In this episode we chat with Tharani Jegatheeswaran who leads Deloitte Australia’s Social Impact Consulting Practise.
If you’ve been listening for a while, you know that I am super passionate about business and impact, in particular seeing the two come together in ways that just make sense. Both for the business in terms of focusing on the core competencies of the business and leveraging that for impact. This is something that is really hard to balance and can often miss the mark with large corporations either taking part in activities that are so far removed from their strengths or it looking like the act of trying to create impact is just for marketing or publicity purposes. So, when I stumbled upon Deloitte and their social impact consulting practice I was extremely intrigued. Why does a Big Four accounting firm like Deloitte do social impact consulting? Is this for CSR purposes? is this for publicity because being involved in impact is ‘cool’? Are there business reasons behind this decision and if so, what were they? Do they charge clients for the consulting they do or is this pro bono?
Tharani leads Deloitte Australia’s Social Impact Consulting practice, a dedicated practice that works at the intersection of the not-for-profit (NFP) sector, government and business to deliver better outcomes for Australia’s vulnerable communities. Recognising that complex social issues cannot be addressed by any sector in isolation, Deloitte’s Social Impact Consulting practice focuses on being a convenor - facilitating greater cross-sectoral collaboration across the NFP, government and business sectors to design solutions that deliver systemic change and greater social impact. Anyway let’s hear more about Deloitte’s work in this area and let Tharani take it from here. And if you like this episode or know someone that will, please give it a share.
“I would really hope that leaders across government, business and the social sector feel like they all have a role to play in tackling social issues, and that would really be a measure of success, that it’s not just the responsibility of the not-for-profit sector but more businesses are engaged in addressing some of the complex challenges of our time.” [25:00]
- “People think that non-profit or anything focussed on social impact has to be philanthropy, and it doesn’t” – [07:01]
- How does the business model work for Deloitte’s social impact consultancy? [07:01]
- What kind of challenges does a typical client come to Deloitte with? [09:40]
- What does the team look like in the business? [14:56]
- Tharani pitches the social impact consultancy to Deloitte [15:30]
- “Life is shades of grey and so can be your career” [16:30]
- How does Deloitte measure impact? [18:00]
- Tharani shares challenges she faced building a startup practice in a mature firm [19:40]
- “It’s not always glamourous” [21:44]
- “You need to be really clear about your ‘why’. Really understand the change you want to make. If it is within a large corporate, really understand the business case and the business benefits of the change that you’re trying to effect. And measure that in its holistic sense, not just in financial – but that’s really important if you’re going to do it in a for-profit, for-purpose sense, but also the other measures of success.” [22:20]
- “Make an impact in the market, and it will speak for itself internally.” [23:20]
- What does the future look like for social impact consulting? [24:00]
- “I would really hope that leaders across government, business and the social sector feel like they all have a role to play in tackling social issues, and that would really be a measure of success, that it’s not just the responsibility of the not-for-profit sector but more businesses are engaged in addressing some of the complex challenges of our time.” [25:00]
- “I think it would have been very easy to give up in those early stages if I wasn’t clear on my why.” – Tharani shares how she made the switch in her career. [27:40]
- Where does Tharani see things going for Deloitte’s social impact consulting? Moving past CSR and corporate volunteering days, to shared value. [28:00]
- “If I could prove we could achieve profit with purpose within Deloitte, then we would have the credibility to advise other corporates on how to achieve profit with purpose in a way that aligns with their core business. Now that we’ve done it, we have a much stronger case to work with other businesses. Whereas if we weren’t able to put our money where our mouth is, and try and prove it ourselves, it’s hard to advise with credibility to other businesses.” [30:58]
- Three Things [31:38]