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A company of inclusion and diversity: Meet Accenture’s top women execs in the Philippines

Euden Valdez - Philstar.com
A company of inclusion and diversity: Meet Accentureâs top women execs in the Philippines
Meet Ambe Tierro, Vicki Collado and Ira Reyes, who share what it is like to have the best of both worlds—being a mother and a woman leader at Accenture in the Philippines.
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MANILA, Philippines — Women were found to be more heavily impacted by the global pandemic that began in 2020, according to a report produced by W20 in collaboration with Accenture Research and Quilt.AI. Many of them are now accomplishing their tasks and responsibilities remotely at home, while also managing the household and taking care of their families.

This is especially true—and more so fortunate—for mothers who happen to work in a company that has a strong commitment to inclusion and diversity (I&D). For many women leaders in the workforce, they thrive and flourish in their careers and professions when they are fully supported by their organizations through various I&D initiatives.

At Accenture, for instance, a culture is fostered wherein everyone feels they have an equal opportunity to belong and to build a career.

For three of Accenture’s top women executives in the Philippines—Ambe Tierro, Ira Reyes and Vicki Collado—this is their reality. They share what it’s like to have the best of both worlds, being a mother and a woman leader in the workplace, especially during the pandemic.

Ambe Tierro: A culture of inclusion and diversity

A company of inclusion and diversity: Meet Accenture’s top women execs in the Philippines

Having joined Accenture Philippines in the 90s, Tierro, who is Technology Centers lead for Philippines, Africa and Asia Pacific, expressed how I&D has evolved over the last three decades. “I grew up in the company with strong female role models,” she recounted.

When the company first celebrated International Women’s Day in 2006, Tierro realized how strongly committed Accenture was to advancing inclusion and diversity, providing women employees with the right representation and empowering them to take senior leadership positions.

During Tierro’s time as Global I&D lead for Accenture Technology two years ago, they were able to roll out various initiatives such as recruitment and retention of women leaders in tech, women leadership development programs; and fostering inclusive and bias-free environments with industry-leading policies and practices.

“Fast-forward to today, the I&D story has advanced to include other aspects such as ethnicity, LGBTQ+, persons with disabilities and more. Now, almost all companies have I&D as a top business priority because more and more organizations realize that having a good balance of women in the workforce and in leadership positions has shown positive impact to business performance,” Tierro said.

As an industry leader, Accenture is proud to have women comprise more than 50% of its workforce across all levels in the Philippines. Add to that the company’s strong community of LGBTQ+ and employees with disabilities across its offices in Manila, Cebu and Ilocos. 

Vicki Collado: People and community as priority

A company of inclusion and diversity: Meet Accenture’s top women execs in the Philippines

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Collado, managing director and Finance and Accounting Portfolio lead for Accenture Intelligent Operations Centers in the Philippines, knew right away what the company’s priorities were.

Apart from servicing their clients’ needs with minimal disruption, Accenture also focused on keeping its people safe.

“During a crisis, values matter. At Accenture, the safety and well-being of our people remains to be our top priority. This principle has guided our decision on policies during these very challenging times,” Collado said.

This resulted to immediate work from home (WFH) enablement among employees, which included a comfortable WFH allowance for everyone below the managing director level, and access to information and support on health management and mental wellness. Those who had to work in the office were provided with safe transport and exclusive accommodation. Adherence to health protocols was also enforced in the offices.

“What is also laudable is the compassion and care despite the business challenges we faced then. This is evidenced by the generosity we have extended to our people and our communities,” Collado noted.

Ira Reyes: Truly human culture

A company of inclusion and diversity: Meet Accenture’s top women execs in the Philippines

Reyes, Accenture Country Human Resources lead in the Philippines, on the other hand, feels very fortunate to be part of Accenture Philippines at these unprecedented times, crediting the company’s “truly human culture.”

“The one big ask from us is to bring to our work our true best selves every day. This has been a great source of energy for me in my work. This allowed me to thrive even when not everything was going right in areas outside of work. This also allowed me to pace myself and remain calm at the height of the pandemic, knowing my organization truly cares for me,” she shared.

Being the organization’s human resources head gave Reyes the opportunity to shape a new future for Accenture’s people, making sure that they are continuously upskilling, and that they remain to be a connected community despite being physically distanced.

For working mothers and parents in general, it is vital that they are able to care and nurture their families even as they pursue their careers. Accenture recognizes the same by providing the generous 120-day paid maternity leave, while fathers enjoy the 30-day paid leave. Also available is a secondary caregiver and adoption leave that allows a female employee to give 30 days from her 120 days maternity leave to a qualified caregiver who is also an Accenture employee.

“As we value inclusion and diversity in Accenture, we believe in equal pay where our reward structures and practices are gender neutral. We are the first in our industry to recognize same gender life partner, which allows participation to our employee benefits,” she continued.

Reyes also highlights Accenture’s Adjustment Request Tool and Accessibility Center assistive technology for colleagues with disabilities, a pioneering program that Accenture launched in the Philippines and has since been replicated in other countries.  

Women leaders rising

Tierro, Reyes and Collado are indeed women who are on top of their games in an industry that has been fairly dominated by men for the longest time. They are proof that in these trying times, women, especially mothers, can rise as leaders and continuously thrive when given various opportunities, resources and support to do so.

As sources of inspiration, Accenture’s top mom execs leave messages to their fellow moms and women colleagues at home and in the workforce:

Ira Reyes: “For the women, I urge them to find their sweet spot where they can add or create value beyond their roles at home. Regardless of the role you take, if you feel you are making positive change, it matters. You are contributing to make our country a better place.”

Vicki Collado: “The best message I can share is how we live our lives, with the hope that we provide inspiration to others as they see us in action. Motherhood is not a hindrance to corporate success; it became my motivation. I pursued a corporate path because I wanted my daughters to know that they have a choice—working is equally noble as being a housewife.”

Ambe Tierro: “To my fellow mothers, I know it feels like we have essentially been working two full-time jobs in the last year with at-home schooling and working from home. My message is it’s OK to wake up each morning and feel whatever it is you’re feeling. Be honest with your colleagues and your boss. If you work in an inclusive company with compassionate leaders, they will understand and offer help. While you are not perfect, you are enough. In fact, you are more than enough and you are amazing.”

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