My Name is Marina, but everybody calls me Nynna. I’ve been working at Accenture for about two years as a SAP Finance Consultant and team lead, assigned to the Colombia Office. I was born and raised in Maracaibo, a city in western Venezuela, but I moved to Colombia a few years ago. I’m lucky to be an emigrant worker in such a welcoming country that I proudly call home, and even luckier to work for a company where I’m not immigrant, I’m just an “Accenturian”. At Accenture, diversity is woven through every possible aspect of our workplace—we represent so many different nationalities that “different” is not important when working towards one team goal.
The fact that I was chosen to be one of 35 Accenture delegates to attend the 2017 One Young World (OYW) Summit in Bogotá, Colombia is another reason why I don’t feel like I’m an immigrant, and the people from Accenture’s Colombia office don’t see me as a foreigner. When I received the invitation to the Summit, I was simply shocked. Then, shock turned to happiness, and I called my father.
At first, my father did not know what OYW meant, so he searched online—yes, my 80+ year-old dad is a 100 percent digital guy—and he was so proud of me being chosen to participate as a delegate at such a meaningful Summit, that he immediately told my mother, my siblings and his friends.
Both of my parents are university professors, so I was blessed with an education that encouraged me to be a person that cares, that expresses her feelings and that lives to share and connect. For this reason, every single one of Accenture’s initiatives that motivates us to a become a more people-oriented and value-driven business makes my family incredible happy that I joined this company. And their pride means the world to me.
Before the OYW Summit started, there were many different ideas going through my head. I knew it was going to be a valuable experience, but I was not sure how. Afterwards, I must say that my experience completely surpassed my expectations, especially when it came to sharing and connecting with Accenture delegates from all around the world. We connected so well almost immediately; it was an amazing experience. All of us from diverse cultures, religions and continents kept finding similarities in each other and laughing while saying, “THIS is why we are here”. This experience is something I would not change for anything.
One of the Summit moments that really got into my heart was taking the main stage with the entire Accenture delegate team to join Ellyn Shook during her Inclusion Starts With I presentation. I experienced so many feelings that it is hard to put them into words. There we were, holding posters with our personal commitments about how we plan to create an inclusive workplace—a campaign that motivates me every day to be better, to give more and to care more. My commitment to my team and to myself is to be the person my family wants me to be, the one they so lovingly raised.
During Ellyn’s presentation, she asked the audience to write their commitments. Suddenly, 1,400+ young leaders from 196 countries were in front of us, holding up their posters and joining Accenture’s campaign to respect and to include every one; to leave no one behind. Thinking about it now makes me want to cry from happiness (again). I hope I’m able to tell this story to all my colleagues; I want to get into their hearts as the experience got into mine.
My personal Inclusion Starts With I commitment, which is to spend at least five minutes a day to get to know my colleagues better and to encourage them to pursue their dreams felt somehow less impactful after listening to so many sad, happy, inspirational and motivational stories. Then, I understood something clearly when Professor Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, took the stage. What he said really got into my head. He was trying to explain why young people ask for opportunities instead of creating opportunities, and he said the magical words, “...lack of confidence. Motivation can really do a lot for people”. Just then, I realized that my commitment was really aligned with my thoughts, but his words helped me to define how to achieve my goal. I need to instill confidence in my colleagues, really motivate them. For that to happen, knowing them better is critical.
I’ve probably always felt this on a subconscious level, but now I know it for sure. If we motivate those around us, we develop fresh ideas, we create business opportunities, we help the community, and we achieve the most ideal state for our team: the personal and professional growth of every member, leaving no one behind.
After the Summit, the delegates become “One Young World Ambassadors”, and this is a big challenge. I took my time to figure how to stay motivated and to organize my ideas. It was then, during lunch time with Ellyn Shook that we asked her an important question: Accenture is committed to inclusion, and as a global company, we have offices in some countries where inclusion is not a way of life for everyone. So, what are we doing about this? How could this work?
Without hesitation, she explained current initiatives Accenture is undertaking all around the world, and finally she said, “Inclusion is not an option at Accenture. If we need to, we will challenge existing norms and conventions”.
Those words meant so much to me. I’ve never been prouder of working at Accenture. I have never been more motivated or committed to include and support everyone around me. The fight against exclusion and injustice starts with me. Inclusion really does starts with I.
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