Princess Bernard | Accenture

Born, raised and school educated within Brixton, South London, I was told that making it out of the 'hood' would be a near impossible task.

I was expected to live the life of poverty and low paid jobs, as per the stereotype of many kids from a single parent home, living on a gang affiliated council estate. Although at times we struggled with money and didn't have the generational wealth of knowledge my more privileged counterparts did, I was given the most love a child could ever ask for. This was enough to drive my determination and commitment to making my story a different one! I put all my power into getting the best grades I could, and my hard work paid off. I studied Accounting and Financial Management in Loughborough University, graduating with a 1st Class honors, and winning the The Accounting and Financial Management ICAEW Gold Prize for achieving the highest overall final year mark on the course.

I always had a passion for helping people, and from a young age was part of Lambeth Youth committees and boards working with my local council, and so I applied to Accenture for my industry placement, as consultancy would give me the ability to help people in the form of clients, with their Technology needs. This is where my technology journey began!

Fast forward eight and a half years, and I'm now an Enterprise Architecture Manager within Accenture's Technology Strategy and Advisory UK business. My role focuses on helping clients, primarily in the Communications, Media and Technology industry, define and optimise their IT strategy and Enterprise Architecture Roadmap to achieve high performance, agility and accelerated innovation. This could be from defining the strategy and roadmap to supporting them in developing and mobilizing their Enterprise Architecture function. I am the only black Enterprise Architect female, and although at times it comes with its challenges, I hold the position with pride. I am using my unique position to 1) drive a new Accenture offering within Architecture; advising technology leaders on how they can embed inclusion and diversity into their operating models and their Enterprise's Architecture to drive customer, employee and overall business value for their organisation 2) be a voice and role model within recruitment and junior engagement activities to change the narrative and drive up more diversity within Enterprise Architecture.

Outside of Accenture, I, along with a small team of gentlemen, built and run a youth orgnisation to mentor, educate and empower young people from less privileged backgrounds. I created a summer programme called Pattern Your Future which allows young people from low socio-economic backgrounds to experience careers and gain insights they would not otherwise have visibility of, due to social barriers such as gender, economic status, race, ethnicity etc. Technology has been the focal career in this programme – providing over 40 14-25 year old's with a free 2-week coding/AI course, a mini work experience with industry leaders in data and AI; WPP, and on-going mentoring carried out by myself. I have mentored a total of 52 young people with a passion for technology; supporting them in Uni applications and personal statements for Computer Science degrees, finding other internships and opportunities, CV guidance, and general well-being support as they transition into adults.