From battlefield to boardroom, he’s conquered it all.
Former Indian Army Officer Gurdeep Bains is spearheading Accenture’s Global Asset Protection team in India. He’s also going the extra mile to ensure the people of Accenture stay physically energized and experience the joy of giving.
Gurdeep talks about his transition from the Army to working at Accenture, the amazing work he’s doing and his passion for running and giving back through the epic Accenture Empower Run.
From Indian Army officer to managing director with Accenture, tell us about your remarkable career journey.
I served in the Indian Army for 24 years as part of the Para Special Forces, a unit of highly trained para commandos. During the course of my Army career, I performed my duties in the Kashmir Valley and northeast India, trying to restore normalcy in these areas affected by terrorism.
I also aided in United Nations peacekeeping operations. In 2006, wanting to also experience corporate India, I decided to take premature retirement as colonel and join the corporate world.
I’ve been with Accenture in India for more than a decade now and have watched the company grow exponentially. Throughout the process of building our operations, the Global Asset Protection team has stayed laser-focused on creating a safe, healthy environment for our people.
The Employee Assistance Program was one of our breakthrough initiatives—a program to help people overcome stress and anxiety through 24/7 access to professional counselors. We went on to amplify our efforts in the areas of women’s safety and business continuity in unforeseen crises such as the Mumbai terror attacks and Chennai flood.
What are some qualities the Army instilled in you that helped you become a corporate hero?
There are many traits of an exceptional Army officer, and through the years of leading my own troop at Accenture, it has become more evident that these same qualities also help build stronger teams in the business world. From my Army service, I bring passion, dedication and commitment to our corporate mission.
If I’m responsible for something, then I carry that responsibility and accountability on my shoulders. For me, it’s not just a job; it’s a calling.
Discipline is engrained in every soldier, which helps me stick to deadlines and meet my commitments. After leading men into battle, surely things can’t be as hard in the corporate world.
Fitness is a vital ingredient of a soldier’s life. How have you stayed on track?
I believe the larger well-being of a person depends on professional and financial satisfaction, a peaceful family environment and fitness. These elements are crucial if we wish to stay confident, lead a healthy life and bring our best self to work.
After leaving the Army, I picked up long-distance running, and it turned out to be the best decision for me. It was a big moment when I completed my first Ultra Marathon Bengaluru in 2007. Today, running is the fuel for my soul, as it helps me combat stress and stay invigorated for day-to-day activities.
So, did your love for running help you step up the fitness game at Accenture?
Absolutely! One of my core responsibilities is to manage health and safety programs within the organization. With my passion for running and a strong company focus on promoting fitness and well-being, we rolled out a pan-India mega event in 2014 called Stepathlon—a virtual platform that urged our people across cities to walk 10,000 steps a day for 100 days. Stepathlon’s roaring success motivated us to create new, exciting ways to motivate our people to incorporate a heathier lifestyle.
The next frontier? The Accenture Empower Run.
Tell us more about the Empower Run and its impact on the company culture.
We lead fairly sedentary lifestyles in today’s fast-paced, digital world. A company-sponsored event like this breaks the monotony and brings everyone together to soak in some sun, sweat it out and have lots of fun while giving back.
The Accenture Empower Run is the intersection of two Truly Human elements—being physically energized (body), while finding a sense of purpose (soul). On our well-being journey, we wanted to start an event where our people across cities get together same day, same time and participate in a run.
After weeks of planning and deliberation, we launched the Empower Run in 2018. I was proud to be part of this epic run, where 7,800 Accenture people across seven cities came together and put their best feet forward—for their own health and to give back to their communities.
We were back with a bang in 2019—more than 11,000 Accenture runners came together once again to show their spirit of collaboration, equality, fitness and giving back to society. Throughout the last two years, we have raised funds through these runs and contributed back to the society through NGO partnerships.
What’s next for the Empower Run?
In 2018, there were three different formats—a 10 km run, a five km run-walk and a 2.5 km walk. We saw a clear difference between people who are already engrained in running and want a more challenging format versus people who are just stepping into it.
We are looking at ways to make the next run more exciting, competitive and interesting, while keeping it within the boundaries of our campuses. It’s become an eagerly awaited event now, so we’ve got to make it bigger and better.
It’s not just another run. It’s a way for our people to be themselves and come together to make a difference.
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