The Capgemini Talent Acquisition Team Presents: Keylor Acosta, Principal
Posted By: HBCU CONNECT on April 15, 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 are 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.
Keylor Acosta is the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Capgemini’s SAP North America practice. In this Q&A, Keylor offers his insights into his career journey and what he has learned along the way.
Q: What is your role with Capgemini?
Keylor Acosta (KA): Our SAP Practice is the first practice in the Capgemini Group to nominate CTIOs to our Capgemini Global CTIO Network. I am proud to be the CTIO for the SAP Practice representing North America. I am responsible and accountable to manage, develop, and grow the services and products (or the solutions) that we develop and ideate using SAP intelligent technologies such as blockchain, Internet of Things, machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data, and data analytics.
Q: What inspired you to get into your field?
KA: There was this big buzz about SAP projects, which were usually a year plus engagement and for big global companies that had locations worldwide. That was what initially drew me into wanting to become a consultant. Once I got inside, I realized that as a consultant I was not just applying technology, but I was also helping companies resolve problems and achieve objectives and goals. That feeling of helping somebody do something better by using technology to drive their day-to-day job gave me great satisfaction. Getting to help clients succeed and establish long-lasting relationships while making good friends along the way was the icing on the cake.
Q: What was it like on your first day of work as a minority in your career?
KA: It was a very stressful day. English is not my first language, so I had to constantly monitor my vocabulary, intonation, grammar, pronunciation, and accent. I had to do all this while speaking eloquently and with confidence about the content and subject for which I was responsible. I felt I had to prove that I had earned my role/position and that I really belonged there. There were so many stereotypes that I tried to demystify and prove wrong on that day so people could see me differently. Nobody imposed this onto me, but I felt like I needed to do all of these things. At the end of the day I was exhausted. In retrospect, I think that after 21 years at Capgemini, living in the US, and being an American citizen; I still feel that same way sometimes, but less intensely now of course.
Q: How has Capgemini supported you in your career?
KA: My gratitude to Capgemini is immense. Capgemini has allowed me to reinvent myself at least three times. Capgemini’s training, programs, mentors, initiatives, and engagements have given me the necessary elements to grow professionally and personally, from staff consultant to principal. Capgemini enables employees to forge their own destiny and future by providing avenues for us to achieve our goals. If you do your job and meet the expectations laid out in front of you, you can do it. I am a testament to this.
Q: Tell us about your favorite client project:
KA: All of them were important, all of them define me and play a role. But if I had to pick one, I would have to say an agricultural client in Minneapolis was my favorite. I spent four winters there. That was a physical test, especially since I am from Costa Rica and I live in Florida. This project was also challenging professionally and personally. It brought us all together in what I still call a family and where I truly built good relationships and friendships. This made me a better person and a better Capgemini professional, leader, and mentor. Although this project was years ago, I am still fond of it for what it represented in my career. It set me up for success and contributed to my promotion to Principal. It gave me a path to my new role in the Capgemini SAP practice.
Q: What advice would you give the next generation of consultants?
KA: This is not even my advice, it’s advice my Grandma gave me when I was six years old. But if it has helped me then it may help someone else too. She said “Love whatever you do, no matter how big or small, do it like it is the last thing you will ever do. Invest and commit yourself 150%. Don’t just do the best but do your “bestest”. You will always be successful, and you will not have to work a single day in your life.” That’s the type of consultant we need, especially these days. We need people who love what they do. We need people with energy and passion. We need to communicate and transmit love, passion, and energy.
Q: What Capgemini value do you identify most with?
KA: That’s a tough question. I often stop and think about our seven values and I think I am the embodiment of all seven. But if I had to pick one, I would pick FUN. I always try to have fun and make the people around me have fun too. I love to make people laugh and have a good time with clients and colleagues alike. I always try to bring lots of energy into everything I do, so that people feel good and energetic around me. I was the clown in school, high school, college, and now here.
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Q: How are you involved at Capgemini?
KA: I am proud to say that I am one of the founding members of our HOLA employee resource group (ERG). Many moons ago, when we still didn’t have a Latino/Hispanic group, a few of us connected and we formed HOLA (Hispanic Opportunity Leadership Achievement). I am a proud member of HOLA and always will be. Unfortunately, given all my obligations and responsibilities, I do not spend as much time as I would want to with the group, but I am always connected. I am also involved with our ERG Mentoring Matters since I am a product of mentorship. If it were not for all of my mentors and coaches, I would not be where I am now. Wherever possible, I use any excuse to help new team members find their way at Capgemini. I love helping people. I feel obliged to pay it forward.
Q: How do you celebrate your culture and roots at work?
KA: Apart from being involved as much as I can with HOLA, I take every opportunity I have during speaking engagements with Capgemini to bring in my culture. I mention Spanish phrases or words (Hola, adios, amigos, bueno, claro, etc.), because I am proud to let everyone know that I speak Spanish. I also drop the fact that I was born and raised in Costa Rica and I extend invitations to everyone to come visit my country. I have personally designed tour experiences for others at Capgemini to visit my motherland. It makes me proud to see how surprised they are when they learn about my background. I love to hear how they all love my language and how much they enjoyed Costa Rica.
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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