The Accenture African Caribbean Network (AACN) is an Inclusion & Diversity team within the firm which puts the accent and focus on ethnicity. I joined AACN shortly after my arrival in the firm.
Most of the events the AACN organise tend to revolve around Black History Month, which is where most of the budget goes. I’ve attended cultural shows, big celebration events, kick-off events, networking events, virtual sessions, you name it. Earlier this year, a whole bunch of us travelled to Birmingham for a graduate event that attracted young members of the African Caribbean community from all over the UK.
What I really like is the range of events that springs from the AACN. On the one hand, there are the fun events such as the not-to-be-missed Christmas celebration; on the other, there are the more serious events such as building your skills and career and attracting graduate talent.
The Accelerate Programme spins off the AACN. It’s essentially a leadership skills development programme for members of the AACN which is separate from our day-to-day roles. The programme is a relatively new innovation, and whether or not that’s just a coincidence, there’s been a massive difference since the turn of the year to attract more black and minority ethnic candidates.
I had training through Accelerate which was really useful in helping me to find my way around Accenture, understand the role of mentors and gain guidance on being a good leader. We also recently had a session with Caroline Flanagan, a really inspirational speaker on inclusion and diversity issues, which was all about Conquering Imposter Syndrome. The AACN has also held a number of closed-door sessions, which have provided a forum for people to say how they’re feeling about working for Accenture, whether they are comfortable in their jobs, and to discuss any challenges they are facing.
I can’t imagine another company that cares so much about inclusion and diversity. Accenture is such a progressive employer that’s doing amazing stuff. Obviously, you can’t be complacent and there’s loads more that can be done, but people here are passionate about I&D. Crucially, they’re putting into practice what they’re saying.