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everywoman wisdom: María Sanz Jiménez

Maria Jimenez
Topic: 

María Sanz Jiménez is MD at Accenture, Spain. Here, she gives an insight into her working life, and her top tips for a long, fulfilling career.

 

Home is…

Madrid, Spain

 

I began my career…

At Accenture in 1989 and was promoted to Managing Director in 2001. In those 29 years I’ve worked in financial services and health and public services, and I’ve worked as Client Account Lead (with several clients in FS); Market Maker Lead (FS, Spain); Client Service Group Lead (HPS, Spain) and Global Accenture Enterprise Services for Government Business Service Lead (HPS).

 

Accenture is recognised as…

The most diverse company in Iberia (Spain, Portugal and Israel) by both competitors and clients. I have always been a strong supporter of inclusion and diversity, working as the Global Inclusion and Diversity Lead in FS, and currently I’m the I&D Lead for Iberia, where I run a programme covering gender, LGBT, generations and religion. It has been recognised by the Global I&D Committee and is having a huge impact internally and in the market.

 

My biggest challenge to date has been…

A cross between working in Turkey for two years, and jumping from a local to a global role – both have been amazing learning experiences. At the moment, I’m leading a very complex delivery in Edmonton, Canada, but I love challenges as they help me grow.

 

My top career tips are…

Never say no; always ask for new responsibilities and challenges and always look to learn more.

 

My three most pivotal life moments were…

When I adopted my two children – definitely the best decision of my life. I am very proud of my professional career as well, and I was very happy when I was promoted to MD. The third one is still to come…

 

I celebrate my successes…

With my son and daughter. They are fully aware of how hard I have always worked to grow in my professional career.

The most memorable thing someone has said to me is…
My boss sent me a message saying: “Congratulations on your 29th career anniversary with Accenture! Wow, what an impressive milestone and thank you for all you do for the firm.” I was very happy with his kind words and it made me reflect on all the hard work I’ve done for this company and all the good things I’ve received as a result.

 

A powerful communicator is…

Someone who provides honesty; simple messages and relevant information. Juan Pedro Moreno, the CMD for Iberia, is one of the best communicators I have ever met.

 

The characteristics and skills I look for when recruiting new members are…

Commitment, hard work and respect for others.

 

I build rapport with people by…

Talking to them and being very open. In my experience, a diverse workforce is absolutely crucial for a business, but it is even more important to create an inclusive environment in which everyone feels they can give the best of themselves.

 

I make sure I’m an inclusive leader by…

Listening, listening and listening. When you listen, you understand the strengths of each person.

 

Key to my success has been…

My network of strong sponsors. Having said that, I have been always my best sponsor, sharing my expectations and asking for new responsibilities, plus offering to play new roles.

 

For anyone uncomfortable with networking I’d say…

Developing your network is key to success, so you have to work as hard at this as any other area of your life. Women sometimes struggle to dedicate enough effort to networking, and I’ve learnt that’s a huge mistake.

 

The one piece of career advice that really stuck in my mind is…

‘Never say no when you are offered to play a role.’ Pierre Nanterme said this, and the principle has guided my career.