Nicola discusses how she’s transitioned into her role at Accenture – and how having two young sons has made her better in her job.
Back in 2006, I took maternity leave from a small company called Media Audits. By the time I returned, it had been acquired and I was now part of Accenture! I’d been a Delivery Analyst in Media Audits before, but Accenture felt that my head for figures and skills in improving processes were right for a team responsible for re-platforming Media Audit’s internal software.
This eventually led to my moving to Accenture Interactive. Here, I quickly got up to speed with the product management skillset – understanding the competitor landscape and price points, building a strategic roadmap for a product and managing a project to deliver on budget and milestones. This was a key turning point for me and I took on a lot of new responsibility. The group had real purpose and different mindsets and ways of working. It was also centred out of Australia, so I worked at home a lot (perfect as I had young sons) and I could see that people put a lot of trust in me, which gave me the confidence to make decisions.
I’ve been fortunate in having some really inspiring managers at Accenture who have encouraged me to progress and I’m now a Strategic Programme and Operations Senior Manager. Although I moved out of Media Management some time ago, I moved back recently. I have always worked closely with the group, whether that’s helping to develop a robust strategy to rotate to the New or – this is my current project – to roll out a global platform for its 20 worldwide offices.
I wear many hats but essentially, I’m a link between the business and the engineering teams. I push the business to shape our client offerings and then translate that back into products and software for the engineering team to build. I don’t have a technical background, but I’ve made sure I’ve kept up with all the terminology: big data, AI and so on!
I enjoy Accenture’s open culture and the constancy of change, and I’m proud of our diversity programmes such as Mental Health and LGBT Allies. They’re more than box-ticking exercises, and I’m pleased we’re talking more now about parental leave rather than maternity leave.
I encourage my sons to enjoy the great outdoors rather than sit in front of their Xbox. We’re into hiking and camping and recently bought a campervan to travel around Europe. Much of my reading focuses on looking for patterns and making connections, and I think there’s a lot that I do as a parent that I bring back into work. There are ways to talk to different people and to model behaviour you want to see. There’s a definite cross-over between family life and working life.