she makes an impact every day.
“I’ve learned to ‘lift as you climb,’ and you can’t lift unless you are giving back and paying it forward.”
—Janysia Jenkins Smith
Why it Matters
Not everyone who participates in pro bono will take on an inclusion-focused role, but pro bono service can strengthen employees’ connection to organizational values. And when inclusive leaders lean on those values while managing their team, they can bring out the best in each of their employees by encouraging them to share diverse viewpoints.
Design Tip: Applying This to Your Program
Connect pro bono service back to your company’s cultural values. Making an explicit connection can encourage employees to apply their pro bono experiences to their day-to-day roles and create an inclusive, service-based company culture.