Life at Deloitte
Career Journey: Janaiya Johnson
Passionate about making an impact
“By virtue of networking at Deloitte, I’ve been able to do some of the coolest things for work and for fun … I've facilitated sessions at Deloitte University. I’ve met a gold medal winning Olympic athlete. I’ve attended major sporting events. I've been offered opportunities to speak on panels and recruit on campuses.” — Janaiya Johnson, Consultant, Chicago
- A lesson from Janaiya
- From healthcare to consulting
- Interning in Ghana
- Career search leads to Deloitte
- Boomeranging back
A lesson from Janaiya
You are not growing unless you are a little uncomfortable. It can be intimidating to accept more and new responsibilities but I’ve learned that when people give you more things to do…it’s a good indication that you are doing a good job.
From healthcare to consulting
Janaiya Johnson grew up in Michigan wanting to transform lives by being a doctor. A goal she carried with her as she went away to Spelman College in Atlanta to study Biology and begin the journey of becoming a physician. However, after a shift in interests, she graduated with a degree in comparative women’s studies. “I self-selected to change my career path after organic chemistry,” she jokes. It was the beginning of a transformation in Janaiya’s own life.
Rather than Doctorate of Medicine, she pursued a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan–and began to address her own health, too. “What most people don't know about me is that I used to be 180 pounds overweight”. With medical intervention to assist in changing her diet, she started exercising and transformed herself. It gave her “more energy and more confidence to get out and network.”
Interning in Ghana
“Get out” she did—all the way to Ghana, Africa, where she completed a summer internship. “We examined factors contributing to pregnancy complications.” Turned out it wasn’t quality of care, but rather factors of access. “The roads would flood, people didn’t have transportation or they insisted on home birthing.” This was her first taste of how consulting helps transform lives.
Career search leads to Deloitte
Upon returning to the US, Janaiya began her career search in preparation for graduation. Via the wonders of technology, she found a sorority member working at a consulting firm in Atlanta, and made a cold call. “I started with, ‘I know you don't know me, but I'm finishing my graduate degree and am interested in consulting. Would you be willing to participate in an informational interview with me?’” She was later hired, where her first project was helping a non-profit organization develop a five-year strategic plan.
Wanting to gain more experience in the healthcare industry, Janaiya learned of a position at Deloitte through a former grad school classmate. “My first project was working on an electronic medical record implementation,” where she helped build order sets for nurses and physicians. “I built an electronic version of what were traditionally documented in paper charts for ordering medication or executing nursing protocols.”
Janaiya liked working with the technology, but what she enjoyed most was the time working side-by-side with healthcare providers. She knew she was helping to reduce errors and improve patient outcomes while transforming process.
After moving to a different firm, she worked less with computers and more with people to aid in adoption and use of electronic medical records across large healthcare systems. “But the next thing I knew, I was returning to Deloitte to work in human capital, where I wanted to be.”
Having worked at three consulting firms, Janaiya says, “The reason I came back and what I love most about Deloitte is the people. Many of my former and current teammates are my friends outside of the office. Leadership is personable and accessible-my mentors, most notable, Andrea Knabe, human capital senior manager in Consulting, Parrish Ivy, a tax principal, and Monique Francois, a managing director in human capital, always make time when I have questions. I love that through my network, if I need assistance with something there is always someone who knows someone who’s a specialist.”
Today, Janaiya is working on Human Capital projects within the public sector for state government clients. But that’s just part of the impact she makes through Deloitte. She’s active in Impact Day–Deloitte’s annual nationwide day of community service. She’s president of the organization’s Central Region Black Employee Network (BEN). She recruits at the University of Michigan and supports a variety of inclusion initiatives within the organization. She’s volunteered with a food bank, worked with Chicago’s underserved communities to develop job searching skills, and raised money for victims of domestic violence. “Being involved with multiple initiatives can definitely make for long days as I am often up at 4 a.m. to fit in my workouts before I head into the office. But it's what I like to do.” After all, my ultimate goal is to transform lives.