Harsha Almad, managing director – Accenture in India, reflects on her pulsating consulting career and traveling the world.
My heart was bursting with excitement.
It was the fall of 2007. Dressed in my favorite trench coat and holding a magnificent orange suitcase, I waited for my taxi to arrive and take me to JFK airport in New York.
It was the moment I waited for since college: my first-ever business trip as a consultant.
As a young consultant settled in the Big Apple, travel was the coolest thing about my job. And here I was, on my way to build a transformational change program. I felt like a super girl on a mission!
As the years flew by, I went on to travel the world and lead large-scale transformation programs for our clients in the energy, Health & Public Service and Retail industries.
Consulting helped me develop professionally and personally. It instilled an extraordinary amount of discipline in me, exposed me to a variety of cultural experiences and helped me gain a breadth of experience across multiple clients and industries.
Seizing opportunities in the city of dreams
It had been many years since I lived or worked in India. So, when my husband and I decided to move back, it was quite unnerving. I was in love with New York and its amazing energy.
But all the restlessness in my mind was put to rest by my wonderful leaders. They guided me every step of the way to ensure my transition to Mumbai was seamless. It was finally touchdown Mumbai, a city that still surprises me.
Right from the word go, I was steadfast about growing my network and grabbing opportunities to team with top clients in the energy and high-tech industries in the U.S. and European markets.
Amid all the consulting action, I prepared for a new and a very special time in my life—motherhood.
Unpacking a bag full of “new mom guilt”
The truth is, traveling frequently in any profession can be stressful. When I returned from maternity leave, I felt I was ready to take on the world one more time. But I was highly unsure about leaving my six-month-old baby and being in a different part of the world.
The “new mom guilt” hit me the day I left for New York to work on a client project. I couldn’t focus and was feeling low. When I shared my feelings with my husband, he motivated me to live in the moment and make the most of it.
Since I was back in New York, I caught up with old friends, and that helped me stay positive.
What became clear to me then, still stays true today, it’s best to live in the present moment. When at home, be the best mother/wife/daughter/friend, and when at work, be the best employee/manager/coach/learner. This mantra helps me “be the best version of me, every day.”
Doing what I love
Fast forward to 2019. I’m now part of the Capability Network leadership team and a mother of an eight-year-old boy. Honestly, travel remains the best part about what I do. Managing a high-pressure, demanding career along with coping with travel-related stress is only possible when you work for an organization that creates a truly flexible and empowering environment for its people.
I’m able to do what I love and do it so passionately because our truly human work culture allows me to maintain a healthy balance between my family and work commitments. My leaders and clients understand if I need to work from home to be with my child or be part of inspiring events such as the Women Economic Forum or NASSCOM Summit.
Sometimes, my family joins me after I’ve completed an assignment abroad. This way we can be together and explore new places. The key is to be true to yourself and set your boundaries.
I’m ready to board my next flight with a one-way ticket to soaring higher than ever.