Pictured above: Parul Vadher (left) accepts her SBT Unsung Hero Award from Larissa Joy, SBT Chair.

Parul Vadher works at EY as a Manager in People Advisory Services. She worked with Brightside, a charity that runs online mentoring programmes matching young people with mentors who can help them make confident and informed decisions about their future.

Can you briefly describe the project you worked on?

I worked with an organisation called Brightside over four weeks in August and September 2019. They wanted someone independent to come in and engage with the whole team from CEO down, to understand how to improve the employee experience and to work with them to develop a new People Strategy. This involved running interviews and workshops to collate insights, observations and recommendations. I worked with the Leadership and People Team to co-create a roadmap and prioritise areas that needed to be improved and create actions against them. Follow up coaching sessions have been arranged to check in with the Leadership team, over the coming months.

What was a highlight of your time volunteering/ what was your proudest moment?

Attending the SBT ‘thank you’ event at the Royal Academy of Arts to pick up an award for the work I did with Brightside!

How did you find the working environment of a charity in comparison to the sector you work in?

I was working on the project on my own, so it was quite different to a typical EY project – where you have the team support and cover around you. I reached out to others that had been involved on SBT projects, to understand how it all worked and that really helped to shape the scope at the start and agree on how best to work with Brightside. Once we got that out of the way, I just adapted to my new workspace and team!

What is the most important thing you learnt?

There is no right or wrong way of doing things, the main thing is to agree on what and how you will deliver the most impact for the client. In this case, the Brightside Leadership Team needed to react quite quickly, due to the change that the organisation was experiencing at the time. They needed to demonstrate to the team that they were listening and taking action. I helped them to prioritise areas they needed to focus on, to get some quick wins, as well as taking stock of the longer-term vision and purpose.

What would you say to someone else thinking of volunteering with SBT?

Go for it! EY offer so many opportunities to get involved with impact entrepreneurs, so you can find something that suits your skillset, as well as the type of organisation you want to help create the most impact. It really helped to speak to someone that had previously carried out an SBT project, so I could understand how to approach it and get a feeling for how to work with the organisation.

How did it feel to win an award?

Felt incredibly proud! I loved working with Brightside and really felt as though they valued my time and input. I would highly recommend getting involved with an SBT project, especially if you want to do something that is purpose-driven.

If you’d like to register your interest in volunteering, please click here.