PwC OnBoard – bringing skills to the boardroom table

More than 700 PwC staff and partners hold Not-for-profit Board and Advisory positions. PwC OnBoard is the first program of its kind in corporate Australia, connecting us to the not-for-profit and government sectors through board or advisory positions, and presenting our people the opportunity to grow as leaders (and people). PwC OnBoard Founder and PwC DirectorJane Edwards talks about the magic that comes with being part of a board.

What is PwC’s OnBoard program?

It encourages our partners and staff — and our alumni and clients — to seek opportunities in organisations they’re passionate about. They’re able to use their professional skills to give back to the community, broaden their governance knowledge and networks, and contribute towards building more sustainable organisations in society. For the NFPs they serve, they access the time, talent and networks of a range of professionals.

Why did you start this program?

As professionals, we have a role to play in driving social change across Australia. PwC OnBoard bridges the gap between corporate Australia and the NFP sector; between our people and their communities. This program is a very practical way of bringing the firm’s purpose to life, to build trust in society and solve important problems.

What is your role?

As a director in our Social Impact team at PwC, I lead the PwC OnBoard program. A key part of my role involves building relationships across the NFP sector in order to connect the needs of the sector with the skills of our people. I am also a member of the Professional Services Working Group for the 30% Club and a member of the Observership Program subcommittee focused on connecting emerging leaders with board opportunities.

Are there particular PwC employees that are approaching you about the program?

I work across different levels, geographic offices and teams at PwC. While I work predominantly with partners and directors, I also work with our managers and senior managers to provide the ‘next gen’ perspective to boards, at the same time supporting greater generational diversity in board composition.

What do you most enjoy about managing the program? 

I see how we can make a difference. Every day I see PwC people using their skills to help NFPs to do the important work that they do in our communities. We have so many amazing stories of how the skills of our people can make a difference – from the partner with cyber experience on a NFP board that is fighting child abuse to a Senior Manager who as Treasurer has helped build the sustainability of an organisation supporting disabled children. I also love that we’re giving our people the opportunity to connect with their passion using their skills, knowledge and experience. I’ve seen our people igniting a greater sense of their own purpose which is phenomenal.

Has anything surprised you?

That the interest and enthusiasm from both our people and the NFP sector shows no sign of abating. We recently worked on a role in the area of mental health and mindfulness and had the largest number of EOIs in the history of the program.

What are some positive results you have witnessed?

  • PwC people are using their skills to contribute towards building a better future for more Australians. ● We’ve seen the number of relationships formed across the NFP sector grow exponentially.
  • We’ve reached positive generational and gender diversity outcomes, with we’ve seen common misconceptions being challenged, especially around the sort of person you need to be to secure a board role, your age, gender, cultural background and skillset.
  • It’s been encouraging to see this shift over the past two years. When the program commenced in early 2015, 19% of applications for approval to accept a board role were from PwC females while 81% were from PwC males. Today, the number of female partners and staff securing board and advisory roles has doubled, with almost 40% of applications for approval received from female partners and staff, and 62% from male partners and staff.

For further information about PwC OnBoard, or if you have a live board opportunity that you would like to share, please send to

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