Handshake Honor Roll: Announcing February 2022 Winner

Celebrating the people who open doors & make careers happen for early talent.

We’re thrilled to announce our February 2022 Handshake Honor Roll Winner: 

🌟Caroline Dudley, Managing Director at Accenture🌟

We caught up with Caroline to learn more about her role at Accenture leading their North America Recruiting program – a position, as she shares below, has been a highlight in her career. Plus, hear more from Caroline on her journey to Accenture, insights and passions around effectively widening talent pools and creating more opportunities, and advice for today’s job seekers. 

Read on for her full interview: 

What was your first job outside of college and how’d you find it? 

While my first corporate job out of college was Accenture (at the time, Andersen Consulting, found through beloved campus recruiters), my true first job after college was working for Beaver Creek ski resort on the Mountain Information team. To this day, the customer experience focus of Beaver Creek remains one of my favorite examples.

Why are you passionate about recruiting early talent or increasing DEI? 

While talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not, and talent has become a top CEO imperative. Jobs are going unfilled, retention is lagging, and retirement volume is increasing. 

With all these forces at play, we are at an inflection point, and I believe that talent leaders are in a unique position to open up more opportunity for more people, with a responsibility to create additional paths for those who traditionally may not have had access.  

I believe there are two immediate actions to take to address this: 

First, we need to be creators of talent and not just consumers of talent. This increases opportunity, widens the available talent pool and addresses the employee experience aspiration of learning and a growth in careers. 

Second, we need to address the paths where we are connecting talent to our opportunities. While historically, it may have been enough for early talent to be hired solely from on-campus recruiting, we are seeing students looking for other meaningful ways to connect to their future careers to ensure it matches their authentic values, aspirations, and career potential. As leaders of talent, we need to build an ecosystem of talent partners including professional and diversity organizations, skilling bootcamp programs, skill-based non-profits and digital recruiting partners. These are all important to build, with local relevance to uncover talent that might have been overlooked with traditional methods.

How did you land in your current role? What’s your favorite part of the job? 

I have spent most of my career serving our clients as a Client Account Lead and practice leader. As part of that role, I served as leader of our North America Consulting Development Program which develops and advances our entry level analysts and senior analysts. One of my favorite outcomes was building a North America Analyst Experience, which built a cohesive connection from a candidate’s recruiting experience through joining, learning and career progression. 

So, when our forward-thinking leaders had the aspiration to re-imagine the way we think about our own talent and recruiting for the future, they asked me to bring the combination of my client and talent experience to this leadership role. It has absolutely been one of my favorite career experiences leading Accenture North America Recruiting and my favorite part, hands-down, is the incredible people I have the privilege of working with every day. From the candidates we guide as they are determining the right career path, to the Accenture teams and ecosystem partners we are co-innovating with every day – knowing that this will have an exponential impact on our clients, communities and shaping of the future is incredibly fulfilling. 

What are some accomplishments you’re particularly proud of this year?

In addition to providing Accenture careers to more people this year than ever in our history, I am extremely proud of the team for building strength in our non-traditional paths to employment. 

We announced in January that we are expanding our apprenticeship program in the United States to give more people access to digital economy jobs and further advance our equitable approach to hiring, which focuses on skills, experiences and potential. We have set a goal to fill 20% of our entry-level roles from our apprenticeship program for our fiscal year 2022, ending Aug. 31 – an increase from 15% in the prior fiscal year. Accenture apprenticeships are based on a learn-and-earn model; our apprentices receive paid training as they prepare for roles in areas including application development, cybersecurity, data engineering, cloud, and platform engineering.

In addition, we were able to identify talent from a broad reach of universities, community colleges, skilling programs, and partnerships and I’m exceptionally proud of the focus our teams have had to widen our talent pools.

Who are your heroes?

I have been privileged to always have my parents as a source of inspiration for me. They have been models of how to live a life in service to others and the greater community. In addition, they are definitely the source of my enthusiasm for having a growth mindset. They always framed obstacles as opportunities and celebrated opportunities to grow and learn. I have seen these traits as a ‘superpower’ advantage in my career, especially during these recent times of disruption and rapid change.

What advice would you offer to today’s jobseekers?

Today’s job market is one with infinite opportunities. Rather than blindly applying to the thousands of open jobs, really take time to explore your strengths and learn more about the companies you are most interested in. Have a conversation with current employees or research public examples of the work a company does, which will help you understand if the type of work, the culture and values of a company matches your strengths. 

And it’s ok to ask for a (virtual) coffee chat with a recruiter to help ensure the roles you are thinking about are a good fit for your strengths and skills. You will find many people excited to help you discover your best path!