Accenture is a global consulting company whose purpose is to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity. Accenture employs more than 500,000 people across 51 countries. Dear World has become a tradition at their annual managing director school both in person and virtually. We’ve also created several content pieces after working closely with their current and previous CEO as well as several executive suit members.
How we began working with Accenture.
In 2014, a family member of Accenture’s Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer, Ellyn Shook, attended a Dear World event and mentioned it to Shook at a Thanksgiving dinner. The conversation inspired Shook to invite Dear World event at their annual Managing Director school. MD Momentum is Accenture’s annual 18-month leadership development program for their new managing directors. This conference is important because Accenture promotes a few hundred new managing directors each year. For example, in 2015 Accenture announced 723 new managing directors and senior managing directors, 647 new MDs in 2016, 687 in 2017, 762 in 2018, 787 in 2019, and 605 in 2020.
Accenture has tens of thousands of employees around the world who are managed by managing directors. At this scale, it can be a struggle for each employee to view themselves as an integral part of the company, rather than just a number. Not only do they need to see value in themselves as a part of the company, but they also need to come together as one community and one company. An environment that enforces individualism and value can only be cultivated through strong relationships, beginning with its leaders. Once the leaders have these tools, they can bring them back to their Accenture locations.
Noticing these challenges, Accenture wanted their leaders improve their interpersonal relationships with peers and clients.. The specific outcomes of Dear World were to:
- Create an opportunity for participants to share their personal stories so their teams, peers, leaders could get to know the “real person”
- Understand their own story, understand who they are, and feel a sense of empathy and connection to their peers
- Help people become more comfortable sharing their own story
- Align these stories with the larger goals and objectives of the MD School.
You were an amazing addition to our Managing Director School. The Dear World journey was a highlight of our week and we cannot tell you how much we appreciate the inspiration you brought to our group. The reveal was truly magical — to see it unfold live was unbelievable.
– email from Ellyn Shook after the initial Dear World experience.
Since 2014, Accenture’s former CEO Pierre Nanterme and current CEO Julie Sweet have contributed their Dear World stories as well as several Accenture board members and Senior Managing directors.
In a Time.com article from May 2020, Sweet goes deeper on the story she shared to MD school participants in 2019.
I grew up very modestly. My dad did not graduate from high school. My mom graduated from college my freshman year in college. My dad painted cars for a living. But they had an amazing optimism and belief that if you worked hard, you could do anything. And I think that sense of optimism, with a work ethic, has been a really big part of my life. I once coined the phrase, “fearless but prepared.” You don’t just take risks for risk-taking. I’d say that though as a leader today, one of the most important lessons was the one my father gave me when I left school to go to college. I grew up in a very different environment and my dad said, “Don’t be afraid you’re leaving us behind and you’re going to go experience these things. That’s what I want from you. But never forget where you came from.”
“I just think that was monumental for CEOs to start being vulnerable like that,” Fogarty said. “Authenticity starts at the top.”
At our events with Accenture, we provide a space for their leadership to practice vulnerability in order to make their company stronger.
Bonus: Gender Equity
When Sweet told the story of when she cried at a work meeting, she said it was because she started to think about all of the discrimination she has experienced as a woman in the work place. She explained that since then, she has vowed to be an advocate for all people to feel welcome and comfortable in the workplace.
“And while our first duty is to do it for the people we lead, at Accenture we have proved over and over again that inclusion and diversity is great for business and essential for innovation,” Sweet said in her speech.
The Refinitiv D&I Index ranked Accenture at number one for “top 100 most diverse & inclusive organizations globally” in both 2018 and 2019, and in 2020 they are still a world leader as they currently rank at number three. Accenture has a comprehensive approach to diversity, and makes sure that they focus on multiple categories such as gender equality, persons with disabilities, support for their LGBTQ+ community, ethnic and racial diversity, and prioritizing mental health and wellness.
Because of the diversity of our voices and the way we tell important stories, in 2016, we teamed up with Accenture to promote women’s equality and to help them tell the stories of women in their organization.
Bringing it all together–Virtually
On January 18, 2021, we delivered Dear World virtually to take more than 700 new MDs through the Dear World experience.
February 5, 2019