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Building a Northern Digital Presence

Category: testimonial, Accenture, Channel 4, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, leeds

Testimonial.

Leeds is fast becoming recognized as a vibrant hub for those in the digital and creative sectors. According to Tech Nation, investment from tech businesses exceeded £100 million in 2018. Thanks to this, Leeds is becoming a sheer powerhouse, attracting talent and further investment in tech.

Areas such as Southbank are more than a match for London in terms of vibrancy, with the City Council having implemented a regeneration plan that is one of the biggest in Europe. This plan is set to transform Leeds into the ultimate destination for creativity, culture, leisure and learning.

Molly Roper has recently joined Accenture and is supporting a large media powerhouse in building their Norther digital presence.

For Molly, the career move was a no brainer. Steering away from the bright lights and traditional inner-city opportunities of London, she headed to the buzz and business dynamic of Leeds. We spoke to Molly about her new role with Accenture.

What attracted you first, Accenture or Leeds?

“I would have to go with Accenture, in terms of providing the perfect role for me to challenge myself. But Leeds was the icing on the cake. I graduated in Manchester and had been living there. In the past, it was always believed you would have to move “down south” to get the big breaks, but there is a new excitement about the area here. Up North is where brilliant ideas are breaking and talent is being given the space to excel.”

You call yourself a “scrum master”. We did a bit of digging and found that this didn’t mean you were a Rhino’s fan. Can you explain, for those who may not know, what that means?

“Scrum is an Agile project management term. A forward thinking framework that is entirely collaborative between a project team and the customer. Scrum is an approach to delivering a project or product in incremental steps, using frequent feedback and team oriented decision making. My role is to ensure that happens, that we plan each step together and that the entire team contribute and exchange ideas throughout the process.”

So, as scrum master, you lead a team but do they essentially organise themselves?

“Agile is a ground breaking project management method, which is generating some of the most successful product developments seen today. It is based on the idea of a rugby team, where a scrum form a circle to keep control of the ball and maintain attacking play.

“In project management terms, scrum is the framework which the team work within to enable them to deliver each task. Everyone knows what has to be achieved but they are free to create the best possible outcomes along the way.

It is a very exciting way to lead a team. I see that exchange of ideas, while making sure that we are constantly moving forward.”

You wouldn’t call yourself a manager then?

“The term does not fit what Agile provides as a process. I am there to keep the team motivated and help remove any blocks on their progress. I also communicate our progress externally.  

“The exciting difference to traditional management is that I am reviewing continually and always working with the team to build on each successful step.”

What if someone suddenly has a new idea for the project or has a problem with something?

“That is exciting and a real positive of what I get to do. Anybody can bring an idea to the table. And if somebody in the team thinks there is a problem, they can immediately raise that point for discussion. It is not seen as a negative, just a potential for improvement.”

Would you consider Accenture to be a supportive creative space? Even in its more corporate decision making?

“Indeed. It’s hard to describe the liberating process that you connect with at Accenture. Despite being a global business, with half a million or more employees worldwide, the organisation cultivates local environments and is entirely focused on individuality.”

Can you explain what you mean by individuality?

“People are not stereotyped by traditional office culture. I have seen someone come along in a suit to an open evening, for example, and expect to have a very rigid and standard business environment. They can be really surprised when they see how relaxed and informal everything is. At the same time, it is professional to the core.

“With Accenture you can be yourself, with no concerns about judgment.”

How is it going so far?

“Well, when I was brought in, I had no team as Leeds is a complete start up, so I was able to work with on-boarding. Not only identifying and introducing our own new joiner talent to what we wanted to achieve, but also working with the client to help deliver their own recruitment and on-boarding needs.

“It is a very close knit partnership and we fully immerse ourselves in client culture and merge our strengths, rather than micro manage. That is really exciting and it builds a unique trust too.”

Were people surprised at the work environment in Leeds?

“I think so, and I think they will continue to be surprised and it will become a go to place for tech talent. In the same way that the city will draw in those young aspirational creatives.

“The businesses and Leeds itself are on a very exciting journey. I am really happy to see this regeneration and the huge business opportunities being attracted by it, which of course means I am able to stay in the North with family and friends but still look at career progression here.”

So you won’t need to move away to move upwards?

“Exactly. Accenture is a very empowering business. They want people to have responsibility and they enable you to boost your skills.

“I can look ahead at training options and ways to develop my role. This is not a company where you are pigeonholed, they want everyone to excel.”

Would you recommend Accenture to young people like yourself who may have thought London was the real creative, digital centre?

“Absolutely, being part of Accenture means you have unimaginable career potential and you can drive your own destiny.

“The business has a real focus on young talent and is reaching out to local groups and colleges. Students will have the chance to take up apprenticeships that they may never have been able to consider before.

“Everyone has a career advisor who meets with them regularly to help with performance and make sure they are realizing their ambitions.

Is Leeds is fast becoming the new place to be?

“Yes indeed. There is a big thing about social mobility and people being able to move up in the world. This had generally meant going to London and working slowly up, but Leeds is an emerging city and it feels like a new place entirely.

“This is a very exciting evolution and businesses like Accenture focus on, and fast track, ambitions, very quickly opening doors to a way of work and life that brings out the best in everyone. Leeds, combined with Accenture, is very definitely leading the way!”

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