Michael Cherny is driving diversity and inclusivity at Deloitte Canada as their first ever Chief Of Staff, in charge of propelling the global firm forward.
What does it mean to be the Chief Of Staff at Deloitte Canada?
Very simply, running a business. So everything from strategy and operations to managing our people, our client portfolio and partner pipeline – literally everything under the sun. Every single day is different!
How did you get into this career?
The role I am in now, didn’t exist before me. My journey through the firm and through life has been kind of happenstance. In a lot of ways it has been luck, it has been having really great relationships with people around me, while following my passion and also building my skills in different areas. I’ve never taken a traditional route and I probably never will.
Was there a specific moment or time that got you to where you are today?
At the time, I was at a crossroads in my career and I met up with my mentor to figure out what to do next. The biggest question she asked me was what do you want to do? Go ahead and ask for it. That’s pretty much how I landed where I am. I remember writing a list about the things I really loved in my role and a list of things I wanted to change. The biggest thing was about making an impact. I really wanted to make an impact internally at Deloitte. We are very client focused, as we should be as a client service business, but I realized there was somewhat of a lack of focus internally on being able to drive the talent experience. I wanted to be able to actually influence the strategy of us as a firm. I saw a huge potential. Everything in my life and in my auto practice has prepared me and has given me the skills to make a difference in that.
What makes your job #careergoals?
That’s a great question because not everyone would say being an accountant is #careergoals! What I’ve found is that I’ve been able to chart my own path and do whatever I want to do that strikes the passion inside me. Being an accountant is a nice cherry on top of that! It gives me the skill set and the professional experience but it’s also unlocked so much opportunity for me.
What are some of the cool things you get to do day-to-day?
The things that I love doing at work are not necessarily written down in a mandate. I do a lot of work around diversity and inclusion – both at the firm, as well as outside of that at nonprofits and serving on boards. To me, that is really some of the most impactful, energizing work that I do. I love that I am able to help a nonprofit or engage with employees to drive our inclusion strategy. It’s all stuff I do outside of my desk or after hours but it’s truly the part that gets me out of bed each day.
How does this career feed into your overall life goals?
It all comes back to making an impact. What I love about what I am doing right now is that I don’t have a set mandate. I am able to support our leadership and that is fundamental to what I do, but I am also able to chart my own path and follow my passion. Having that freedom but also the opportunity to do so at such a large firm is what I would describe as my life goals.
How could someone get into this career?
The first thing anyone needs to do is ask A. what is it that you want? And B. go ask for it. It’s as simple as that.
What type of person or personality is suited for what you do?
I don’t think there is one type of person or personality. Everyone makes their role what it is. It’s funny because I am usually described as an extravert, but I am actually an extraverted introvert. I think it’s more about following your passion instead of your specific personality influencing you that much.
Can you share three tips for being successful?
- Be authentic
- Be courageous
- Have fun
Tell us a secret about your job?
My job is confidential. The whole job is a secret!
Anything exciting coming up?
For the first time ever, Deloitte is sponsoring Pride Toronto. We have sponsored Prides across the country and but it is our first time sponsoring Pride Toronto. Our employees are participating, we are having a float and are also sponsoring a stage. The stage at Church and Wellesley is going to be the Deloitte Stage! It’s something that’s a “side of the desk” project for me but something I am super excited about because it’s actually putting our money where our mouth is in terms of living an inclusive life.
You can connect with Michael Cherny on LinkedIn.