2018 Catalyst Canada Honours Business Leader Champion
Managing Director, Health & Public Service and Inclusion & Diversity Lead, Accenture
Claudia Thompson is a passionate advocate for a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion because she believes it’s a business imperative for growth. This is reflected in one of Accenture’s core values: respect for the individual.
Claudia is an action-oriented leader. She has introduced several initiatives to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace at Accenture. One of these was the first voluntary employee census, launched in 2016, which led to a better understanding of the composition of Accenture’s Canadian workforce. The results have informed the firm’s Inclusion & Diversity strategy, plans, and priorities.
Using the information gathered through the census, Accenture Canada introduced new cross-cultural and interfaith Employee Resource Groups and the Canadian Diversity Council (CDC). Claudia co-chairs the council with Bill Morris, Canada President and Senior Managing Director of Accenture; other members of the council include senior leaders from across Canada who drive diversity and inclusion in their businesses.
Thanks to Claudia’s vision, the CDC has been the primary driver of two strategic commitments that will move Accenture Canada towards its goal of being Canada’s most diverse and inclusive employer:
- Building a diverse leadership team and client teams that better reflect the diversity of its workforce with respect to gender, ethnicity, aboriginal status, sexual orientation, and persons with disabilities.
- Achieving and sustaining overall gender parity—with a minimum of 40% women in leadership—by 2025 by attracting, hiring, retaining, and promoting women and men at an equal rate.
How She Made Change
Claudia received buy-in from her leadership peers for the CDC’s vision, and ever since, the council has been driving culture change across the business at Accenture. Leaders are now accountable for achieving a gender-mix target, a recruiting-mix target, and other targets for their parts of the business. They have each created an action plan to address challenges and opportunities, and regularly communicate what they have learned.
Claudia also promotes a mentoring culture, creating an environment in which it is natural to identify emerging leaders who need sponsorship. She has created training and educational opportunities designed specifically for women; as an instructor, she encourages other women by sharing her own career journey and lessons learned. Claudia takes every opportunity to coach, mentor, and sponsor women at Accenture, and many women have advanced their careers as a result of her efforts.
Inclusive Leadership: Empowerment, Accountability, Courage, and Humility
Claudia gained senior leadership support for the diversity and inclusion agenda. Accenture’s leadership team is committed and accountable for taking action to achieve organizational diversity and inclusion goals. Claudia also holds herself accountable for the diversity of her direct team, which has exceeded the established targets for the gender and recruiting mix so far this year.
In her more than 27 years at Accenture, Claudia has been a role model, inspiring women along the way and empowering them on their journey towards achieving their career goals. Claudia has been awarded many accolades for being an inclusive leader, including the 2016 WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award. She is also actively involved in her community as a founding member with a grassroots charitable organization called SPARK, which brings together a group of like-minded women in Ottawa to personally and directly influence, shape, and improve neighborhoods in need. The charity has raised and donated more than $100,000 in 28 resident-led initiatives.
About Claudia Thompson
Claudia is the Managing Director of the Health and Public Service business and leads Inclusion & Diversity for Accenture Canada. She sets a vision and executes the strategy to bring Accenture Canada the talent it needs to fulfill its business plan.
With more than 27 years of experience in the consulting industry, Claudia is a member of Accenture’s Canadian Leadership Team and is accountable for the company’s go-to-market strategy within the public service industry as well as its top-line results. She is an active member of the Information Technology Association of Canada National Board of Directors, and the C.D. Howe Human Capital Policy Council, as well as a former member of the Canadian Board Diversity Council Advisory Board. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business and commerce from Queen’s University.