Julie Sweet is one of the most powerful women in corporate America, yet few people outside the business community know her name.
As the chief executive for North America at Accenture, a consulting firm with 469,000 employees, Ms. Sweet runs a business with annual revenue of .8 billion. Her clients include Marriott, Halliburton and the Golden State Warriors.
Yet Ms. Sweet has rarely been content with the status quo. As a young lawyer, she learned firsthand what it was like to be one of the few women at a top-tier law firm. At Accenture, she has made promoting women a top priority, setting aggressive targets for gender parity across the company and pushing to move more women into the executive ranks.
Last year, Ms. Sweet participated in the New Rules Summit, a conference hosted by The New York Times. There, I interviewed her onstage about effective ways to level the playing field for women. Later in the day, we hosted a working group with conference attendees about how to create an inclusive workplace culture. Throughout, Ms. Sweet was frank in diagnosing the challenges that professional women face, and refreshingly pragmatic.
This interview, which was edited and condensed for clarity, was conducted at Accenture’s offices in New York City.
What was your childhood like?
I grew up in Orange County, Calif., in a little town called Tustin. There’s a sign that says, “Work where you must, but live and shop in Tustin.” My dad painted cars for a living. He didn’t graduate from high school. My mom was a beautician in her early days, and then my parents decided that one of them needed to go to school in order to build the future. So my mom started going to college when I was in eighth grade, and she graduated when I was a freshman in college.
What was your first job?
I worked starting when I was 14. I was the reservationist at the Elizabeth Howard dinner theater. They had never hired someone in high school, let alone a 14-year-old. But Elizabeth was so impressed that I was this young woman coming in looking for a job, she hired me and gave me a chance.
This was during the Reagan recession. My parents were struggling financially, and when I was in seventh grade I was growing so fast they could only buy one pair of pants at a time, because they kept having to replace them. By the time I got to high school, if I could work, then I could buy my own clothes.
Did you work during college too?
The summer after my freshman year I took a job at this company called Phone Buy. I was the assistant to the president, and he told me to hire a receptionist. I did all the interviews and hired this woman, and she was not very good. After two weeks, she just didn’t show up, and 0 was missing from my wallet. I remember the president said to me, “Julie, I know that 0 is a lot of money for you, but I’m not going to repay you. You were in charge. You interviewed her. You hired her. She was a bad hire. And you need to remember that.”
Why did you go to law school?
I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer in eighth grade. I had no lawyers in my family, obviously. When I was a senior in college, one of my professors said to me, “Julie, have you ever met a lawyer?” I said, “No.” He said, “Before you sign the papers to incur a lot of debt, I’d at least like to know that you’ve met a lawyer.” So he set me up with an informational interview. And then I went to Columbia Law School, and then straight from Columbia to Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Cravath is a famously old-school firm. How did you find the culture?
When I came back from the interview at Cravath, all the women said, “What are you doing?” Cravath at the time had two women partners, and its history goes back to 1841. Ultimately, I was the ninth woman partner, the third in the corporate department. But for me it was, “O.K., fine. There’s no women there, but it’s the best firm, and I’m going to go.”
In 1999, I was two weeks away from the meeting where I was elected partner, and we had our first unconscious-bias training. I was one of only a couple of women in the room and the most senior one. The facilitator, a woman, was going through all these different scenarios, and she turned to me and she said, “Julie, you’re a senior woman here. Have you had any of these experiences?” To this day, I remember I went to speak, and I started sobbing. I could not speak. I couldn’t compose myself, and I left. I went back to my office.
Were you concerned about crying in front of your colleagues?
No. I was going to be a partner. It was one of those things that you wouldn’t choose to have done in front of your colleagues. And there wasn’t some big scandal. But it made me think about all the things that I’d gone through, that you just dealt with. Once I became a partner at Cravath, I helped start the first women’s program at the firm. Now Cravath has 25 percent women partners, which is just extraordinary.
Many lawyers never leave Cravath, but you moved on after 17 years. Why?
I was sitting at my desk and I picked up the phone because my assistant had stepped away, and it was a recruiter I knew through social circles. She said, “I know you don’t want to leave Cravath. I know no one ever leaves there. But I have this great opportunity.”
My dad had died that summer, and I always look back and wonder: Why did I take the call? Why did I take the meeting? I had two small kids. I was very successful. I could see my future. So I took a meeting with Accenture. I went as general counsel, and five years later I became C.E.O. for North America.
Tell me more about feeling like you could see the future.
It’s about not wanting to be complacent, and wanting to continue to be challenged and learn. It’s this idea of if you can see your future, then you probably are not challenging yourself enough. I have this little plaque that my husband hung on our wall at home. It says, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”
How was Accenture different than Cravath?
