Season 5 Episode 5 With PwC’s Sarah McEneaney: How to Future Proof 50,000 People Using Citizen Led Innovation

Human capital strategist Sarah McEneaney, Digital Talent Leader at consulting giant PwC US, and who works alongside L&D professionals on a daily basis, joins us on this latest episode of our ‘Learning Leaders’ Season 5 stream of the podcast to talk about everything from why she thinks Improv is something we all should be interested in if you want to Lead and/or Communicate in business to the radically changing role of in-house mentoring at corporations like hers.

Sarah is a strong proponent of the power of employee experience as the key to future-proofing organizations at scale, and is passionate about amplifying business potential by combining talent with technology, skills and tools—and permission.

Currently Chicago-based, Sarah has also spent time with the in Boston, Ireland, London, New York, Seattle and Sydney, where she also gained private sector experience. She earned a Bachelor of Science from University College Cork, an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and is a CPA in addition to holding an Irish Chartered Accounting designation. On our call, we hear about everything from why she loves living in The Windy City so much, being one of ‘the seven’ Chicagoans who actually like the weather! to:

  • her day job ‘future proofing’ 50,000 of the 200,000-strong global PwC workforce, and how she got to this ‘coolest’ after multiple accounting and business roles all over the world, starting in her native Ireland
  • her interest in data analytics
  • the changing talent strategy approach of big consulting firms like hers (and how that’s changing traditional coaching and mentoring styles) and how that maps onto PwC’s multi-year digital transformation strategy
  • details of the special two-year internal ‘Digital Accelerator’ training program she helps deliver, and how a detailed L&D process supports it
  • why we need to move away from standardised learning to ‘infinite’ learning
  • the PwC philosophy of digital transformation as a ’cultural change powered by technology’
  • her advice on how to not get replaced by a robot
  • her interest and passionate work in not just business, but also, citizen-led innovation and the PwC internal ‘GitHub’ that’s been set up to help first the latter
  • and much more.

Post Covid19 Update

I spoke to Sarah prior to publishing this episode that we recorded back on March 12. Sarah believes that the her work and the digital talent program laid a crucial foundation and preparedness for the current post Covid19 environment. Part infrastructure and technology, part culture and mindset that encourages employees to re-imagine work, she believes the firm and it’s clients are seeing the dividends of the investment in digital fitness.

Having a strong infrastructure prepared and digitally-enabled work arrangements have allowed our people to seamlessly pivot and continue serving client needs with minimal interruption, all things considered. From engagement team tasks, to regular client connections, to new business pitches, our work is still getting done — just in this virtual way

No improvisation needed here!


Sarah recommends anyone who wants to learn more about Improv should check out this book:

Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses “No, But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration–Lessons from The Second City

Sarah comments a lot on these issues on LinkedIn here, and Tweets about them (as a ‘classically-trained hashtagger’ :)) here

She also invites us all to check out PwC’s main online resource around these trends, ‘New World. New Skills


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