Pro Bono Professional Services from Okta: the story of a team-level pledge
By Joaquin Campos
Okta took the 1% Pledge in 2016, demonstrating our commitment to the belief that technology can be a catalyst for positive social change. Okta for Good, Okta’s social impact arm, was created to carry out that work. Since then, we’ve donated nearly $10 million in cash and more than $15 million in products and services to nonprofits across the globe.
Making our technology more affordable for nonprofits is important, but what happens when an organization can’t get the full value out of that technology on their own? Many organizations are able to pay for professional services, but many can’t afford to. Where do they go for help?
Okta’s Professional Services team is comprised of identity and access management experts, skilled in helping customers with their Okta implementations. In 2018, Eric Kelleher, Okta’s Chief Customer Officer (and then-head of professional services) asked Okta for Good how his department could make their own “1% pledge.” Eric was inspired by Okta’s company-level commitment to giving back and wanted to create a similar, but more specialized, opportunity for his team. “Okta’s Professional Services team is incredibly talented and committed,” says Kelleher, “and they were energized to find a way to contribute their expertise and their time to help nonprofits securely use the technology they need to pursue their missions.”
Through the program, Okta’s Professional Services team has already donated over 1,000 hours of expert-level technical assistance to nonprofits. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has been fighting pediatric HIV and AIDS through research, advocacy, and treatment programs since 1988. They told is that their Okta professional services volunteer was “amazing” and “really saved this project from faltering. There are a number of areas we would have missed if we had done it on our own.”
Okta for Good partnered with Okta’s Professional Services team to co-design a program that allows nonprofit customers to apply for pro bono engagements and allows the Okta volunteers to earn credit towards their quarterly utilization targets. Gina Ho, Okta’s Global Services Strategy & Programs Senior Manager, has been another key partner in developing the program alongside the Okta for Good team. “I’m so thankful to have been a part of creating an opportunity for the team to leverage their unique skills to directly impact communities,” says Ho. “It’s fulfilling to use your ‘everyday workplace skills’ to help others.”
This program is an example of what can happen when company and employee purpose is aligned. It also demonstrates the powerfully simple Pledge 1% model. At Okta, we’re proud to enable nonprofits to safely use any technology, and feel privileged to have partners like our Professional Services team that embodies our company’s values.