November 06, 2014
By: Joseph Sheehan
One of the things that Accenture values and supports most is diversity. This support is not idle, nor is it for appearance only. The company actively supports diversity leaders, and places them in positions where they can mentor and support other members of their community. This support is most clearly seen to me in the Accenture Ireland LGBT community.
On a very practical level, I've found coming out at work can be a bit… weird. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It’s more to do with the fact that within Accenture, something like being gay doesn't affect what people think of you. You are judged on your ability, and your passion for your work. I like to be open about it though, so as subtly as possible I try to slip it into conversation! I think working in an environment where you don’t have to worry about comments about a boyfriend or where you went on a night out is really important for your own sanity! I feel privileged to be extremely comfortable discussing these things with colleagues, and this is not something that every company offers.
Upon joining Accenture I reached out to a Manager I knew to be involved with the LGBT Ireland. He put me in contact with the leaders of LGBT Ireland who were delighted to talk, and have a conversation about the value I could add. LGBT Ireland works in many interesting areas, such as supporting sponsoring the GAZE LGBT film festival and participating in the GLEN Diversity Champion program.
The support from Senior Accenture Leadership of LGBT within Accenture globally is also immediately evident. My first event with LGBT Ireland was an informal meeting with Andrew Wilson, CIO of Accenture, and the Global Lead for Accenture LGBT. As an analyst, gaining the opportunity to meet with this caliber of Leadership within Accenture is really a unique opportunity. Mentorship and Role Models are extremely important within Accenture, so to have this personal interaction with an extremely successful gay man within Accenture was a great experience. I have also found the LGBT network to be a great means of networking. There are few societies within Accenture which draw people from such diverse areas and levels within the company. I met some really great people who I would not have the opportunity to meet otherwise.
I have perhaps focused a lot on the LGBT side of things, just because that is my experience of Accenture’s diversity agenda. However, there are so many other networks within Accenture, where you get a chance to meet people with (some) similar life experiences. If you think something doesn't exist and should, you will be encouraged to set it up!