How did you get started in your career and what drew you to Accenture?
After leaving the University of Leeds, I looked for a career with variety which would challenge me and let me learn quickly. Consulting seemed the right answer. I liked Accenture’s end-to-end (from strategy to solution) approach and they provided wonderful support throughout my application process. This differentiated Accenture from the other graduate schemes I applied to.
How do you manage your disability at work?
I am affected by ADHD and dyslexia. I have learnt over the last 3 years how this impacts my way of working. I use tools (such as noise cancelling headphones) to help where I can and I work hard to address what I find most challenging with learned techniques – such as always carrying a page-a-day diary and using non-lined notebooks. I let the people around me know and ask them for the help / support which helps me to achieve my best. The two best tools I have are noise cancelling headphones – in the bustle of an open plan office these are life changing – and the read and write software package which reads aloud from your computer.
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
Accenture has been wonderfully supportive throughout my career. They invested time to assess the tools which could help me succeed and provided strategy coaching on techniques to help me overcome the things which I find hardest at work. We have a wonderful support network which allowed me to find other people within our organisation to learn from.
What advice or top tips would you offer?
1. Take the time to learn about you.
It took me 2 years to begin to understand how ADHD and dyslexia impacted the way I work compared to a ‘normal’ person. Understand your strengths and capitalise on them, understand your weaknesses and have tools, strategies and techniques to address them.
2. Tell your colleagues about your disability.
It isn’t something to be ashamed of. Explain the areas which you find harder or need a bit more time on and importantly ask for the help you need from others. Invest the time to find out about the things you are great at (e.g. dyslexics are great at problem solving and spatial reasoning) and make sure the conversation is a rounded one covering both the strengths and weaknesses.
3. I would bet you don’t fully understand your own disability.
I certainly don’t – so don’t expect your manager to always remember or understand. Help yourself by helping them understand how you work best, what support you need and why.
What skills have you acquired as a result of your disability and how have these helped in your career?
I am very organised and I always receive good feedback on the way I work and manage my time – something which I (as a dyslexic) find difficult. This helps me to focus on what is most important and to provide a clear picture of where I am with my work to my managers. Getting the most important work done allows me to succeed.
Problem solving and verbal reasoning are two things as a dyslexic I am good at and have become known for. I love working with my clients in workshops to get to the route of their issues and enjoy working to solve these problems. Being known for this lets me get the type of role I enjoy most and importantly that I do best at.
I have built confidence in being open about the way I work best and this is something I think everyone should do. Having ADHD and dyslexia gives me a great reason to have that conversation and this lets me be the best I can be at my job.
How have you been involved with your organisation’s disability network?
We have a great disability network. Since joining Accenture I have been actively involved in helping to organise and run community days, presenting at a number of events, improving our assessment process with our recruitment team and establishing a buddy scheme for new joiners. I have loved getting to know people within our network and we have run some great social events such as watching the Paralympic games and going to the theatre to celebrate the international person with disabilities day.