Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I’m Zahra Bahrololoumi, a managing director at Accenture. I recently took stepped into a new role leading our Technology business in the UK and Ireland. My background is in the oil & gas industry, growing our fuels retail business globally. I’m passionate about technology and the impact it is having on the way we work and live.
I also care about the diversity of our people. I believe that this is best achieved through opportunity and compassion—while keeping an eye on what the data is telling us is or isn’t working!
Outside of work, I’m focused on a never-ending building project on my home, and crave a life beyond suitcases and boxes!
How would you define your professional mission?
It’s very simple: to use technology to transform the way we work, live, and create exciting careers for our people.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
With clients: humility. They know their own business and are incredibly smart people. Also, creativity, curiosity and a willingness to adapt and learn. I try to have a mindset that welcomes change.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
It’s always a privilege to work with clients as they embark on exciting projects or journeys, and that is amplified when those are “firsts.” I have had the honor of working on the first digital video-on-demand implementation in the UK and the first digital imaging system that has the power to transform cancer diagnosis.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
When a client takes us on, especially if they’ve never worked with us before, they’re taking a risk by engaging us. I love it when that risk is rewarded and the project takes flight.
Another thing I find incredibly rewarding is and helping our people to identify strengths they didn’t realize they had. When that happens, their eyes seem brighter, they walk a little taller and incredible things happen. I absolutely love that moment.
Who are your role models?
First and foremost, my parents have been the ultimate role models for me: compassionate, focused, fun and encouraging.
Accenture is one of those workplaces where you are surrounded by talented, inspirational people. However, one of my most significant role models is a client. I worked for her 10 years ago when she was juggling a huge business transformation project. She held exceptionally high standards, and was both inclusive and passionately fair. She was nothing short of a class act. I’m lucky to still receive coaching and career support from her and I often ask myself, “What would she do?” when I face a challenging situation.
What is your morning ritual?
My morning ritual needs fixing. I typically wake early, around 5:00 a.m. I can’t help but check email (I need to change this habit!).
What happens next is very work-dependent. If it’s hectic, then it’s up, into work, a large coffee and a croissant. The office is quiet, and I have the first part of the day to get my head around what needs to be done!
When it’s less hectic, I try and take some exercise before having a more nutritious breakfast.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
I am a high energy individual and on a good day I can use this to galvanize and motivate others. But on a not-so-good day, I can overspend my energy and leave very little for home. I have to rein myself back and recognize that just because I can see 1000 things I could be doing, it doesn’t mean I should be doing them all!
What is the best career advice you ever received?
When I was starting out I was given a piece of advice: “Look after your clients first and good things will always follow; look after your people and they will look after you.” At the time, I notionally understood, but today, that advice rings louder than anything else for me. My most successful client outcomes are when I push myself and my team to walk in a client’s shoes. None of that success would be possible without the people around me.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
Ellevate is very much a “whole package.” From the supportive connections, to the learning and advice, to its diverse membership, it is a truly unique proposition.