Pro Bono + Inclusive Leadership: Courage

A deep dive into how pro bono builds courage, one of Deloitte’s Six Traits of Inclusive Leadership.
Apr 16, 2021 7:35 AM ET

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 Courage

Pro bono fosters the development of courage by empowering professionals to speak up and assert themselves with others and within the system they work.

Highly inclusive leaders speak up and respectfully challenge the status quo, and they are humble about their strengths and weaknesses. The Six Traits of Inclusive Leadership

The Story: Harkiran Kaur Sodhi
Former Project Delivery Analyst, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Stepup—one of Deloitte’s signature employee-led pro bono service programs—has had a significant impact on Harkiran Kaur Sodhi’s career. Kiran first worked at Deloitte as a backend developer—a non-client facing role. She looked to get involved with stepup’s Atlanta chapter, and through her first experience as a team lead in stepup, her courage began to soar. For the first time in her career, she had the opportunity to apply her professional skillsets in new, strategy-oriented contexts. After gaining experience in the stepup team lead role, within six months, Harkiran was managing all of stepupAtlanta’s client relationships. “Stepup—and pro bono—exposed me to new ways of thinking, gave me a newfound confidence, and helped me discover what type of leader I want to be.”

With that confidence, Harkiran sought out a larger role as chapter lead for stepupHouston and eventually pursued a client-facing role within Deloitte. Harkiran credits exposure to a diverse coalition of stepup stakeholders to improving her ability to communicate, manage expectations, and deliver strategic solutions. She isn’t afraid to share her ideas or speak up to address risks. She wants her team members to feel comfortable keeping her accountable as well. Valuing everyone’s voice across the organization is an important way Harkiran supports inclusion at Deloitte.

Stepup—and pro bono—exposed me to new ways of thinking, gave me a newfound confidence, and helped me discover what type of leader I want to be.”
—Harkiran Kaur Sodhi

Why it Matters

Courageous leaders drive inclusion with their constant pursuit of growth and their willingness to respectfully challenge the status quo. This quality is fundamental in developing truly progressive teams and a welcoming corporate culture.

Design Tip: Applying This to Your Program

For team-based projects, establish a team lead role to provide select employees with a growth opportunity they might not otherwise have. This can empower employees to courageously stretch outside their comfort zone and discover their own voice as a leader.

Download Pro Bono + Inclusive Leadership to learn more about the benefits of pro bono service programs.