My legal department was as big as Cravath. And I remember I had been there 90 days and they said, “Oh, we want to give you this department.” It was a thousand people, and I was like, “No.” But you weren’t supposed to say no. I had 500 people and now I was going to get 1,000. Around here, “people” is like currency. That was the mentality. It was all about how many people you control.
How is the way Accenture works with clients changing these days?
We used to be the safe pair of hands who delivered big projects, but we were not the ones saying, “Here’s where you go next.” Now, we are the ones going to clients and saying, “The world’s being disrupted around you. We’re going to co-innovate with you. And by the way, when you come up with the solutions, we’re going to be able to deliver them because we understand the enterprise and scale.” We’ve built a network of innovation hubs. They’re everywhere from Columbus to New York to San Francisco.
You’re working hard at leveling the playing field for women in the workplace. What tactics have you found to be most effective?
I don’t think it’s rocket science. You first have to decide if diversity is a business priority. If it is, then you need to treat it like a business priority. You set goals, have accountable leaders, you measure progress, and you have an action plan. If you do those four things, you will make progress. We did a recent study and the stats were pretty shocking. Forty percent of companies don’t even have a plan to advance leadership. Less than 40 percent look at attrition between men and women. They’re not collecting data. You can look at that with disappointment, or you can say there’s a huge opportunity here. By putting in place pretty basic things, you should be able to make progress.
How are you approaching this at Accenture?
At Accenture, we set goals. We set our first goal in 2015 to hire 40 percent women. In 2025, our goal is to be at 50/50 gender parity across the organization and then, for the managing director level, it’s 25 percent women. That’s a pretty big shift in 10 years.
You didn’t hire well when you were in college. How do you hire now?
I have become a student of how to hire. Today there are two main characteristics that we look for with people coming in. The first is curiosity. The new normal is continuous learning, and we look for people who demonstrate lots of different interests and really demonstrate curiosity.
The second piece is leadership. I don’t care what level you are, there is the need to offer straight talk when you’re working with clients. You have to have the courage to deliver tough messages. We’re living in a world where clients constantly are saying to me, “The most important thing you can do is to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.”B:
