The Capgemini Talent Acquisition Team Presents: Tony Brown, Vice President
Posted By: HBCU CONNECT on March 31, 2021 |
Throughout our history and especially today, Capgemini aspires to be an inclusive and diverse workplace, where freedom of ideas and a culture based on equality have been paramount. To celebrate this culture, we are proud to bring you up-close-and-personal stories from some of our most successful leaders. In these Q&As, they share lessons learned, advice on how to overcome challenges, and why it’s important to find an employer that celebrates our differences.
Tony Brown is a delivery executive in our Energy, Utilities, and Chemicals (EUC) business unit. In this Q&A, Tony offers his insights into his career journey and what he has learned along the way.
Q: What is your role with Capgemini?
Tony Brown (TB): I am currently a delivery executive on Entergy, which is one of our top accounts in North America. We worked for more than three years to secure them as a long-term contract. In my role, I work with the team to make sure that we are 1) delivering the services that we agreed to provide in the contract and 2) to creating fruitful and productive relationships with our customer that allow us to grow our business.
Q: What inspired you to get into consulting?
TB: I've always liked to be in a comfortably uncomfortable situation. What that means to me is, being faced with a problem that either hasn't been solved before or is super challenging and you're not sure if you can get it done. Knowing that I would have a career that presented me with challenges every day, with a support system, was exciting for me.
Q: Who has inspired you in your career and how?
TB: Dru Hawkins is a Vice President with Sogeti. He was my first people manager. I was a campus hire, and hadn't worked in a professional business environment before. Having a good mentor and a good coach is important. Someone that could really tell you when you're doing the right thing or provide you guidance in a way that you needed to hear it, and that's what Dru was to me. As I progressed in my career another person that provided inspiration is Scott Henkel. I can attribute Scott Henkel for really putting that drive into me for delivery excellence and focusing on outcomes. Dru and Scott are the two most influential people in my career.
Q: How has Capgemini supported you in your career?
TB: I have had tremendous support from Capgemini. I am a delivery executive now, but I've been a business analyst, a project manager, and a test manager. I've had opportunities from a career and structure standpoint to do almost anything that I wanted to do. Capgemini is a place in which you can define your career path. If you are willing to stand up for yourself and ask for what you want, you will get it. It's truly a company and a culture that's based upon the talent of the individuals. If you're good then you will be recognized, you will be promoted, and you will advance in your career. There are so many people within the company that are interested in helping you grow and helping you develop. I think it's like no other place that you can work. I just can't see myself, at this point, working anywhere else, Capgemini is family to me.
Q: What advice would you give the next generation of consultants?
TB: This is my ground rule, I never say no to an opportunity; don’t evaluate them at face value. You should look at them for what they can be and what you can make them. I can't think of a time in my career where someone has asked me to do something and I said, "No, I won't do that because it does not fit within my career goals." I will always say yes and the yes includes, "Yes, I will do this and by the way I want to learn these two things or by the way, this is my career goal." I'll give you an example, I had a client opportunity in Los Angeles and I was just not keen on traveling to Los Angeles every single week for what I knew was a very challenging and difficult project. When the Vice President reached out to me and he was discussing the opportunity with me I said, "Okay, that's fine, the work sounds great. Can you make a commitment to me that if I'm fully capable of doing this job, that you will support me in the promotion process?" The role wasn't perfect, but I knew where I wanted to go and I knew that if I had a person that was supporting me in my career journey then we could shape the opportunity to be what I wanted it to be. It was on this client account that I got promoted from Senior Manager to Principal, I had a person that invested their time and effort in my career development. That mutual commitment helped me to progress my career.
Q: On this significant day what does MLK Day mean to you?
TB: What it means to me is that with courage, focus, and determination; one individual can make a difference. My dad integrated his high school in the 60s, and was a part of the civil rights sit-ins. MLK day is that recognition of MLK and the people who have made sacrifices in the service of others to change communities across the US and the world. It is not a day off, it is a day of service; it's all about how you change the world and the environment around you as an individual and as a group.
Q: What’s your preferred way of honoring Martin Luther King JR?
TB: I like to go and volunteer somewhere, whether that's the food bank or with the Boys and Girls Club. Providing hope and opportunity for people that may not see that there's hope and opportunity. Making a difference in a small way by being present. Giving time to the community is important to me.
Q: What are some of the biggest roadblocks to success that minority professionals experience?
TB: That is a pretty tough question. I had to learn how to navigate the corporate environment and how to build professional relationships. Those are learned behaviors and were the biggest challenges for me. Knowing that you have to apply equal effort to working on your personal and professional relationships. Building a professional network is key. I come from a blue-collar background. My parents, aunts and uncles are all factory and chemical workers. The workday ends at 5PM and it's done. Well, in consulting, your job may be 8 to 5, but there's also the dinners, the relationships, the phone calls, and the afterhours time that you need to invest. There becomes blurred lines between your professional and personal life. You have to learn how to make them both work. Keeping them separate and distinct could impact your growth over time.
Q: What is a benefit that you appreciate the most from working with Capgemini?
TB: The benefit that I have of working for Capgemini is knowing that if there is something that I want to do, if there is something that I want to learn, all I have to do is ask and someone will support me. Support isn’t a tangible thing, but you know it when you have it. So just think about it, anything that you want to do, you ask for it, and there is a support structure in place to do it. That is an amazing thing and I don't think you could ask for a better opportunity than that.
Q: As we close out this discussion, is there something that you would want to add?
TB: It's very important to me that everybody gets to see the inside of Capgemini and what a great place it is to work. I have found a way over the last 25 years to really create a pathway for myself, but my pathway is not something that I could have done alone. It is the mentors, the many, many mentors. Scott and Dru, those two mentors got me started, but it's everyone who has given that word of encouragement. The personal interactions of someone making sure you are doing OK or someone saying "Hey, good job", those things have meant the most for me in my career. I think all of us need to understand that we can make a difference in an individual's life every single day, and it may be as simple as telling someone “good job”, it may be as simple as saying “hello” or just being there to listen when it's time to listen. That's really what I want people to walk away from this with, take some time each day to think about how you can change someone's life. If we all do that, this will continue to be a great place to work and good people will be attracted to Capgemini.
To learn more about career opportunities at Capgemini complete this interest form (https://forms.office.com/r/ZHNeSCFzfK) or visit us at https://www.capgemini.com/careers.
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