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Below is a note I sent to Accenture people in the United States earlier today and also shared globally about actions we will be taking in the US to fight racism inside and outside of Accenture, create more opportunities for employment and advancement for our communities of color, and help us become more inclusive and diverse. The Accenture Global Management Committee and I are committed to taking similar new actions around the world.
To: US People
We have an unwavering commitment to equality and justice for all, zero tolerance for racism, bigotry and hate of any kind, and we stand against all violence, no excuses. Today, I am writing to share the actions we will be taking to fight racism inside and outside of Accenture, create more opportunities for employment and advancement for our communities of color, and become more inclusive and diverse.
Like many Americans, in the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, I have spent the last several days asking myself how can I help—as an American and as the CEO of a major global company.
It would be easy to despair. On July 18, 2016, when I was the CEO of North America, I shared my thoughts with our people in the US after a week of senseless violence in which two African American men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and five officers, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa, were killed. This note (pasted below) could be written almost without change today. I am filled with the same emotions, and we need the same healing. Back in 2016, we had hoped this would be a moment of change in our country. And we committed to make it a moment of change at our company—and it was.
At that time, we held our first Building Bridges dialogue, which has become an ongoing vehicle for open and meaningful dialogue that helped us through many events and moments that followed. This was the first time we had openly discussed race and racial injustice in the workplace, and it has allowed us to have more honest dialogue, created awareness and helped foster greater understanding than before. As a leadership team in North America, we made a number of changes to improve our ability to attract, retain and advance African Americans at Accenture.
And while our progress has not been fast enough, and we are not happy with where we are, we have made progress because of our commitment and the actions we have taken. We have increased the percentage in the US of African Americans from 7.6% in 2015 to 9% today and have more than doubled the number of African American managing directors, from 31 in 2015 to 80. We remain the only professional services company in the US that publishes our demographics for race each year as part of our commitment to transparency.
But our actions to date are not enough. We have much more to do—and so today, we are committing to take the following actions:
- By September 1, which begins our next fiscal year, we will announce goals to increase our percentage of African American/Black and Hispanic American/Latinx people overall and managing directors in the US by 2025, similar to how we have announced our global goals to reach 50/50 gender equality by 2025, and 25% women managing directors by the end of 2020.
- By September 1, we are adding new training to help our people identify, speak up and report racism. This builds on our unconscious bias training that was mandatory for all managing directors last year and all of our people this fiscal year.
- Working both locally and nationally, we will identify a portfolio of specific opportunities to collaborate with our communities and other partners to promote equality, fight racism and bigotry and create more opportunities for employment and advancement. We want to be part of building a better future together with other companies, with our federal, state and local government leaders, not-for-profits and the people of our communities.
These are our initial next steps, and we will continue to build on these actions and communicate in the coming months.
In addition to our actions in the US, our Global Management Committee is committed to taking similar new actions in the other countries in which we operate.
For the last two years, we have been recognized by Refinitiv’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Index as the most diverse and inclusive workplace among the top 100 publicly traded companies. These new actions, focused on our communities of color in the US and around the world, are in addition to our longstanding global commitment to making progress across diversity overall. I have confidence that we will continue succeeding in becoming more inclusive and diverse because it is the right thing to do, and because it is essential to innovation and to our business success.
Below you will find the signatures of our Global Management Committee and our North America Leadership Team and our Executive Chairman, David Rowland—all of whom are committed to taking action. And you have my personal commitment. We ask that every person at Accenture make a commitment to personally be part of the change.
The first step in that commitment is to have the courage to not be silent, to listen to and engage with one another, and to lift each other up.
Together, we will act, and we will lead.
Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer
Note sent July 18, 2016
To: All US People
I am deeply saddened by this week’s tragic events in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas. The senseless violence of these and similar events is heartbreaking and deeply troubling. We are not aware of any Accenture employees injured in these events, but we continue to monitor developments in Texas.
On behalf of the North America Leadership Team, I want you to know we stand for equality and justice for all, and we stand against violence of any kind. We have an unwavering commitment to inclusion and diversity, and want an open, honest dialogue to address the difficult issues we must resolve as a nation.
While each of us will experience these events in a unique and personal way, we need to all come together and demonstrate our respect, understanding and compassion for one another.
As a citizen of the United States, the leader of our business in North America, and as a mother, the events this week make me sad and distressed. Yet, I also know now is the time that we all must come together to encourage positive change and to heal as a nation.
Our thoughts are with the families of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Brent Thompson and all of the other officers and civilians killed or injured in Texas whose names have not been released at the time of this note.
Julie Sweet, Group Chief Executive – North America
Originally published on LinkedIn
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