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Nathalie Pessel

Adapted from story originally published in ELLE, by Lucy Glen

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Whether you’re just starting out on your career journey, or in the thick of it and not sure where to turn next, hearing about how other people navigate and thrive is always inspiring—not to mention helpful.

Three years ago, Nathalie decided to change course on her career (for the third time) and pursue her passion for the planet—with no expertise in her desired field. She’s now driving change as a sustainability and technology senior manager at Accenture, focused on sustainability efforts with the global SAP team.

She shares what drives her, how “boundaryless opportunities” at Accenture helped get her to where she is today and, most importantly, her advice for those seeking a new path or wanting to jump a few rungs up the career ladder.

It’s never too late

The biggest challenge I experienced was my career reorientation in 2019. It was my third professional turning point, because I have always been curious to explore new paths. While the first changes went smoothly, this one turned out to be more complex to tackle, for two reasons: I didn’t have proven sustainability expertise yet, and I was over 40.

I personally considered myself still “young,” since I had more working years ahead of me than behind me. But many recruiters in other companies considered me as a “senior” already. They expected me to be an expert and ask for a high salary, while I was willing to learn and salary was not my main concern.

I’ve experienced firsthand Accenture’s passion when it comes to offering its people opportunities without boundaries.

My advice? Never stop being tenacious, and go for as many cups of coffee as possible with people, without any expectations, because your next professional adventure can arise from a conversation with someone who sees more in you than you might think. That happened to me when an Accenture managing director recognized my potential and personal skills, and how they could be leveraged.

Pursuing passions is powerful

Contributing back to the world is a key motivation for me, as well as a passion for the Earth and future generations. My driving force is the will to contribute to society in some way. I come from a background of people whose daily job is taking care of others. I couldn’t imagine having a job today that doesn’t involve something bigger than myself.

It’s a powerful feeling indeed, knowing you are part of a wider network that is working purposefully toward the same goal. In Accenture’s case, the company has an environmental goal of net-zero emissions by 2025 and a commitment to a culture of equality, including women in the workforce, who currently account for 46% of its global people.

I believe diversity and inclusivity are the driving factors in creating a successful and harmonious working environment. I am thankful that Accenture puts this at the heart of its business, and our people are valued for the uniqueness they bring.

We all become smarter and wiser when we share and listen to opinions from people who have different life experiences.

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Nathalie Pessel

Technology Senior Manager, Paris, France

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