Gil Wootton (BS 1989), the managing partner of Accenture’s Seattle office, makes his living solving problems for client companies. But, in his keynote address to students during the Foster School’s Accenture Day, Wootton admitted to at least one challenge he has yet to fully conquer in his 27 years with the company.
“I have struggled my whole professional career to explain to my mother what we do,” he said. “And it’s only gotten more complicated.”
To simplify things, Wootton shared a video clip of a Jimmy Kimmel monologue from when Accenture was called in to fix the Affordable Care Act website—HealthCare.gov—after its failure to launch. Kimmel’s satirical alt-advertisement distilled the firm to its essence, capped by a memorable tagline laced with enough late-night vernacular as to be considered solidly NSFW: “Accenture: Getting S**t Unf***ed.”
Ice thoroughly broken with his young audience, Wootton got to the business of a more comprehensive accounting of Accenture’s diversity of services that work toward Kimmel’s basic conclusion—delivered in language suitable for anyone’s mother.
The company tour began with Accenture’s 401,000 employees—among them more than 150,000 women—operating out of 55 countries and in five different businesses: strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations.
“Innovation and intellectual curiosity are core to our DNA,” explained Wootton. “It’s what we look for in all of our people.”
He continued that Accenture serves clients in 40 industries, 120 countries—and in 39 languages. And it’s growing fast, with more than $3.3 billion in acquisitions over the past four years alone.
Accenture’s clients tend to be large public and private organizations, including 75 percent of the Fortune 500 and 94 of the Fortune 100. The firm has recently developed a fantasy football app for the NFL, a refugee biometric identity management system for the United Nations, a smartwatch for Adidas, a digital ad campaign for Procter & Gamble and a spare parts management system for Ducati.
The Seattle office—with its 1,900 employees—serves a who’s who of Northwest organizations, including Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, PACCAR, Nordstrom, Costco, Starbucks, Expeditors International, Alaska Air, Eddie Bauer, Expedia, Symetra, even the City of Seattle (for which Accenture has recently designed a plan for smart construction).
Wootton, a dedicated Husky with a degree in mechanical engineering, said that Accenture Day was special because the company has “such a special relationship with the UW and Foster.”
Accenture executives serve on nine advisory boards across campus (Wootton himself is on the boards of Foster’s Center for Sales and Marketing Strategy and the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering).
Many Accenture partners act as coaches and mentors, especially to students in Foster’s Consulting and Business Development Center.
The company has long supported the Center financially as well, and recently created the John A. Moga Endowment, named after the late Accenture partner and Foster alumnus, to support the essential Student Consulting Program that provides solutions to small businesses in underrepresented communities across the state.
And Wootton called out Liz Tinkham, an Accenture partner who lectures in the associated consulting course, and Kate Jung, named the inaugural Accenture Student Consultant of the Year.
All of these touchpoints at the UW and Foster School in particular, he explained, are really a kind of long-term investment. After all, Accenture employs more graduates of the UW than any other American university. Last year, that translated into 33 fulltime Husky hires and nine interns.
These hires, he added, support the worldwide campaign for diversity at Accenture, which values inclusion alongside innovation: “Not only do we have a lot of rooms in our house, but we’re dedicated to filling them with all kinds of people.”
“Accenture is a great place to work, where people want to stay and grow into their careers,” Wootton concluded. “That’s evident in our leadership, which we are able to continually replenish from our massive bench of talent. Frankly, when we hire new people, we want them to aspire to be a managing director and build a career here.”