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Nedra Dickson: Leading a Strategic Path to Increase Procurement Prospects with Diverse Businesses

When we asked Nedra Dickson about the company’s mission, she proudly replied, “We have committed to being 50% women and 50% men by 2025.”

In charge of leading and promoting Accenture’s well-established initiatives in 21 countries, Nedra is responsible for the rise in the company’s Mentoring Program for various suppliers. Currently, she serves the company as its Global Supplier Inclusion & Sustainability Lead.

Nedra is also responsible for increasing Accenture’s Supplier Diversity spend in the United States to above 33%. She was honored for her contributions and leadership in promoting supplier inclusion and diversity and providing chances for different enterprises.

Learning Lessons Along the Way

Nedra has been at Accenture for 21 years. Through this journey, she has gained many vital lessons that she has learned

1) Visibility is key for people to see you in large corporations

2) It’s important to have a mentor but more important is to BE a mentor

3) Be nice

Accenture’s Philosophy

Nedra shares that CEO Julie Sweet is committed to create value for the company’s clients, shareholders, communities, and the people (all 700K). They are extremely transparent about their ESG goals, Inclusion & Diversity targets, and the journey in Supplier Diversity. Accenture shared its Inclusion & Diversity numbers almost four years ago. Senior leaders acknowledged there was much work to do, working towards that goal. The company has committed to being 50% women and 50% men by 2025.

Employing Notable Expertise to Make an Influence

Accenture combines local insights with deep expertise across 40 industries. The company is extremely passionate about innovation. Nedra is extremely proud of how the team has been able to co-innovate and collaborate with diverse-owned businesses.

The company partnered with one of its black-owned businesses in South Africa to develop its supplier development platform – SME-DE (Small Medium Enterprise – Digital Ecosystem). According to Nedra, the team can create customized development plans for each small and diverse business to help them grow their businesses. Accenture leverages this platform in all seven countries in which the company has its DSDP – Diverse Supplier Development Program. It also has clients leveraging the platform for their supplier development efforts.

The Principles and Work Culture to Escalate Motivation

The company’s mission is always linked to its core values, stewardship, best people, client value creation, one global network, and respect for the individual and integrity. With approximately 700K employees globally, it has created a culture of collaboration and innovation.

The team members put much focus on customer experience. They recently rebranded the Accenture Interactive group to Accenture Song. The name Accenture Song conveys an enduring and universal form of human craft, connection, inspiration, technical prowess, and experience – unleashing the imagination and ideas of its people to deliver tangible results.

Technological Improvements to the Rescue!

As per Nedra, Accenture believes the time is now to think big, start small and scale fast. The teammates believe this is key to grow and thrive in the new and fast-changing world.  The strategies organizations develop now have responsibility at their core – from ownership of data to inclusion and diversity, sustainability, security, and personal safety.

Envisioning the Future

Nedra is truly happy to be a part of an organization that will embed sustainability, inclusion & diversity, and a diverse supply chain in everything her team does to create better economic opportunities for communities and a better world for everyone.

Nedra would love to change the narrative that small and diverse suppliers are too small or too risky. Many of these entrepreneurs are nimble and able to pivot faster. She said she would love to see large complex corporations collaborate and co-innovative with more small and diverse businesses. This would drive more economic impact and help to close the disruption in the supply chain we see today.

In an attempt to give a piece of advice to budding entrepreneurs, Nedra shares, “Women are innovators and collaborators. There is a serious disruption in the global supply chain and plenty of opportunities for women to plug in the gaps. Unconscious bias continues to be a problem in the workforce, but the barriers are starting to come down. Many corporations are offering flexible work arrangements. There is a call to action to address the critical gap in talent, particularly among underrepresented populations, such as women and minorities. My advice to women – joins the supply chain and change the narrative of unconscious bias and help stop the disruption in the supply chain.”