Tyrone Taborn, the founder of the Women of Color STEM Conference, hosted Morgan State alumna Cheryl Moo-Young. She joined Accenture Plc in 2000, soon after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering.
Thursday’s conversation centered on building trust and managing teams in a male-dominated technology workforce. According to the webinar’s co- presenter Imani Carter, a recent study showed that out of 45 companies, the United States ranked in the bottom 10 for the percentage of women in senior management positions-with women occupying only 22 percent of senior roles.
Women of Color Special Recognition honoree Cheryl Moo-Young noted that a lot of companies have problems retaining senior level women. One reason might be that senior positions require a lot of traveling and women have to figure out how to balance work, travel and family life, she observed.
A senior manager at Accenture, which provides consulting, technology and outsourcing services, Moo Young is one of company management who travel to offices and operations in more than 200 cities in 56 countries.
“At the senior level, you really have to have ‘staff for your life’ and ‘staff for your job/career’ and figure how to make all these components work,” Moo-Young advised.
Under Moo-Young’s direction, a customized customer relationship management interface, multiple service centers, and a printing facility that can process millions of pieces of inbound and outbound mail were planned and launched in eighteen months-a significant accomplishment because the implementation of this scale traditionally requires a longer timeframe.
“When you look at the diversity of our workforce, you really have to get people to buy into your vision, see what it is that you’re delivering,” she said. “Most of the time, people always have the same end goals, it’s just how do we get there?
“Managing large groups of people is an art; not a science. I can’t tell you ‘here are the steps’ and you’re going to be able to follow that and manage a team well,” Moo-Young said.
A key emphasis is people skills and having a diverse group on a team is just as important.
“As a leader, you want to feel that you’re the Michael Jordan of any team,” she said. The leader doesn’t have to know everything but has to know enough to make really good decisions. Being an engineer you go out and solve problems but I look for people to supplement my weaknesses-those who are detail oriented, and for self-starters. A diverse team with many different types of people and resources for the specific role,” she said.