Accenture’s Tradition of Encouragement Propels Ladies to Success By means of All Profession and Life Phases
1. Which key program (e.g. mentoring, sponsorship or paid vacation) do you think has helped move your company forward? How has this program been particularly helpful for you as a woman?
Accenture offers it all: a strong network of executives who are ready to advise and support through mentoring or sponsorship. The paid vacation was very helpful after the birth of my two children. My mentors and sponsors have encouraged me to maximize this vacation and I am very happy that I listened. For me, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned at Accenture is that you shouldn’t approach your career on your own. I have been very fortunate to have the advice and support of strong mentors and sponsors in return have helped formalize programs that will help other female leaders grow and prosper. Mentors and sponsors have been invaluable in helping me identify my strengths and blind spots, and use that knowledge to grow.
2. To what extent has the support from your colleagues / company helped you to grow in your career?
My company and my colleagues have opened up new opportunities for me and helped me dream big. By learning from others’ perspectives, I have developed more confidence in what I can achieve personally and, more importantly, what can be achieved through collaboration and what it could do not just for me but for other women.
We are all more successful when we join forces, innovate and work together than when we try to do everything alone.
3. What are some of the biggest barriers to your career advancement?
A couple of things come to mind. First, I had to get used to taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone. Through new tasks, I learned to stretch myself and achieve more than I initially thought possible. When men seek a new role, they usually just decide whether or not it fully matches the job description – women need to become familiar with this type of risk. Another thing I learned was how to calm the noise on the outside (the doubters) and in my head (the impostor syndrome). By staying calm, asking for help, and focusing on what I could control, I learned to overcome challenges and develop resilience. Eventually I learned the difference between goals and intentions. The goals are external services; Intentions relate to your relationship with yourself and others. By setting intentions first and combining them with goals, I’ve learned to live in the moment with gratitude, which has helped me take the focus off success or failure and enjoy the path in my career and personal life.
4. Was there a crucial moment in your career and what did you learn from it?
The time I thought I was going to be promoted to CEO compared to the time I made it. I didn’t make it the first time because I thought hard work alone would get me there. It was a crucial moment that taught me to stand up for myself. It is important to be aware of what you want and to share that intention with others. The clearer you are about it, the easier it will be for others to help you with it.
5. What advice would you give to other women entering the C-suite in order to thrive in their careers?
I feel like there is a war for talent now more than ever. There are more opportunities for women to grow and lead, regardless of their industry. The key is to speak out loud, step up, and stretch. Don’t wait until you have all of the skills in the job description to decide on the job, just go for it. Skills and qualities that women have traditionally brought with them are valued more than ever today: Listening, empathy and cooperation are crucial for success for all managers.
The most important thing is to have mentors and sponsors. Don’t try to do it alone. We can all go so much further when we work together. Make sure you have people around you who can nurture, advise, stand up for you, and work with you. Working hard is important, but so is working smart, collaborating, and making others aware of your contributions.