The Capgemini Talent Acquisition Team Presents: Jeffery Roberts, Enterprise Architect Director
Posted By: HBCU CONNECT on May 14, 2021 |
Capgemini continues to build a more 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 exceptional diverse colleagues. In these Q&As, they share lessons learned, advice on how to overcome challenges, and why itís important to find an employer that celebrates our differences.
Jeffery Roberts is an Enterprise Architect Director in the Oracle practice. In this Q&A, Jeffery offers insights into his career journey and what he has learned along the way. 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.
Q: What is your role with Capgemini?
Jeffery Roberts (JR): I perform multiple roles within Capgemini. In my project delivery role, I am an enterprise architect for the Oracle Practice, working on a large ERP (enterprise resource planning) transformation project for a large steel manufacturing company. As an enterprise architect, I am responsible for making sure that a company's business strategy uses proper technology systemsí architecture to achieve its goals. Now, my internal role within the North America Oracle Practice is to manage the technology delivery capability teams and to lead the technology go-to-market offerings.
Q: What inspired you to get into your field?
JR: I always knew I wanted to be a consultant. Having an older brother in the field and knowing the growth opportunities, helped me make the decision to pursue a job in technology consulting. I decided to seek a major that blended my interests in computer science, accounting, math, and general business administration subjects. I selected the computer information systems program at University of Florida which I felt would be a good degree to prepare me for the technical consulting field.
Q: Who has inspired you in your career and how?
JR: There have been several people, probably too many to mention in this article, but these are the ones that stand out. Right off the bat is the person who hired me out of college, Bill Donlan, who is still with Capgemini. I was fortunate enough to work with him on my first few projects and learned first-hand from him what it really means to be a consultant. I learned the importance of being customer driven, adding value every day, being a team player, and doing whatever it takes to be successful, which at times means being committed to long hours. I also had a great people manager in the middle part of my career, Suzanne Larabie, who really taught me the value of giving 110% to what you do. Her client intimacy, her integrity, her drive, and her vision are just inspiring. It was a pleasure working and learning from her about achieving and doing all we can do for our clients. Last, but certainly not least, are the many teams that I have worked with over the course of my career. I am a team player and Iíve learned so much from my teams; they are the ones that helped to make me successful.
Q: What was it like on your first day of work in your career?
JR: My first professional job was with a small consulting company in Miami and my first day went a bit as expected, nervous but excited for the journey ahead. I worked with such smart people and they were focused in helping clients achieve their business objectives through the deployment of software technology-based solutions. It was a great atmosphere to be in. I was learning a lot and working hard. One significant memory I remember is that there werenít really a lot of people of color; we were underrepresented in every meeting; in everything we did. It was a bit of a challenge, especially walking into certain client office locations and not feeling welcomed or that I belonged in the room. Many of my colleagues were unaware of these situations and Iím sure they would not have understood how I was feeling. I always felt that I had to work harder and prove myself at a much deeper level. As clients got to know me, my high-quality work, my work ethic, and the value I brought to the team, I slowly began feeling more at ease working in their offices.
Q: How do you celebrate your culture and roots at work?
JR: I am Jamaican, and I always take the opportunity to share the Jamaican culture through my personality, food, drinks, and music. I love my reggae music and if I am working late you might catch me after hours in my office playing Jamaican music. Just being able to share my love and passion for the people and culture, thatís part of the Jamaican way. I like sharing with people how diverse the Jamaican population is and how much we value diversity. Our motto is ďOut of Many, One PeopleĒ because in Jamaica, our population is made up of all different cultures and races that work and live as one.
Q: What Capgemini value do you identify most with?
JR: Capgemini has an entrepreneurial spirit and Iíve experienced first-hand our freedom value. Iíve had the freedom to continue learning and to bring new ideas to the table. There is open communication at all levels of the organization, meaning I am able to share and execute my ideas. Trust is another one of the core values that I identify with, especially as an Architect. I have been on my current project for six-and-a-half years now and have been a trusted advisor for the client to deliver a successful implementation. I also love working in teams and enjoy the team spirit, making sure teams are successful. Then, of course, fun Ė you work hard, play hard Ė thatís the life of a consultant. I donít identify with just one value because I value all of them and they are all integral to my career with Capgemini.
Q: How are you involved at Capgemini?
JR: The biggest area of involvement for me is in mentoring. Iíve always been an engaged people manager and a strong advocate for the growth of our teams and consultants. I recently participated as a mentor in the RISE Program, which focuses on college students interested in a technology consulting career. Within Oracle, I help college hires through the onboarding and training process. Apart from mentoring, in the last year I have become more engaged with our AABPT ERG (African-American and Black People Transforming Capgemini, formerly A3) as part of our Black Executive leaders team. We meet regularly to discuss how we can change and improve the diversity and the awareness of the diversity within Capgemini.
Q: In your opinion, what are some of the biggest roadblocks to success that underrepresented professionals experience?
JR: I think it is the lack of people who are mentors that you can look up to. Underrepresented professionals unfortunately do not have the network that a lot of our peers come in with on day one. For many of us, we are the first generation or maybe the second generation in their families to have professional careers. It can be a bit overwhelming. You start doubting yourself and thinking that maybe you donít have what it takes or the relationships to be successful. When I mentor people, I tell them to stop thinking about ďyou canít,Ē but rather to think about why you are here, why you can, and how you are going to make it better and about what you bring to the role. Consulting is a relationship business and I think a lot of the underrepresented minorities may not relate well to clients and teams that have different cultures and social norms. We need to learn that it is extremely important to network with your peers, leadership, and clients. You should go to the dinners, happy hours, and other social events to help build those professional relationships. When we get back into the offices, make time for coffee breaks and short conversations in the break room to get to know the people you work with.
Q: What advice would you give to the next generation of consultants?
JR: Be passionate about what you do; consulting is a challenging but rewarding career. You have to find what you enjoy and do what you enjoy within consulting. Donít get stuck in something that you donít like. Go find your passion! Once you do, learn more about it and put that energy and effort into the area you love. The other advice I would give people is no matter what role, no matter what project, how good, bad or uncomfortable it is, every single day you show up and you find a way to add value. You can always add value; your project teams and clients will always appreciate that. Remember to ask yourself, ďDid I add value today and what can I do tomorrow to add more value?Ē Show your worth.
Q: Tell us about your favorite client project
JR: Oh, there are so many! It goes back again to the passion that I have for the type of work that I do. I love to learn, solve problems, and ultimately make clients successful. Iíll talk about two, the first being in the early days of my career. I worked for a candy manufacturer and it was fascinating to see the just-in-time manufacturing of some of our favorite candies. It was quite inspiring, as a recent college graduate at the time, to be able to see the fully automated process in action and the just-in-time manufacturing processes as you have learned about in college. It was also great to be able to eat all the fresh candy off the line. The other one is my current project, a large, diverse steel manufacturer. As I mentioned earlier, Iíve been on the project for the last six-and-a-half years as a leader and being able to see a full enterprise ERP transformation project is fascinating. It blows me away the amount of learning and successes my team and I have had on this project. Being able to visit the plants and do the steel mill tours, seeing the steel manufacturing process in action has been a rewarding experience. Then you see the massive construction projects being published in the steel industry publications and journals. You see the new building and bridge constructions in major cities and there is pride in seeing the work of the company I have been helping.
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