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I grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, an area known as Nixyaawii, in northeast Oregon. I am a descendant of the Wallowa Band Nez Perce on my father’s side and the White Bird Band Nez Perce on my mother’s, a Native American people who have lived in the Pacific Northwest for thousands of years.
Reservation life is both beautiful and difficult.
The history, traditions, language, religion, songs, water, animals, art, friendship, humor, kinship and children make life on a reservation inspirational and hopeful. And yet, the lack of opportunity and housing, addiction problems and history of trauma also can make it difficult.
Transitioning from my home to a career at Accenture was not easy. I struggled to adapt from reservation life to city life, while also trying to understand and fit into the corporate world.
Growing up, you dream of leaving the reservation for various reasons: it’s boring; there’s nothing to do; you’re tired of the drama; you want to chase your dreams, get a job, go to college. And yet, when you finally do leave, you get homesick; you miss your family; you miss your people; you miss the land.
When I first joined Accenture, I was out of my element, struggling to fit in, struggling to understand. I was second-guessing myself. Thankfully, with the guidance of colleagues and mentors and the support of my family and friends, I was able to find my footing and persevere.
The inclusive culture at Accenture provided me with the opportunity and confidence to put myself out there as I help my team.
Growing businesses and my career
My Accenture journey has been exciting.
I started as an Operations Analyst, maintaining our client account roster data and running our onboarding operations. Over the years, my technical skills and business acumen grew, as did my opportunities for career growth.
Today, I’m part of the account sales operations team, where I collaborate closely with executives and sales leads to ensure business excellence. My role is about helping leadership realize their strategies and grow Accenture’s business.
In my day-to-day, I work with a team to ensure we are in position to exceed our account goals. I work with executives, sales leads to ensure sales pipeline data is accurate, developers to ensure reporting is providing valuable insights, client financial management to ensure our pricing models are accurate and contract management to ensure we are mitigating risks.
We work together and win together as a team. Whenever we close a sale, there is a thrilling sense of pride and camaraderie that affects the entire account team.
Resources are everywhere for every employee
Employees are encouraged to come together and join Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), networking communities of many backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities and beliefs to connect, support and learn from each other.
When I learned about ERGs at Accenture, I immediately wanted to get involved with the Native American ERG but soon found that there wasn’t one available at the local level. I was disappointed but then realized this was an opportunity for me to bring Native culture to Accenture.
My colleague Travis Loiselle and I started the very first local Native American ERG in Seattle—something I’m proud of. We are still new and ramping up, but we’ve already held a donation drive for a local nonprofit supporting the Seattle Urban Indian community, volunteered at a student STEM Diversity Networking event and provided an opportunity for Accenture employees to learn more about Native American history.
Accenture joined the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference in Milwaukee as a sponsor this year and brought a fantastic team, meeting many great Native prospective job candidates. I'm excited to work with Accenture and my tribe to expand our footprint with AISES, indigenizing the future of STEM.
The Native American ERG at Accenture has momentum, something you don’t hear often from a major corporation.
The sky’s the limit at Accenture
I feel like career possibilities are endless.
We collaborate with clients in almost every industry across the globe, so you always have the opportunity to seek new roles if your passions change.
Career progression is up to you. No one is going to advance your career for you, but if you ask for help, the people at Accenture step up. Having mentors to steer you and help build a path for you is so important.
For Native Americans who are interested in Accenture, don’t be intimidated. You have the skills. Figure out what you want to do at Accenture, find people in industries you’re interested in and make a plan for how to get here.
Be your true, authentic self and do work that’s transforming the world, every day. Find your fit with Accenture.
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