Ellyn Shook
Ellyn Shook
Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer
September 20, 2018

Our People’s Innovation Makes Accenture More Inclusive


Originally posted on LinkedIn.

We recently celebrated Accenture’s annual Inclusion and Diversity Excellence Awards, which honors our extraordinary colleagues who put Accenture’s aspiration to be the most inclusive and diverse company in the world into action.

With over 500 submissions, the innovation and commitment displayed was simply astounding. All our award winners saw opportunity where others didn’t and embody my belief that every single voice has the power to change the world.

In the spirit of sharing, I want to highlight the stories of our winners who exemplify what it means to be truly human. Their bold leadership and passion for inclusion and diversity are inspiring, creating a workplace where all individuals can be themselves and make a difference.

  • In the Innovation Award category, our team in France, led by Celine Laurenceau, tackled the challenge of gender bias head-on and developed a Virtual Reality “Gender Swap Experience”—which opens eyes and enables individuals to feel gender bias firsthand, ultimately helping to shift mindsets.

  • The U.S. Disability Employee Resource group, led by Kevin Smith and Sarah Cline, received our Network Award for Showcasing the Strengths of Persons with Disabilities. They mobilized a large group (1,400 people in 27 cities across Accenture) to open the dialogue about disabilities—seen and unseen—at work, helping people of all abilities feel they belong and comfortable sharing their strengths. Their robust mental health ally network, autism empowerment and support group and lunch and learn series, Walk in My Shoes, are just a few of the group’s many innovations.

  • This next award is very close to my heart because it’s a great example of extending the #InclusionStartsWithI movement, which started with our video that’s now reached over 2.1 million people, and 44 organizations are using it to spark dialogue with their people. Our Resources business realized there was still more we can do to further weave this message into the fabric of who we are, resulting in #ResourcesISWI, led by Aura Wynne and her team. The key was engaging people at a personal level, focusing on individual commitments to be more inclusive. As a result, stronger relationships and a true sense of belonging are spreading across our business.

  • For our Ultimate Sponsor Award, we recognized the ground-breaking work of Bhaskar Ghosh, who is the group chief executive for Accenture Technology. Bhaskar is busting the myth that there aren’t enough qualified women in technology today. We’ve realized remarkable results toward the I&D objectives he set for Accenture Technology, including 49% women at entry level, a high number of women promoted to managing director and increasing the number of women hires by 50% in one year.

Finally, we honored individuals whose actions and passion go above and beyond to accelerate inclusion and diversity at Accenture. Meet our four Champions who are using their voices to change the world.

  • Rah Thomas leads our African American Employee Resource Group and works tirelessly to discover, grow and inspire top talent and is a prominent voice in our Building Bridges platform—bringing important topics like race and religion into the workplace for open and respectful dialogue.

  • Andrew Pearce leads our African Caribbean Network in the U.K. and is driving positive change around issues impacting black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues. Seeing a lack of African Caribbean role models, he started the Accelerate Leadership Development Program to grow a more diverse pipeline of leaders.

  • Maria J. Sanz Jimenez is the driving force behind our I&D efforts in Spain, Portugal and beyond. Her innovative ideas on I&D strategy, metrics and action planning are the gold standard for getting us closer to achieving our aggressive goals, like 50/50 by 2025.

  • Andy See is the I&D Lead in Greater China and breaking new ground with the launch of LGBT and mental health ally programs, along with innovative efforts to recruit persons with disabilities.

When people take individual responsibility for inclusion and belonging, it accelerates progress and the world takes notice. Accenture was just ranked #1 on Thomson Reuters Diversity & Inclusion Index, and I firmly credit the commitment and actions of our people, like the ones you read about here, for this great honor.

Congratulations and thank you to our winners, who saw opportunities and grabbed them with both hands—to open eyes, showcase strengths, spark movements, bust myths and use their voices to change the world. They’ve shown that inclusion ignites innovation and are an inspiration to us all.

I'd love to hear what you are doing to accelerate inclusion, diversity and belonging in your role or organization, so please share your ideas in the comment box below. Let's learn from each other.

Ready to join a company where you can truly be yourself and make a difference with the work you do every day? Find an opportunity with Accenture.

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