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Why we do what we do
Meet Jenny Robinson
Faces of Deloitte Advisory is a series of true stories that explore the personal history of our practitioners, highlighting key experiences that defined their values and explaining why they do what they do. In this story, Jenny talks about her journey from an introverted child to a strong leader who adapts to the needs of each client.
I will be the first to admit that I do not like talking about myself or my accomplishments. I am both an integrator and an introvert, so I’d much rather think about everyone around me. I consider myself incredibly lucky to come from a wonderfully supportive family. I was taught from a young age that I could achieve anything I wanted if I worked hard and persevered. It wasn’t going to be handed to me and I took that to heart. I got my first job at 15 so I had pocket money. I juggled school and homework with extracurriculars with sights set on colleges. I’ve always wanted to carve my own path through life, and I believe those values instilled in me from a young age underpin everything I have achieved.
A playmaker emerges
I was an active teenager, running from class to swimming to late-night water polo practices. Practices were rigorous and required long hours both before and after school. I had some amazing coaches along the way, and one of them saw my leadership potential past my shy exterior. She noticed that while I may not have been the highest scorer or the fastest swimmer, I was often the one creating the plays and anticipating what the other team may do. Most importantly, I was always the first to swim up and high five a teammate after a great play. When she made me the team’s captain, it was the nudge I needed to come out of my shell and learn how to lead.
It was in these sports team environments that I also learned the importance of collaboration. It taught me that being a good leader was about understanding your teammates as people and putting the needs of the team first. In sports, that often meant throwing the ball to someone else so that they could score.
Finding my place–and my value–at work
In college, I took my curiosity in people to a new level, majoring in business and enterprise management with a double minor in psychology and entrepreneurship. When it came time to apply for summer internships, I was excited to look for an opportunity that would help me grow as a person.
My parents worked really hard to give me and my sister every opportunity. And while my dad had a lot of business connections, it was non-negotiable for me that I did it on my own—without people assuming that I got the job because of who I knew.
I first connected with Deloitte at a career fair on my college campus and found the perfect internship for me, even though it meant sleeping on my sister’s couch in New York City all summer. But that paid off when the internship turned into a full-time job after I graduated.
I really enjoyed my first project, which happened to be internal to Deloitte. It was engaging, I had a great team around me, and I learned a lot! But when my first client project at Deloitte didn’t go as I had hoped, I decided to seek advice from a partner I trusted. She helped me see that project as a learning experience and find a new opportunity within Deloitte that was a better fit.
Now, when I look back, I realize that the challenging project made me a better and more empathetic manager. It taught me about the type of manager I wanted to be, and the importance of building a relationship of trust with my clients. To this day, that experience influences how I treat my colleagues. I do my best to learn their ambitions, get to know their strengths and what energizes them. For my Deloitte team, I also try to give them experiences that can help them grow and achieve their goals.
Harnessing the team’s strengths and adaptability
I use the skills I learned in my early days at Deloitte all the time because, ultimately, our work is about people. How you interact with others, respect one another, and communicate can make a big impact – both on our teams and with our clients. But every organization is different; you have to start by observing their behaviors and needs, so you can tailor your approach to help them succeed.
For me, a lot of that comes down to Business Chemistry: determining the chemistry type of my clients so I can deliver on their personal needs. I identify as an Integrator/Pioneer—my natural tendency is to focus on the big picture, and I love working with others to brainstorm. But that is not always how my clients like to work. For example, one of my clients is a complete Guardian/Driver—he likes to dig down into the details and thrives on process.
I picked up on this quickly, so my team shifted our approach to align with his preferred working style. And even though our operational changes seemed minor at first—like showing up earlier for meetings and sending out detailed agendas in advance of every conversation—they had a huge impact on our relationship. In fact, we made such great progress that he asked us to train his own team to operate more efficiently.
Even though I primarily work with clients to develop risk management strategies, understanding what drives their behavior is a major component to building strong relationships. For me, viewing each client as an individual with specific needs, and my team members as individuals with specific strengths, has unlocked enormous value and produced outcomes beyond expectations.
While it’s impossible to know what the future holds, I take comfort in the fact that my success has been achieved by hard work, grit, and a determination to make my own name in this world. I love what I do and the people I work with and that inspires me to continue to do what we do - help our clients and our people grow and succeed.
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Manager | Deloitte & Touche LLP
Jenny is a Manager in Deloitte Advisory's Risk Intelligence practice with over four years of experience across brand and reputation management, strategic risk management, strategy and operations, enterprise risk management, crisis management, process improvement and program management. She enjoys problem solving, building relationships, learning and challenging herself to step outside of her comfort zone.