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March 06, 2019
Why we should surround ourselves with diverse people
By: Tinke Wesseling

Tinke’s passion to create gender equality is mirrored in the people she surrounds herself with. From coaching refugee talents in Accenture Netherlands to driving gender equality programs for our people and clients in Australia, Tinke shares her inspiring story on how she’s forging change.


I’ve been at Accenture for 13 years, with the last two being in Australia. From the start I have been involved in Corporate Citizenship and Inclusion & Diversity initiatives. One that has made a big impact on me personally was the Refugee Talent Hub, for which I even volunteered in a refugee camp in Greece with a group of my colleagues.

We created a digital hub that matches, through advanced algorithms, refugees coming into Europe with companies looking for particular skills. We wanted to create more transparency in the job market to demonstrate both the skills that refugees brought in and the hot skills businesses were looking to attract. The team itself was made up of mainly refugees, who showed an incredible resilience, positive mindset (after all that had been through) and drive to contribute, which I found very inspirational.


Working on the Refugee Talent HubWorking on the Refugee Talent Hub


This project highlighted how it’s really important to recognise the economic benefit and value of minority or marginalised groups. It’s similar with gender equality initiatives. The more inclusive & diverse our workforce is, the more economic value you get.

I’ve always been passionate about having a career where I would be able to contribute to society at large. Unfortuntely, there are still some challenges to overcome, and achieving gender equality is one of them. If you look at the statistics around women’s salaries, promotions or representation, there is no equality yet. Women are often still not as visible and aren’t always treated as equals.

Looking back at the earlier years of my career, I thought I needed to behave and act like my male colleagues, which with all the knowledge I have now, shouldn’t be required.

It’s not just Accenture, our clients have a desire for gender balanced environments too.

We’re collaborating with several of our clients on their Inclusion & Diversity agendas through different projects including a virtual reality solution for unconscious bias, to create more awareness on current behaviors and the impact of the behaviors.

When I am asked questions around how to create a more gender equal workforce, the four enablers I share as being key to improving our gender balance and overall equality, is at first finding role models and/or mentors. They don’t necessarily need to be female colleagues at higher levels, but could also be e.g. male champions of change or role models / mentors outside of the daily work environment. The second is about creating safe environments where people can bring the best version of themselves to work to drive value and have purpose.

The third is being open and flexible to explore (creative) options. Often clients ask for full time support with specific capabilities, however that doesn’t need to mean that people who work part time or with a different skills set should be counted out.

Lastly, we need to continuously be looking at everyone, males and females, different cultures, backgrounds, with the same lens and identify if they are the right fit for their roles. Do they have the capabilities and support in place to be successful in their roles? Can they grow enough? How can we support to create an environment where people can bring the best version of themselves to work?


Finding pathways for People with Disabilities (workshop in our Sydney office)


I think that Accenture is very strong in driving the Inclusion & Diversity agenda.

There are so many diverse people in Australia and New Zealand, very cross cultural, with a genuine drive to contribute to society. We have I&D leads in different entities, driving initiatives for Gender Equality, People with Disabilities, Cross-cultural and Pride.

I feel very privileged to have so many diverse people around me and am very motivated to continue driving change with them!


Enjoying a bike rideEnjoying a bike ride


At Accenture we're committed to providing a supportive environment that combines flexibility, diversity, learning with a great career guidance. Find out more about the ways we're empowering all of our people here.

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