Wednesday, June 7, 2017

NGLCCNY ACCENTURE Spotlight: Nedra Dickson

Nedra L. Dickson
Global Supplier Inclusion & Sustainability Lead

From the right thing to do, to becoming an imperative. This is how Accenture, a leading global professional services company driving innovation in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations, began to realize it made business sense to utilize diverse suppliers. Committed to leveraging the right diverse suppliers across all categories, today Accenture’s US diverse spend is approximately 30% of the Procurement spend.

“My personal commitment to supplier diversity is to help diverse businesses grow,” said Nedra L. Dickson, Accenture’s Global Supplier Inclusion & Sustainability Lead.

Dickson has been with Accenture for over 16 year and started her career in the consulting practice, in NYC. She has worked in many of the practice areas including CIO (Computer Information Organization) and Procurement’s Sourcing and Category Management. Prior to her Supplier Inclusion & Sustainability role based in Atlanta, she led the NA Sourcing and Category Management team. Dickson was responsible for approximately $1B in subcontractor spend across all categories. This role allowed her to work closely with the Supplier Inclusion team and it was then that she learned about the amazing world of Supplier Diversity and Inclusion. Shortly then she began attending the conferences we all frequent today – NMSDC, WBENC and NGLCC, to meet diverse suppliers that could help Accenture and its clients.

When first introduced to a diverse business, Dickson was simply amazed. “Even though they were small, they did not lack in skills and ability to deliver key technology,” she said. She became determined to showcase the innovative work these diverse suppliers brought to the table. Soon as she noticed that many of the diverse suppliers were also community leaders and led efforts into helping others, Dickson made it a personal commitment to champion on their behalves and pay it forward.

One of Accenture’s greatest successes is their mentoring program called DSDP – Diverse Supplier Development Program, which is launched in 4 different geographies (US, Canada, UK, and South Africa). Dickson’s team gets the chance to partner handpicked diverse suppliers with key Accenture executives and mentor them on helping grow their business. Her team brings in key Accenture executives as presenters with many different topics (HR, Capital, RFP responses, Web-design, Branding) just to name a few. To date, there have been 125 diverse suppliers who have graduated the DSDP and half of them are currently doing work with Accenture.

When asked how she manages a global role from Atlanta, she says, “the time zones do present a bigger challenge as I’ve had to take calls at 4am and at midnight.” Managing 17 countries (US, Canada, UK, South Africa, Netherlands, Germany, France, India, China, Mexico, Australia, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, Costa Rica), Dickson is fortunate to have and thankful to her team of seven that are fully dedicated to Supplier Inclusion and Sustainability. She also has the support of Supplier Inclusion Champions in each of the countries who are aligned to Accenture’s Global Procurement Sourcing team. “We made it a formal role to have 25% of their time dedicated to Supplier Inclusion,” she said.

Strongly believing supplier diversity must continue to bring innovation, Dickson, committed to paying it forward, sought out a diverse supplier and prior DSDP graduate to partner with – (an LGBTBE) Socio, a creative, comms and customer experience agency shaping how companies do business. Together, through Accenture executive sponsorship and Dickson’s leadership, they have created a graduate program called Hire Performance. You’ll hear more about Hire Performance as it continues to excel, however, here is its mission statement:

  • Hire Performance creates long-term value for Accenture, its clients, and our communities. We put DSDP graduates to work by aligning pipeline, innovation, and culture, which positions Hire Performance as the interface between Accenture’s business growth and our commitment to help Clients increase their diverse spend.

Accenture has been committed to inclusion and diversity for many years. They have a very successful LGBTQ ERG (Employee Resource Group). Wanting to know how to get involved on a more national level they sought out NGLCC to begin a national corporate partnership. Accenture recently announced that all US employees now have an opportunity to voluntarily identify their sexual orientation and gender. This information helps them better understand their workforce, informs their policies, and ensures they develop meaningful and relevant programs to support the engagement, career advancement and retention of their US employees. Currently, Accenture offers the opportunity to self-identify across several dimensions of diversity including ethnicity, disability and military experience.

“We believe the addition of LGBTQ Self-Identification—which is fully supported by our LGBTQ Employee Resource Group leaders—will further help us attract, grow and support our diverse workforce,” said Dickson.

