Portfolio Lead for Finance and Accounting – Managing Director at Accenture Intelligent Operations Centre, Philippines, Victoria looks back at her career journey and shares what she has learnt so far…
The one thing I wish I’d know earlier in my career is that being a woman is not a liability.
My biggest challenge to date has been staying calm amidst the pressure of deadlines and challenging personalities. I overcame both by re-evaluating the cause of the pressure and drawing on a greater purpose than the experience of the ‘moment’.
There’s nothing I would change about my life, because I learnt more from my failures than my successes.
Every morning, I listen to my getting-ready-for-work playlist, which sets a good mood. In the afternoon I have a 30-minute silent reflection time, to restore and renew, and in the evening I make a to-do list for the following day so I can sleep without worrying about it.
I devour philosophy and literature books. I have a candidate status for a doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Oxford, subject to the completion of my dissertation.
The one piece of career advice that really stuck in my mind is: “Success means that you have the freedom to choose”.
If someone wanted the same role as me, I’d advise they think strategically, with a realistic and disciplined execution ability – focus on the big picture and act now.
One of the things I am most proud of is that my corporate path influenced people to aspire to progress without compromising their individuality or authenticity.
One of my top career tips is to be disciplined, as others rely on you.
Intellectual curiosity and learning agility are the main things I look for when recruiting. Plus, an ability to stay the course, despite challenges, and the right academic discipline or experiential background for the role. I do have flexibility in the latter area however, as skills are easier to develop when you hire the right talent.
As a leader, you need to demonstrate fair treatment and objective decision-making. This shows people that you are inclusive.
People always want to be acknowledged. To build rapport in my team, I reach out to others rather than wait for them to approach me. It’s easier to be inclusive if you don’t build boundaries mentally – my team is not limited to the people I manage.
To be a powerful communicator, authenticity is important – it diminishes your credibility if you speak otherwise. Dr. Jordan Peterson is a great example of how to manage difficult conversations with a data-driven discussion and communicate effectively to an audience.
If you want people to listen to you, you have to command attention with your physical form. This includes appropriate attire, the right posture and stance and voice modulation – or what we call ‘executive presence’.
Men and women have built a common ground between us: one of reason and fairness. I think we’ve transcended our psychological divides and bridged any gap in communication, as I’m finding men to be more sensitive and women to be more assertive. There are more similarities than differences between us.
Networking is not forced. If you pursue your own interests, you will naturally be drawn to a network. I’m fortunate enough to belong to networks and communities in Accenture that allow me to pursue my interests outside the confines of my offering group, and beyond my geographic base. This includes a group of women executives who can ‘pay-it-forward’ through the Accenture INSIGHT program across all our offerings, globally. Plus I am a co-sponsor of the Winning in the New program, which is a talent development path for our senior managers in Accenture Operations. I remain connected to my LDP group-mates, sponsors and coaches as well as the MD Accelerator program, and have an executive coach amongst our senior managing directors who meets with me every quarter.
The only investment required for networking is time. We need to make time for what is important, and having a network of support is important, both for your personal fulfilment and professional growth.