I loved consulting and client-facing project work, so I applied to Accenture and joined as an Analyst in the ACG. This was a great time - I did a range of projects with clients in Financial Services and the public sector and loved the variety. Within the first 12 months I managed to land a project with the Sustainability Strategy team and spent the following 6 years in that area - progressing from Analyst to Consultant to Manager.
Despite loving project work, after 6 years I knew it was time for a new challenge and Pivot 2. In 2018 I became the Business Operations Lead for Accenture Strategy UK - working with senior leadership to enable effective business and commercial operation of the practice and to re-define and implement our business strategy.
A key strength (and root cause of my career changes) is that I am a generalist. Deep specialisation is not for me, but I love learning new things and applying prior experience to new situations. A common thread has been my ability to pivot and quickly build skills in a new area.
- Understanding the inter-dependencies between a whole suite of KPIs used to measure our business performance - and how these influence each other
- Tracking business performance and providing analytics / management reports to Strategy leadership to provide insights and highlight inefficiencies
- Defining our 3 year business strategy and overseeing the implementation of a whole suite of initiatives and tracking their success
- Managing logistics and delivery of internal and external events
- Managing internal budgets linked to training, events and people initiatives
In addition to this role, I also lead the "Accent on Family" (AoF) network in the UKI. AoF is an employee network aimed at supporting colleagues with a range of topics linked to family life - from fertility, adoption and fostering, to parenting, flexible working and caring / eldercare. The network is entirely run by enthusiastic volunteers from all parts of the UKI business, and is a fantastic way of meeting people with similar interests beyond your immediate project team. AoF provides colleagues with advice (from people who have been in similar situations), links to further information and a whole host of fun and engaging events throughout the year.
My current role is exactly the same - you need to be flexible and comfortable with change. Business priorities can change based on current / forecast financial performance, market conditions, or internal changes like changes in key personnel or leadership. Also, working with a large group of senior stakeholders, each with differing styles and approaches means that communication is key - as is empathy, and the ability to see something from another person's perspective. When we're discussing the future direction of our business area, building consensus and alignment around a shared vision and purpose is critical to success.
I've always found the vast majority of project teams try to support these commitments as far as possible - it may not be possible 100% of the time due to project deadlines, but flexibility from everyone goes a long way. As a full-time working mum, my personal commitment is that I have to leave the office at 4.30pm to collect my daughter from nursery. I always set this expectation when I start working with someone new, and find the balance by checking emails or finishing things off later in the evening after I've finished bedtime. When I was working on client facing projects I made sure my client was aware of this too - my team would "cover" for the few hours I was offline, and I would review their work in the evening, ready for all of us to start fresh the next day.
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