Here are some thoughts to consider if you seek to engage with Accenture:

  1. The model is to staff every client engagement with an Accenture personnel. However, if they must augment staff, the goal is to ensure qualified suppliers are leveraged.
  2. Must invest time to understand the culture and dynamics of a global company; they are huge and complex.
  3. Understand what they do. Their website ( has a lot of information about what they are doing in the market.
  4. Do not expect an immediate contract; it takes time.
  5. Professional services and technology focused businesses work best for Accenture but not limited to those areas.
  6. Highly focused on digital, big data and artificial intelligence.
  7. By 2020, they will open 10 innovation hubs in key cities and will expand their regional network of technology delivery centers across the US.
  8. Creating jobs across all their businesses – Strategy, Consulting, Digital, Technology and Operations.
  9. Will be looking for talent with a broad range of disciplines, including engineering, computer science, analytics, digital, design, security and other new economy skills at all career levels.
  10. Continue to network with personnel on a regular basis and remember, it does take time to build that right relationship.

To connect with Nedra Dickson, learn more about Supplier Inclusion and Sustainability at Accenture, please connect via the following:

Nedra L. Dickson
Global Supplier Inclusion & Sustainability Lead
EmailWebsite | Suppliers' Contact | Careers 

LinkedIn | Twitter 

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Interview by 
Gonzo Araya,
Executive Chair, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Cheif Creative Officer, Socio

What's your story? 

Please contact me at

Socio is a creative, communications and customer experience agency shaping how companies do business. A certified LGBT Business Enterprise.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June - July Upcoming Events!

Featuring local, state and national events for NGLCC, nglccNY, our Membership and Community Partners. 

See you at our next event!

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Posted by 

Sean Franklin,
Senior Associate, Media Communications Committee, NGLCCNY
Experience Producer, Socio

What's your story? 
Please contact me at

Socio is a creative, communications and customer experience agency shaping how companies do business. A certified LGBT Business Enterprise. 

Jennifer Brown: Building Inclusive Workplaces For All

Jennifer Brown, Founder & CEO
Jennifer Brown Consulting

Jennifer Brown Consulting (JBC) is in the business of Building Inclusive Workplaces for All.SM A strategic leadership, diversity and workplace consulting firm founded in 2006, JBC is committed to helping talent at all levels redefine leadership. JBC is in the business of transforming human potential aligning individual performance with organizational results.

Leading the team is Jennifer Brown. A highly sought-after speaker and thought leader, Brown has been captivating corporate leaders for over a decade.  Her signature talk Finding Your Voice in the Workplace SM has been heard by thousands and transformed the lives of many who have heard it. One of Jennifer’s many passions in life is to help build more inclusive workplaces for all and she aims to do just that through her speaking across the country. In February of 2017 she released her much anticipated book, Inclusion: Diversity, the New Workplace and the Will to Change. “Inclusion” offers a best practice approach to activating inclusion regardless of your role in the workplace.

Recently, Jennifer Brown spoke with me about this latest endeavor to welcome and engage new voices in the Diversity and Inclusion conversation.

How did you get your start in the Diversity and Inclusion(D&I) consulting world?
Personally, I was involved in many LGBT causes and specifically found myself in the LGBT and equality in the work-place conversation. It was my personal advocacy and I didn’t know how it would merge with what I was trained in, which was leadership and organizational development and change management.

I started JBC as a team building, coaching and training company. As my corporate clients moved into Diversity roles, I was exposed to who was being left behind in the workplace. Once, we realized how vital diversity training would become, it was a natural pivot and we began a focus on Diversity and Inclusion Consulting. We have always focused our work through a leadership lens, a change lens. We still carry that discipline forward.

How has that helped you in sharing your personal Diversity story?
I found my voice by easing into such a bold voice. I don’t think it would have been easy to stake a claim and be as bold as I am today.  I think it would have been very difficult to have conversations without having the experience of the last 10 years. Today I am very comfortable in speaking about my personal diversity story.

How did your find your path to writing about Diversity and Inclusion?
Early on, I found myself on the Out and Equal board with the LGBT folks from all the big banks. It was quite eye opening to be part of the conversation in the very early days of the diversity conversation and what was shaping up to be corporate involvement.

There weren’t too many diversity consultants that looked like me. A white, LGBT woman. I sometimes think we are all too early when it comes to diversity and inclusion because I still meet with people who look at me as if I have 5 heads when I talk about D&I. There are people who think it’s no big deal, we don’t have a problem. They think we’re post the diversity conversation. I think many feel we want to have a conversation that many are not ready to have. Diversity used to be expressly race and ethnicity. Now we have a broader definition of who is diverse and what is a diversity story.