复式二中二中奖怎么算“【国】【防】【军】？【专】【门】【的】【破】【壁】【者】【部】【队】？”【夏】【北】【问】【道】。 【虞】【娜】【点】【了】【点】【头】。 【夏】【北】【摇】【摇】【头】，【就】【和】【当】【初】【拒】【绝】【祁】【峰】【一】【样】，【干】【净】【利】【落】【地】【拒】【绝】【道】：“【如】【果】【换】【做】【别】【的】【什】【么】【机】【构】，【我】【说】【不】【定】【就】【跟】【你】【去】【了】。【可】【偏】【偏】，【你】【说】【是】【军】【方】……【抱】【歉】，【我】【没】【兴】【趣】。” “【你】【跟】【军】【队】【有】【仇】？”【虞】【娜】【眼】【睛】【眯】【了】【起】【来】，【寒】【光】【一】【闪】。 “【算】【不】【上】【有】【仇】，”【夏】【北】【垂】
【过】【了】【一】【会】【儿】【两】【个】【人】【相】【觑】【而】【笑】。 【叶】【诗】【瑶】【担】【心】【的】【看】【着】【温】【婼】，【但】【是】【现】【在】【自】【己】【可】【以】【说】【什】【么】【都】【不】【知】【道】，【自】【己】【也】【不】【能】【问】【什】【么】，【最】【后】【只】【能】【陪】【着】【她】【坐】【在】【那】【里】。 【过】【了】【十】【多】【分】【钟】，【温】【婼】【想】【了】【很】【久】，【淡】【淡】【地】【说】【了】【一】【句】：“【瑶】【瑶】，【我】【准】【备】【七】【夕】【的】【时】【候】【就】【要】【举】【行】【婚】【礼】【了】，【你】【会】【来】【的】【是】【不】【是】？” 【叶】【诗】【瑶】【惊】【讶】【的】【看】【着】【温】【婼】，【你】【确】【定】【你】【现】【在】【是】【正】
“【你】【既】【然】【知】【道】【为】【什】【么】【还】【喊】【我】【来】？”【唐】【鑫】【可】【不】【信】【于】【红】【是】【大】【发】【慈】【悲】。 【于】【红】【端】【起】【咖】【啡】【喝】【了】【一】【口】，“【因】【为】【我】【一】【个】【人】【肯】【定】【不】【是】【池】【莹】【莹】【的】【对】【手】。【我】【知】【道】【你】【的】【心】【思】，【无】【非】【就】【是】【想】【嫁】【入】【豪】【门】，【今】【晚】【是】【个】【大】【好】【时】【机】，【你】【我】【联】【手】，【肯】【定】【手】【到】【擒】【来】。” 【唐】【鑫】【想】【了】【一】【会】，“【好】，【你】【说】，【该】【怎】【么】【做】？” 【于】【红】【勾】【了】【勾】【嘴】【角】，【凑】【上】【前】【去】，【耳】【语】复式二中二中奖怎么算【夜】【溪】【不】【耐】：“【变】【回】【去】。【你】【丫】【的】【当】【我】【看】【不】【出】【你】【幻】【的】【形】【根】【本】【不】【是】【这】【个】【呢】。【快】【点】【儿】，【别】【让】【我】【动】【手】。” 【唰】——【众】【人】【全】【看】【向】【小】【莲】【花】。 【隐】【藏】【得】【够】【深】【啊】【老】【头】【儿】。 【便】【是】【靇】【煌】【几】【个】【也】【是】【吃】【惊】，【这】【竟】【不】【是】【他】【真】【正】【的】【样】【子】，【呔】，【奸】【猾】【的】【老】【东】【西】！ 【老】【头】【儿】【苦】【了】【脸】，【他】【没】【怼】【回】【去】【的】【本】【事】【和】【勇】【气】，【只】【得】【众】【目】【睽】【睽】【之】【下】【一】【点】【一】【点】【变】【了】【模】【样】
【而】【那】【边】【魏】【香】【丘】【则】【是】【把】【视】【线】【却】【是】【转】【向】【了】【掠】【影】【越】【天】【舰】，【她】【朝】【着】【柳】【空】【涯】【问】【道】：“【少】【执】【掌】，【你】【怎】【么】【不】【介】【绍】【一】【下】【这】【两】【位】【天】【虹】【山】【来】【的】【道】【友】？” 【柳】【空】【涯】【赶】【紧】【介】【绍】【说】【道】：“【这】【位】【是】【我】【庄】【梦】【蝶】【姐】【姐】，【平】【时】【特】【别】【疼】【我】，【还】【有】……” 【魏】【香】【丘】【当】【即】【笑】【了】【起】【来】：“【还】【有】【一】【位】【是】【江】【雁】【筠】【道】【友】，【是】【你】【师】【傅】【的】【好】【朋】【友】，【我】【跟】【她】【见】【过】【几】【面】，【没】【想】【到】【你】【们】
【众】【人】【闻】【声】【皆】【朝】【着】【说】【话】【之】【人】【瞧】【了】【过】【去】。 【吴】【氏】【脸】【色】【先】【是】【一】【变】，【待】【回】【过】【头】【瞧】【见】【开】【口】【之】【人】，【却】【又】【换】【了】【一】【副】【笑】【脸】，【满】【面】【热】【切】【的】【迎】【上】【去】【道】：“【郭】【家】【姊】【姊】，【你】【怎】【的】【到】【这】【儿】【来】【了】？【今】【朝】【你】【可】【不】【该】【来】【后】【头】，【你】【要】【在】【前】【头】【吃】【酒】【呢】！” 【来】【的】【人】【不】【是】【旁】【人】，【正】【是】“【包】【生】【男】【儿】”【的】【郭】【媒】【婆】。 【郭】【媒】【婆】【虽】【是】【女】【子】，【可】【这】【桩】【姻】【缘】【全】【靠】【她】【一】【手】【牵】【起】
【这】【一】【次】，【玉】【帝】【和】【曹】【匪】【又】【像】【平】【常】【一】【样】“【杯】【酒】【话】【桑】【麻】”，【只】【是】【这】【一】【次】【玉】【帝】【似】【乎】【特】【别】【高】【兴】，【酒】【也】【饮】【得】【多】【了】【一】【些】，【最】【后】【竟】【倚】【着】【曹】【匪】【睡】【着】【了】。 【只】【要】【曹】【匪】【身】【子】【动】【一】【动】，【喝】【醉】【的】【玉】【帝】【就】【眉】【头】【紧】【皱】【地】【把】【曹】【匪】【抱】【得】【更】【紧】【一】【些】。【看】【得】【出】【来】【玉】【帝】【其】【实】【是】【一】【个】【非】【常】【缺】【乏】【安】【全】【感】【的】【人】。【曹】【匪】【索】【性】【就】【任】【由】【他】【靠】【着】【自】【己】【直】【到】【天】【亮】。 【门】【外】【是】【文】【官】【催】【促】