Christy Sovereign, managing director of Accenture’s Minneapolis office and a working mother for more than half her career there, has been recognized as a 2018 Working Mother of the Year in Working Mother magazine.

Sovereign had fewer senior-level working mothers to look up to and bathrooms doubled as mothers’ rooms when she gave birth to her son 17 years ago.

But the professional services consulting firm since has created employee resource groups and developed career counseling and networking opportunities among other changes, said Sovereign, who joined Accenture in 1989.

“The journey that our company has been on over the last three decades has been quite incredible in terms of a very intentional cultural pivot to embrace this integration of work and family and make it a great place to work for parents, not just mothers,” Sovereign said.

Sovereign is leading Accenture’s Minneapolis office in a push to expand its workforce by 400 jobs by the end of 2020. Accenture has more than 1,600 employees at its downtown headquarters.

Clients include Cargill and Xcel Energy. “We continue to be really happy with the profile of skills that we’re finding in this market,” Sovereign said of the hiring effort.

Q: How has your career evolved at Accenture?

A: I came up though the ranks working on multiple transformation programs for clients all across North America. Typically my role was having one foot in business and one foot in technology.

The last 15 years I’ve held multiple leadership roles, running some of Accenture’s largest and most strategic accounts — we call them our “diamonds” — or running different segments of Accenture’s business.

Q: How did you balance parenthood and work?

A: I had the fortune to be at a company and in an environment that wanted it to work for working mothers but may have not yet had at that earlier time all the things in place to make it easier as it is today.

I raised my hand or used my voice to articulate what I needed. I “leaned in” when different opportunities presented themselves and had the compunction to figure it out. Thankfully it worked.

Q: What is your advice to working mothers today?

A: I wish more women leaned in but also, I wish more women didn’t opt out. Throughout my career, I saw women not take a big project or sign up for a big initiative before a big life change — be it getting married or even before they were planning on having a family.

This was mainly due to a potential fear of not being able to balance it all or worrying the company wouldn’t help them balance. So, instead of just “leaning in,” my advice to other working women or moms is to not opt out.

 

Todd Nelson