Today, we are talking about men, about allies, it’s a more inclusive conversation. We have the internet, we have a broader sense, richness of differences out in the world, we have more language to talk about it. We have more descriptors for ourselves and an understanding that identity is not a binary for so many of us. I think it’s cool in that the more we feel seen and not put into big monolithic groups the more effective we are going be when we speak about each other and ourselves in that very specific way. It means more people will feel seen and heard. I wanted to offer insights to how to have or, at least, start the conversation.

How different is this book for you? What has been the greatest challenge in culling your experience to come up with Inclusion?
The challenge in writing about D&I is that it’s such a moving target. The changes occurring in the last 4-6 months alone. People have seemed to awaken out of a sleep and said “Hey, wait, maybe I need to use my voice, my privileged for good” or “I need to be a part of the conversation,” whereas before I didn’t think they did. There’s a lot of awakening that is happening. If I were to write the book today, I would certainly have a different lens based on everything we’ve learned over the last 6 months.
I’m happy to have written a book that is evergreen. I have been told that this is a book that resonates with people whether they are D&I practitioners or the CEO of a Fortune 500 who loves it.

The book is appealing because there is an inclusion of people that are not typically included in the dialogue. It’s certainly not a book just about race, ethnicity, gender and LGBT. Its broader than that. I tried to cover all the things I’ve been exposed to in the consulting world for over ten years. I wanted to include the things I’ve seen, the stories that have moved me. The press and the research that I site and rely on to tell the personal stories I think need to be told. The inclusion of my own story and how and why I connect to the work on a personal level. It was challenging to figure out what belonged in the book. We’ve seen so many aspects of this conversation. I tried to identify what’s most helpful to someone who picks up this book and asks what is D&I? What do I need to know? My guiding principle was that I wanted to prepare as many people as possible from many different walks of life to jump into the conversation in any way that they can. It felt like a very broad book.

You inspire me and so many others in the community, who inspires you?
Matt Kidd’s dedication to putting on “Out Women In Business." As a white, cis gender, gay man who makes OWIB a priority is significant. That he is building a place for us to convene, putting the muscle and resources behind it so that we can all get together and while you are not part of our community and yet you are doing this for us. That is what an ally looks like.

How do you stay motivated?
I follow other people. I’m always looking to others to see how bold I need to be. I think we’re all inspiring each other and I don’t want to get comfortable. We must look to what we want our frontiers to be and ask ourselves “What’s the next step for me?"

What are best practices small businesses can access to cultivate a collaborative community.?
If you are a founder or CEO you are in the position to be overt about your diversity story. You can be an inclusive leader in any size of an organization. As a leader in business you are always teaching and you have opportunity to hold people’s feet to the fire when it comes to the basis on which you make decisions. If you are weaving D&I in your conversations or actions, you are teaching people it’s important to you. Exercise your economic muscle. Be an ally. Intentionally put yourself in places in which you are not the majority.

How do you think the conversation is changing?
More people are curious about how to have the conversation. People are looking for the language, ways to persuade, and asking “where do I start?" Working with the question of how is much easier than the question of why.

What is your message to the universe?
Spend time as an ally in other communities. Spend time listening. It is not always possible to “walk in other’s shoes."  I really try to make time to do that when I need to know the basic issues for that community, so that I can speak to it. Creating opportunities to cross into other communities is really where the magic happens. It’s not only humbling, especially to people of privilege because of your color or gender or sexual orientation. It shows your solidarity but also gives you the language to advocate for that community.

As someone who personally reads a lot of this type of content, the title itself read not as a ”Call-to-Action” as much as a “Permission-to-Action” and that is  powerful. We can all call-to-action but when people don’t feel empowered they aren’t going to do anything about it. The title alone is a permission saying “you can do this," “you can participate.”

"You can read what others have said about the book. The thing that resonates was that you can participate. No matter who you are, no matter where you fall on the bands of your company’s structure you can participate. Beyond that we need you to participate, please do, jump in!"  - Jennifer Brown

To learn more about Jennifer Brown, her work and how you can get a conversation started. Pick up a copy of her book, Inclusion:Diversity, the New Workplace and the Will to Change.

Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion and Programming,

Organizational Development Consultant, 
Strategic Remedy Group

Strategic Remedy Group is a certified LGBTBE focused on cultivating collaborative communities to propel business success.