Tonie Leatherberry: Cultivating Leaders

By Karla Amador

As Board Relations Leader for Risk and Financial Advisory Services at Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Tonie Leatherberry is responsible for helping company officers and board member leaders to steer and foster inclusive board governance.

In a recent forum at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas, with participants ranging from CEO’s to Board members from major companies, including tech financiers, chemical and life sciences industries, and more, Leatherberry described her leadership style as “cultivating and unique.  I look at multiple solutions in a unique way, to ensure capabilities that will market the pipeline for black corporate leaders.”

One of the ways Leatherberry accomplishes this is by developing tools that are rewarding, while simultaneously creating breakthroughs for collective outcomes for the members of governance. “When I put on a work session with an entire board of directors, I engage with each member, so their voices are heard, and develop an aspect of their best selves, to produce their ah-ha moments!”

Three key factors Leatherberry uses to develop corporate leaders include:

  1. Guiding them to be their absolute best
  2. Try to empathize in what to address
  3. Model the behavior I want them to learn

The challenge for Leatherberry is that there is never enough time in a day.  The goal is to ensure that her agenda is met.

Leatherberry, a distinguished alumnus from Boston University, was recently recognized by Black Enterprise as one of the Most Powerful Women in Business. “To be recognized was such an honor, but also to feel the impact of the successes of the others recognized,” shared Leatherberry.

To be an effective leader, as a Woman of Color in 2018, Leatherberry advises, “It’s important to have empathy, inspiration, continual learning, and humility, and to own the objective.”  She believes there are many opportunities, but that one has to able to compete and engage in an ever-changing dynamic on a global stage, including the dynamic of changing technology, a central role in today’s world, and she encourages all to become a part of that narrative.   

What inspires Leatherberry?  Her daughters, being happy and fulfilled, and her belief that “the world is so vast; be always open to the pursuit of opportunities and work your way from that opportunity.”