The Capgemini Talent Acquisition Team Presents: Vanessa Barnhart, Account Executive
Posted By: HBCU CONNECT on June 01, 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.
Vanessa Barnhart is an Account Executive in the Energy, Utilities, and Chemicals (EUC) business unit. In this Q&A, Vanessa offers her insights into her career journey and what she 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?
Vanessa Barnhart (VB): I am an Account Executive in the EUC business unit with a focus on the energy sector. I am responsible for several energy clients in North America.
Q: How did you begin your career in your field?
VB: Itís an interesting story, in fact. After my post-graduate degree in financial engineering, I became a junior consultant. While working in the financial advisory services in Sao Paulo, Brazil a partner saw potential in my client interactions and invited me to join their consulting practice. After attending the SAP academy, I was a team member on the first large-scale SAP implementation in Brazil for a large pulp and paper manufacturing company. Through networking, I became one of the first employees to join a startup boutique consultancy as a Sales Executive. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, we became the largest consultancy in Brazil. Soon after entering the U.S. market, we were acquired by Capgemini. It was an interesting journey from Brazil to here, but the journey has inspired my work.
Q: How has Capgemini supported you in your career?
VB: I have been fortunate enough to have people in my network who have supported me from day one. Although my first day at work was nerve-racking, they helped me make introductions, gave me career guidance, and coached me on how to generate demand for my skills. That has not changed at Capgemini. Iíve had some pretty amazing bosses who have encouraged me, mentored me, and provided opportunities for me to take on more responsibilities. It has led me to where I am today, and I am super thankful for that. Our annual review process is a more specific example on the support we receive. We spend a great deal of time preparing and reviewing, but it is an excellent way of setting our targets. It allows us to analyze what went well and talk about our personal visions and career pathways with our mentors and people managers. It is a very effective tool of communicating our individual growth plans and business goals.
Q: In your opinion, what are some of the biggest roadblocks to success that underrepresented professionals experience?
VB: It is important to have self-confidence, perseverance, commitment, and dedication to your own personal and career growth. I think the biggest roadblocks we all face are our own internal and self-limiting habits. I personally have to work on this every day, stopping myself and asking if this is the right direction. Capgemini provides an environment in which everyone can achieve their professional goals so long as you decide that you wonít give up and you refuse to quit, always striving to reach your personal best.
Q: Where do you see women advancing in the workplace and how have you seen it evolve?
VB: It is, of course, different in every part of the world, but overall, throughout my career I see more women actively participating in roles that have traditionally been dominated by men. I am a product of a new technology in South America that created a demand for more people than were available in the workforce. Every new technology evolution brings more opportunities for women, allowing us to enter in the early stages and thus become part of the ecosystem over the long haul. However, where I do see a lag is women in senior leadership roles, but there has been an improvement in certain sectors.
Q: What do you feel is one of the biggest challenges for women in business today?
VB: From what I observed and experienced, one of the biggest challenges continues to be the inner struggle between career, personal, and family commitments. We all grow up with the desire to have it all, but there is no escaping the reality that finding the perfect balance is difficult. I strongly believe that it is possible, and Capgemini provides us the right environment and flexibility to manage our responsibilities, both professionally and personally.
Q: What advice would you give to the next generation of women in business?
VB: My advice is to plan ahead and think critically about why you want your career to be in business. Then commit to not giving up on the path towards achieving your goal. Every time you encounter a barrier, figure out how to overcome whatever is impeding your progress. I would also advise them to continue learning. In my opinion, that is one of the most important liberators available to us. There is so much to learn every day about ourselves and about business, as everything evolves rapidly you should never stop learning.
Q: What do you think will help advance gender equality in business?
VB: Innovation, technical, and business advancements are important segues. Women need to capitalize on these opportunities. The gap in the workforce provides an opportunity for women to step in and fill a newly created void. The opportunity to bridge the gap is here, right now, and it is on all of us to jump on it and take part in it Ė itís really exciting for me.
Q: What Capgemini value do you identify most with?
VB: I love this question because I live our seven values every day. We are a multicultural company working with global clients to find solutions to their most demanding challenges. So living the seven values of honesty, boldness, trust, freedom, fun, modesty, and team spirit is the recipe that allows us to succeed and pave the way forward to an amazing future for all of us. The value I identify with most is team spirit because in a high-performing team everyone plays their part. Together we all win and without all the people I have worked with I wouldnít be here today.
Q: Tell us about your favorite client project
VB: Thatís a tough question because Iím really passionate about all the work we do for clients, but there is one that stands out as my current favorite project. It was a Blockchain implementation project with one of my energy clients. It was the first ever Blockchain project for Capgemini with SAP and the first of its kind in the industry, worldwide. The client didnít have a cohesive process where they could monitor their shipments or ensure that deliveries were made on time to their vessels and crew members. Leveraging the Blockchain technology we optimized the clientís logistics for delivery of materials, shipping and production management, increased their security transparency, and efficiency. Projects like these donít actually feel like work, since they are so exciting and innovative. They are fun and rewarding in the end.
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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