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How does one learn to adapt in a changing tech work environment? Experiment without fear.

These wise words from a leader pretty much sum up how I navigated the unfamiliar avenues in my career journey over the last two decades.

When I graduated from college in 1997, I didn’t know that two decades later, automation would be my chosen career path. Today, every business is a technology business. The world is getting digitized and automated wherever possible.

I tell my younger colleagues to be open to change in this fast-evolving environment. Keep an ear to the ground to know about the latest tech trends. Each person’s definition of success, as well as the journey to achieve it, is unique. 

So how did a working mom like me do it?

I experimented without fear! It’s in our cultural DNA at Accenture. We are mentored and nurtured to follow our own path, take risks and create impactful change.

Breaking new ground

Throughout my past 18 years at Accenture, I have been persistent in terms of learning, shifting gears and changing roles—it puts you in charge of what you want to achieve in the long run.

Even though I don’t come from an engineering background, I broke new ground, often picking up roles that did not conform to the desired skills and knowledge parameters I was used to. Along the way, my leaders pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and try varied roles.

I joined Accenture as a business analyst, moved to quality assurance and led delivery excellence for a few years across various business areas. When I returned from maternity leave for the second time, I joined the newly formed automation team.

It was definitely a career-defining change, as I built a global team from scratch and managed teams in every market and country as we set up this new portfolio driving automation across the organization.

Driving change management across Accenture gave me great exposure to the different ways of working of various regions and people across the globe. I was able to drive this change and help establish our office in India as the center and leader for driving automation.

Today, as the lead for automation in technology for Operations, I look back with pride at all my career-defining roles. From quality assurance and delivery excellence to sales, change management and brand communications, I’ve been able to acquire critical cross-functional skills through the years.

From early in my career, I chose to work in and learn about areas that were not fully evolved. This helped me harness my full potential and continue to grow and evolve my career.

“Broken rungs?” Not for me

Both of my children were born while I was working my way up the career ladder at Accenture and being offered promotions. Having the flexibility needed to balance my personal and professional life was— and still is—critical to my success.

I did not face the notorious “broken rung” while making my climb, and I worked on several marquee projects that I am extremely proud of.

When I joined the Accenture technology team back in 2003, we hardly had 100 projects across a small number of clients. We used spreadsheets to drive delivery governance and track projects.

Times have changed.

Today, we manage 3,000+ client engagements through a robust delivery-governance engine backed by powerful processes, systems, discipline and rigor. I am proud to be a part of setting up this system and driving it across the organization.

Setting up automation as a capability was also a major career milestone. We’re now able to provide deep insights through data analytics and help guide our clients through their automation journey.

Add meaning and magic to your life

The words of historian, philosopher and best-selling author Yuval Noah Harari resonate with me: “Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.” I couldn’t agree more, and I boost my happy hormones by pursuing activities that add meaning and magic to my life.

Working at Accenture gives me the space to focus on important things outside of work. I started learning Bharatanatyam, a form of Indian classical dance, at the age of three and was a performing artist and teacher. Today, I make time in my schedule to volunteer to help a dance school with 200+ students.  I find joy in simple pleasures. I most enjoy traveling, writing, practicing yoga and watching my kids bloom as responsible citizens.

As a passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity, I also do my part in helping the team accelerate equality for all at Accenture. To me, inclusion is all about ensuring equal opportunities and providing an equal, level playing field for everyone.

Our I&D initiatives provide our people with a sense of caring, belongingness and security. They provide me with the opportunity to connect with people across the organization and make improvements to various programs and make a difference in people’s lives.

Remember, success never comes to us; we go to it. So, stay the course, take some risks and build the career you want—even if it’s off the path you originally chose.

Create real, impactful value with the work you do, every day. Join us.

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Priya Athreyee

Managing Director and Lead, Automation in Technology for Operations

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