In her decade-plus career at Accenture, Monica Boll has worked across a variety of functions; as a Managing Director in Operations, she now leads accounts from verticals including Financial Services and Communications, Media and Technology. She told The Glass Hammer that her background has given her visibility into the disruptive technological changes that have shaped the business world: “We always need to be trend-spotters to remain relevant and stay ahead.”
She serves as the executive sponsor of Accenture’s metro New York LGBT+ Employee Resource Group and will soon assume the role as the sponsor of Accenture’s global Pride network.
Monica says that leading inclusion and diversity efforts is “a rich and gratifying experience.” She is particularly passionate about I&D because it “focuses on people from all kinds of diverse backgrounds. I, myself, represent the female, LGBT+ and Hispanic communities.”
Please describe how and when you first knew you were LGBT+:
I was married (to a wonderful man who is still a friend) at the time I met an incredible woman named Ellen. We, inexplicably, fell in love 26 years ago and she’s now my wife.
In 25 words, describe how you came out:
It was definitely a process. I first came out with close friends, then my (eventual) in laws and then my parents. My dad was Dutch so he was much more open-minded than my devoutly Catholic Mexican mom. My brother is gay, so that helped.
How has coming out, and being LGBT+, influenced your leadership approach and style?
I am focused on finding common ground and intersection points with people. We have a lot more in common than not. By finding that connection, and understanding people’s strengths, you can get to consensus faster and build high-performing teams.
Who are your role models?
My role models are those who give back. People like Bill & Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey.
If you could have any job other than the one you have now, it would be:
Being a philanthropist would be the ultimate job in the world.
The most important thing I have learned from a boss is:
“Everything depends on execution; having just a vision is no solution.” That was a quote he kept framed on his desk and the way he led. I learned some very important lessons from him.
The most important thing I have learned from an employee is:
To be inquisitive about someone’s background, what’s shaped them and their ambitions, in order to try to walk in their shoes.
If I could tell someone who is graduating from college this year one thing I’ve learned, it would be:
Learn all you can and remain relevant about emerging technologies and how they will disrupt the way we live and work. Stay on the front end of the changes and make things happen.
A time a sponsor helped me take my next step:
I was in a fairly new role and going through an intense leadership development program at the same time. My sponsor helped me realize that with time, the pace would settle down. He gave me the confidence to stay the course; his words ultimately helped to get me promoted.
The best interview question I have ever heard is:
What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done in your life? How someone defines courage says a lot about themselves.
My most important Ally is:
My parents were my most important allies. They were always there for me and incredibly supportive throughout my life. Currently, personally, it’s my wife, Ellen; professionally, it’s my Career Counselor at work.
This person is my LGBT+ hero, because:
Billie Jean King is my LGBT+ hero because she’s been a pioneer in leading the way for gender equality and social justice—for everyone, not just the LGBT+ community.
My first job was:
As a cashier at family-owned dry cleaners. Growing up in New Orleans, it was HOT in the summer time, both at and after work!
The most tantalizing leadership opportunity I see in the world right now is:
Leading the blue wave in the U.S. mid-term elections and repairing relationships with our global allies.
The best piece of advice I ever received was:
When tapped on the shoulder and selected for a new opportunity, just say yes. There’s a reason you were chosen for the role and you’ll figure out how to be successful.
My motto is:
Lead with love.
The next big thing for the global LGBT+ community is:
Full and untethered equality in the eyes of the law.
The next big step for me in my career could be:
To remain at Accenture and create the capacity to grow the next generation of leaders.
If you were planning a dinner party and could invite any five people from history, who would they be, and why?
Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel, Babe Didrikson, Judy Garland, and Princess Diana. Because they were all inspirational innovators and leaders.
What would be the opening song in a movie about your life, and why?
“I’m Every Woman,” both the Chaka Khan AND the Whitney Houston versions.
The six things I could never live without are:
My family, friends, iPhone, meringues, Motown music and Sriracha sauce.
My favorite vacation destination is:
Anywhere in Spain: Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian, the Costa del Sol, Sotogrande.
The three books I would take to a deserted island are:
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – I’ve never read it!