By: Kathryn Rainville
The CEO of Accenture North America, Julie Sweet, is a champion of workplace diversity. She has made it her goal to achieve gender equity in her workforce by 2025. Currently, the employee base is around 36% women and 64% men.
With the rise of movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp, and more, Sweet feels more hope for the future than ever before. She has said “There is something different today than even two or three years ago. There’s a genuine focus that’s not about checking a box…” (CNN Money). The paradigm around diversity has switched, and Sweet even calls it a new “business imperative” (CNN Money). Diversity is no longer a want; it is a need to compete in our ever-globalizing and connected world.
Accenture shared their employment statistics to confront and share the successes and failures they have experienced in their ability to diversify talent. Sweet wants the conversation to be transparent; she says that while their statistics were not great, “[they’re] going to be honest about where [they] are and where [they] want to go” (CNN Money). Starting this conversation begins with those revelations, and for the first time, Accenture has set goals in terms of hiring minorities outside of women as well. Accenture met its goal for hiring women a year early – now it is aiming for the even more underrepresented groups in the workforce (veterans, African Americans, Latinxs, etc.).
Sweet plans to use her empathy and executive power to drive change for corporate America. With evolving conversations about diversity, Sweet believes the secret to her leadership style has been her empathy. As she explains “…understanding the experiences of how someone is going to experience what you have to say” is paramount in being a leader, and it will certainly only add to her desire to influence how we view diversity and female leadership in business (CNN Money).