As far as the latter categories go, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with greater insight than Laetitia Cailleteau, the data, and AI lead for Europe, and the global conversational AI domain head at Accenture.

Accenture’s purpose is to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity, and for the last 23 years, Cailleteau has played an increasingly important role in that mission. Here, we speak to her about the five key takeaways she’s learned in her long and varied career.

SEEK OUT MENTORS — AND ACTIVELY LEARN FROM THEM

It’s no secret that mentorship is a game-changer for career development. “I’ve had some wonderful women that have helped me in my career,” Cailleteau says. “They opened the door and invited me to sit at the table, which is so important if you want to feel confident at work.” Now, Cailleteau takes the time to mentor other young women in the business to keep the cycle going. She recommends seeking out senior team members you admire to ask them for advice, but also being receptive when senior team members show an interest in your career development. “Mentorship can be a two-way street,” she says.

TAKE YOUR TIME WHEN RESPONDING TO CHALLENGES — AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

“There’s no day that goes by without its challenges,” says Cailleteau. She recommends approaching difficult decisions and unexpected challenges by slowing down and not reacting immediately. “I try to take a step back and not jump to conclusions before making important decisions,” she says. “If the situation allows, I try to consult with a few trusted people, so I know I’m not looking at a situation from a single lens.”

CARVE OUT TIME FOR YOURSELF AT HOME

As the mother of three children aged 15, 13, and 11, the balance between home and work life is, as Laetitia puts it, “a constant juggle”.

“When your kids are smaller their needs are more physical — give them food, put them to bed — but as they get older their needs are more emotional, and it’s important to be able to adjust to what they need.” The key, says Laetitia, is time management, but that also includes carving out time for yourself.

“Your time is so precious, and learning how to value your time and think about how you spend it is super important,” she says. “I know a number of women who don’t think about that, and they end up always thinking about themselves last.”

Taking time to prioritize yourself — though it can sometimes feel counterintuitive — is essential if you want to keep home and work life harmonious, even if it’s just a small activity you do every day. For Laetitia, that’s swimming. “It can seem like a silly, small thing, but I just need that time to myself,” she says. “I find that if I miss those swims, I’m not as productive and don’t have as much energy, which means I’m not available for my children at home, and I’m not as productive at work.”

CHAMPION CAUSES THAT MATTER TO YOU

“As a mother of three, it’s impossible not to feel the responsibility in regards to climate change,” says Cailleteau. “In my opinion, the pendulum of globalization has gone too far over the past 10 years and people have become too obsessed with profit margins, but now we are also considering how important it is to run a responsible and sustainable business.” At Accenture, sustainability is the new digital – it’s part of everything they do. The business has a sustainability goal of net zero emissions by 2025, and helps clients – and the communities that they serve – to achieve the same aim.

CHOOSE A COMPANY THAT SUPPORTS INCLUSIVITY

Growing up with a single mum in a small French village, Cailleteau could never have imagined what her career had in store for her. Having the opportunity to move into new roles and take on new responsibilities was largely due to the fact that she worked at a company that was invested in her potential.

Accenture places diversity and inclusivity at the center of its values and prides itself on building teams from a variety of backgrounds – their ‘A to Z people of change stories’ reflect this global collective.

NEVER STOP LEARNING

As a person whose job requires them to stay on top of ever-evolving technologies, including the cutting-edge world of AI, Cailleteau is constantly up-skilling and understanding new and complex concepts. She believes curiosity is essential if you’re working in technology. “If you’re not curious, if you don’t have that keenness to always improve your knowledge, if you’re not excited by the technology, it can become quite hard to keep up with the pace,” she says. If you have this same drive for innovation, Cailleteau says a career in tech is unparalleled. “For me, knowing that I’m creating a whole new world – a world that I get to take part in the building – gives me so much energy and purpose.”

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