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Denise Keelor Ireland an APAC Delivery Lead at Accenture for the Automation, Engineering & Transformation, Accenture Operations

How long have you been with Accenture?

It will be three years on April 27 this year and it has been a fabulous journey.

What does your typical workday look like?

I lead Automation Engineering & Transformation delivery for our Asia Pacific clients. I provide delivery at client offices as an As-a-Service offering. This includes delivery in India for deals sold in the European Union or North America.

A typical day for me begins around 9 a.m. with review meetings of delivery projects in Australia and Manila. I have regular connects with my team to work out project financials, people and mobilization details. I also enjoy designing for the Robotics Process Automation capability, bringing into play my Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification and experience in developing transformational solutions.

The day also includes client calls, client and internal governance matters, deal approvals and coaching, mentoring and guiding my team.

What is it that you enjoy most about your current job?

I love the flexibility, the creativity of Design that my role offers, I have a clean canvas to start with yet, I also have a framework around it when I get down to developing client solutions in the art of possible.

Did you always know that you would work in this field? How did you decide to go into this profession?

Honestly, no. I have always let my career develop and grow naturally. I believe in enhancing my skills and doing what’s needed to support the strategy or direction my organization takes.

Joining this field was not a conscious or planned decision. I took the opportunities that presented themselves as I undertook the journey of my work life, enhancing my skills with the help of my coach and mentors.

It’s no secret that many women in this industry have felt their gender has affected the way that they are perceived or treated. Have you ever been in a situation like that? How did you handle it?

Yes, there are numerous occasions where I have been in that situation. I have learnt to divorce emotion from work and remain focused on the task at hand. My personal view is that there are differences in gender men and women cannot be equal. The intrinsic social framework, value sets and upbringing, that each individual has defines how one views and responds to the gender in the room — I acknowledge this and respond with work that is beyond expectations.

What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the industry?

Nowadays, companies are consciously providing support to drive greater gender diversity, which is great. There is a certain awareness in colleagues and clients to consciously put archaic biases aside when working with a woman.

How does Accenture groom you into becoming a leader?

My tenure here has been too short to truly comment. However, the trust placed in me and the independence I enjoy here, complements my working style.

In terms of upskilling, how do you think Accenture is placed to meet future industry demands?

In my view, Accenture is a forerunner in the industry. By collaborating with visionary companies that are disrupting the market, Accenture continues to position itself ahead of the curve and its competitors.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the industry? What do you wish you had known?

For a woman, every role or job change should be well thought through—it’s a career move and not just a change. It should have a bearing on career progression in terms of skills and aspirations. Another consideration is how it will affect the woman’s home. One must take responsibility to manage one’s life and aspirations.

Based on your own experience, would you say that you’ve seen improvements in diversity over the years?

Yes, I see more women in the workforce now, which lends one to believe that gender diversity is truly turning a corner.

How do you balance work and your personal life?

The only time I have had to balance this consciously was when I had my two children. One needs to have a support structure at home so one can give one’s hundred percent at work. The support structure could be parents, domestic staff or even colleagues. Spousal support is, of course, the main pillar, without which there would be no work-life balance.

The emotional anxiety of separation from one’s baby will stay with the mother, and the mother has to deal with it, not letting it get in the way of work deliverables. The expectation of allowances should not be brought to the workplace.

A rigorous exercise regime is critical for a woman to balance one’s life – its needs a lot of energy to stay self-reliant with all the multi-tasking required! I have always lived by this principle.

Quick takes~

  • A gadget you can’t live without: I’m not attached to any gadget. I use my mobile only for work.

  • How do you recharge? I catch up on my sleep and exercise, and when possible, travel to serene Kumaon, my hometown. I also like travelling to Goa for the endless views and the sound of the sea.

  • A new music band or book or sport which has caught your attention: I am currently enjoying the music of Ed Sheeran, John Legend and Charlie Puth, —though ACDC is my favorite band, influenced as I am by my husband’s choice of music. The whole family now enjoys rock music of any kind compared to synthesized pop music.

  • A piece of advice that sticks with you: "Remember—it is not about you." This is something I remember, especially in situations where one tends to react emotionally.

  • A book or movie that has the power to inspire: Steve Jobs & Elon Musk related literature, documentaries, interviews… the vision, intellect and changing the world that they just never gave up on.

  • Your mentor (s): Raman Roy and Walter Yosafat


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