Money & Career

Why I Work: Business Executive Tracey Patterson On Diversifying Company Culture

Tracey Patterson of Accenture 

Noel Cody
Jun, 11, 2018 9:09 PM UTC

Dedicated to building the next generation of leaders, Tracey Patterson is inspired by her daughters to empower young women and increase diversity in the workforce. Her work in part is dedicated to actively creating a workplace where people can be who they are, and be their best—simply because they feel like they belong.

Finding her groove at the intersection of technology and business, Tracey’s career serves as a great example for her two daughters who love science. She has spent 12 years at her current company, Accenture, where she is helping improve the way the world works and lives across multiple areas, including Information Technology (IT), business operations and human resources. “The challenge of being innovative and weaving that into the way I lead my team and business energizes me,” says Tracey. “My journey is supported by my special network of sponsors and mentors, including global leaders across our business and my peers who challenge me intellectually and help me as I dream up new ideas.”    

Accenture has also cultivated her passion for giving back. “I believe that individually, we have the power to make a difference. It is my ongoing goal to enable our company and our community to be better and stronger than when I joined,” says Tracey. And as she takes steps towards this vision, she finds herself following in the footsteps of her mother, Ollie Townsend, who always remained grounded in her core values, showed unconditional love for her family and provided her with every opportunity to be successful.

Earlier this year, Accenture published groundbreaking research, Getting to Equal: When She Rises, We All Rise. It revealed that company culture is key to unlocking gender equality and narrowing the pay gap. “We surveyed over 22,000 working men and women in 34 countries,” says Tracey. “We identified 40 workplace factors that create a culture of equality, including 14 factors that matter the most, and modeled the potential impact of these factors on the gender balance of the workplace and on women’s pay.”

According to Tracey, companies must pursue a cultural transformation that helps position women and men for success. “It starts with a deliberate intent to create an authentic and truly human environment where everyone feels respected,” she says. “Women of color in particular need access to key elements of career growth that may come easier to others: democratizing access to mentors, sponsors and roles that are business facing with growth potential.”

From a talent perspective, Accenture’s commitment to inclusion and diversity starts at the top, with their CEO and board of directors. “We were one of the first tech companies to share our workforce demographics and our progress on hiring diverse people. This transparency creates joint accountability between Accenture and our communities to ensure we achieve our goals.”   

Tracey’s perspective is one that is shared by Accenture. “Embracing diversity as a source of creativity and competitive advantage helps us innovate and do impactful, valuable work for our clients. I am inspired every day by my colleagues’ creativity and ingenuity to help solve complex challenges—at work and in greater society,” says Tracey. “And that’s why I love what I do. That’s why I work.”

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