AS A SENIOR MANAGER OF THE GREATER TEXAS REGION FOR PWC, BAUER MBA ALUMNA RENU SACHDEVA LEADS DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION FOR THE MARKET WITH COACHING, TRAINING AND ADVISING EFFORTS.
The missing ingredient is to find your own voice as a leader.
Renu Sachdeva (MBA '15)
Bauer Alumna Ties Authenticity to Diversity & Inclusion
There are people whose personalities, passion and life history seem to converge in a professional livelihood perfectly suited for them to succeed.
Renu Sachdeva, an alumna of the Bauer MBA program, draws on employee development skills that circle back to her personal history, while demonstrating a natural enthusiasm for personal empowerment and growth in her position for PwC as a senior manager in the Greater Texas region, leading diversity and inclusion for the market.
Sachdeva coaches diverse team members, oversees thought-provoking discussions on diversity and inclusion (D&I) topics and serves as an adviser for market leadership in the area of D&I. She also helps to facilitate national diversity training geared toward providing leadership development skills for minority professionals. This experience led her to become a Certified Professional Coach this year.
A native Houstonian, Sachdeva graduated from Sharpstown High School in 1998. Her immersion in the diverse student body there served as a kind of incubator for her current professional business acumen.
“I do think it (diverse student body) really paved the way for where I am today,” she said. “When I went to school there, I was one of only four or five Indian students. I learned very early to get to know people who didn’t look like me. It was such a diverse school, and my circle of influence, my group of friends, was very, very diverse. I’m so grateful for that.”
Sachdeva said she initially considered joining an Indian student association during her undergraduate program. But she soon realized it wasn’t a good fit.
“The funny thing is, I remember going to that group, and I felt so out of place. I wasn’t used to being part of such a homogenous setting. For me, it wasn’t my comfort zone.”
Sachdeva instead naturally cultivated a diverse circle of friends similar to those she’d had in high school.
Bauer College’s diverse student body was part of its appeal when she began considering which Houston MBA program to enter. Once she applied and accepted, Sachdeva received the Bauer Excellence Scholarship, which awards $5,000 to $10,000 to top candidates. Sachdeva also took part in study abroad opportunities in Prague and in Paris, and served as president of the MBA Advisory Board.
She believes establishing strong personal connections in the MBA program early on was key to her success and recommends it to others.
Sachdeva said: “Building relationships helped me get integrated into the program more quickly, and it meant I was able to get involved in a more meaningful way, rather than just showing up and going to class.”
Together, these combined experiences provided a rich learning opportunity that she now invests back into the lives of the team members she works with at PwC. In turn, this helps the Big Four accounting firm grow stronger in its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“When you’re a minority in any way, in a majority group, there are challenges and obstacles that you have to think about overcoming,” Sachdeva said.
She added: “Sometimes those challenges and obstacles are external, and sometimes they’re limiting beliefs that have been ingrained into your own mind, but part of my role is to help our employees understand what kind of messages they may have received and how to overcome them to excel.”
Authenticity is key for strong leaders, Sachdeva said.
“I think sometimes people are trying to chase a formula for leadership, as in, ‘if I do this I’ll be successful, or if I do that I will be seen as a good leader.’ Ultimately at the end of the day, the missing ingredient is to find their own voice as a leader,” she added, referencing the influence of UH professor and author Brené Brown, whose work focuses on the values of authenticity and vulnerability.
Now in her 15th year at PwC, Sachdeva’s personal journey has helped to inform her outlook on her career.
“I refer to myself as a ‘life ownership and diversity coach,’” she said. “I think it’s really important for people to take ownership of their lives.”