Gunjan Sharma

India

Client Service Delivery Senior Manager – Accenture India

Gunjan is a champion of D&I and actively works to drive change through her role. Her efforts include creating Location Wise Women Retention Champions, to strengthen women’s engagement networks and activities and to engage with high potential women employees expressing their desire to quit; launching a Women Retention Roadmap across all India sites; and creating business-wide visibility around weekly, monthly and year-to-date Diversity and Women Attrition Gap numbers to further create awareness and develop mitigation plans.

In a nutshell, please tell us a little about your career journey until this point.

I hail from a small town called Moradabad in the large Northern part of India. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Computer Science and a Master’s degree in English Literature. I am a trained exponent of ‘Kathak’, an Indian classical dance form.

I started coaching young school kids in Wilsonia Senior Secondary School while I pursued my Bachelor’s degree. This experience strengthened my belief in the fact that more you share your learning with others, the more you grow.

I started my career in 2004 with a large CRM company in B2C sales and then managed collections and back-office operations at a professional services firm. In 2017, I started my career with Accenture where I support Service Delivery and Business Operations for a North American client. I have an abiding belief in inclusion and diversity fostering innovation and am passionate about Accenture’s commitment to gender equality.

“I strong believe that diversity of thought has the power to revolutionize the work we do for our clients.”

Who is your role model and why?

I believe that one’s success stems from the quest to become the best version of oneself. And this can only happen when we discover and build on our own strengths and passions.

However still, through my growing years, I was greatly impressed by some exceptional women achievers who weren’t just the trail blazers in their respective fields but also left their legacies behind to inspire generations to come. For instance, I have been greatly influenced by Indira Gandhi – First Women PM of India who famously once said – ‘Power to Question is basis of all human progress’. Another very strong influence has been PT Usha – who became the first Indian woman to reach Olympic Finals in 1984 and now runs Usha school of Athletics in Kerala.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

When I started my corporate career as a sales representative at a CRM company back in 2004, there wasn’t a single woman in the company’s local leadership team. That’s when, I told myself – ‘I’ve got to upskill myself to be able to take charge of my career and reach where I wanted to’. That was my first step towards becoming the best version of myself!

What’s your greatest career achievement?

Maintaining an optimal balance between my familial and professional life is something I am proud of. A great support system at home and work and the ability to set the right expectations on both fronts has helped me meet my personal and professional priorities.

“I believe that one’s success stems from the quest to become the best version of oneself. And this can only happen when we discover and build on our own strengths and passions.”

What would you tell your 18-year-old self if they could see you now?

Life is a journey, and not a destination. Hence explore, discover and accept the challenges life throws at you!

Find your true passion and dare to pursue it.

How has your personal journey informed the way you navigate your career?

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see! This philosophy has always helped me see an opportunity to find a solution whenever I was handed a problem.

The glass has always been half full for me and not a day goes without me feeling grateful for a strong support system I have both at home and work.

I realized much late in life – ‘Success can only be achieved by fitting under stereotypical, pre- defined frames available in our society’– is a myth. I truly believe – Success is relative & must be measured against the goals & aspirations, ‘YOU’ set as an individual for yourself.

I also learnt, your quest to find & identify your passion & purpose could help you recognize the real ‘YOU’ than just mindlessly hopping on some rat race to achieve pre-defined milestones set by society for yourself. Like they say – Life is 10% of what happens to you & 90% of how you respond to it!

How has connecting globally with people in other countries influenced your thinking or approach?

Technology has transformed us into a connected– ‘One Global Community’. My career has offered me numerous opportunities to collaborate with colleagues across the world. This has helped me gain not just valuable exposure to diverse cultures but also different perspectives. I strong believe that diversity of thought has the power to revolutionize the work we do for our clients.

“I have an abiding belief in inclusion and diversity fostering innovation and am passionate about Accenture’s commitment to gender equality.”

Describe your organization’s approach to inclusion and diversity?

At Accenture, we believe that being an equal and diverse organization is both the right thing to do, and essential to business success. Our research shows that an individual’s innovation mindset – their willingness and ability to innovate – is six times greater in organizations that foster a more equal culture.
We take an intentional approach to equality, treating it as a business priority, backed by clear goals, leadership alignment and tangible actions. This approach has allowed us to set industry-leading benchmarks across the world. Take gender equality for instance. In 2017, we were one of the first companies to set a bold global goal of achieving a gender-balanced workforce – with 50 percent women and 50 percent men – by 2025, a goal that we are well-positioned to achieve.

We often reflect on you can’t be what you can’t see, how far does this resonate with you and your own experiences?

At my workplace, we love to celebrate our unique strengths and differences as we make greater strides towards accelerating equality for all. Hence I believe that: ‘I can be whatever i want to be, it’s my belief that matters!’
It gives me immense satisfaction to both experience and contribute to our inclusive and empowering environment that embraces diversity and fosters a culture of equality where everyone feels like they belong, can thrive & be their best versions.

“The glass has always been half full for me and not a day goes without me feeling grateful for a strong support system I have both at home and work.”