I joined Accenture as a campus grad in Detroit 25 years ago. Today I’m the HR Director for Australia and New Zealand. Throughout my journey with Accenture there have been many twists and turns but a few reasons stand out for why I’ve stayed with the company all this time.
The first is there is an opportunity for a variety of roles and challenges. The second is that these roles are interesting, challenging and fun. If you’re being developed and you're growing and have a diversity of opportunities that are fun - you keep going, you keep doing it.
I started out in consulting 25 years ago and developed an expertise in organisational change management. Back in the day that was predominantly training and development for the big computer systems we custom designed and built for our clients. Today it’s about providing a solid strategy and framework for the people and organisation undergoing any kind of major change.
And I’ve always found the work exciting. I have worked with a variety of clients, industries and projects which have been hugely fulfilling. Early on I helped a pharmaceutical manufacturer redesign the manufacturing process of a popular ibuprofen based medication (I would have never thought that within two years of being out of uni, I would be directly involved in changing the manufacturing process for a drug company – improving it from 40 days from warehouse to package, to 4 days!). Right after that I found myself in an automotive manufacturing plant helping them improve the quality of their products (once again, finding myself on the manufacturing floor, working along-side veteran operators innovate ideas to build quality into their process). Fast forward to today and I’m now the HR Director for Australia and New Zealand.
When I was asked three years ago by the Global Head of HR Ellyn Shook to join our internal HR capability it was a huge change for me. We were rolling out a new dynamic approach to enabling higher performance called “performance achievement” and I was brought on to help our leaders drive the change across the globe. So instead of having external facing clients, Accenture became my client. I applied the years of work I had done with clients to Accenture and it challenged me yet again.
So when you think about some of the reasons why Accenture has been named on LinkedIn’s list of top places to work - those dynamic career opportunities are a big reason. If you ever find you are bored or spinning your wheels there are plenty of opportunities to raise your hand to. Or just hang out for a bit because at any moment you will get a phone call and somebody will present you with an opportunity.
It’s also fascinating the places I’ve had the privilege to travel to and the people I have met. Ultimately, people make all the difference to your work environment. No matter what Accenture office you visit in the world, you are surrounded by ambitious, smart, curious people who are never satisfied with the status quo, who always want to take something good and make it better. You share that common mindset with colleagues globally and you all grow and develop together.
But of course, like any career journey, it hasn't all been smooth sailing.
Throughout my career at Accenture there have been many crossroads. Consulting is a demanding field and travel is often a requirement of the job. I’ve been on projects where I had to spend time away from my wife and young children and after a while you sometimes question what you’re doing. That happens.
It’s during those times that I believe it’s important to make deliberate choices to look after yourself – own this reflection and ask for help. Whether that is through exercise or having conversations with the right people about where you’re at – it’s important to remember who you are, what’s important and what you need to do to avoid wearing yourself out or risking burnout. Check out my other blog on why making time for yourself is key to success.
My 25 years at Accenture has provided me with dynamic, interesting and fun career opportunities. Just over a year ago I moved to Australia from the US to start the next chapter of my Accenture adventure – and I’m excited about what lies ahead.