On Confidence, Being Open to Change, and Learning to Figure It Out Herself
To celebrate Women’s History Month in March, Inspirage, Part of Accenture is highlighting women in the technology industry in general and at Inspirage in particular.
This week we continue our series profiling the women of Inspirage, Part of Accenture, by sitting down with Inspirage’s Nancy Ackerman, Practice Director, EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) Consolidations. We talked about developing confidence in herself and her ideas, embracing change, and learning to be resourceful. Here’s what she had to say…
What drew you to the technology industry?
Nancy Ackerman (NA): I started my career in accounting but had an opportunity to learn about the technical side of finance due to staffing shortages in my department. We were upgrading our software, and because of our small team, I got hands-on experience with financial technology during the implementation. My transition to technology began as a user. I embraced it and really liked it. From there, it was a natural step towards the Oracle EPM consulting I am involved in today.
What is the most important professional lesson you have learned since you began your career?
NA: I would say that my most important lesson was having confidence in myself and my abilities. When I started my career, I didn’t always have the conviction that I knew what I was talking about. As I progressed and gained knowledge and skills, belief in myself was something I had to learn and practice. I trusted that my ideas were valuable. By believing in myself, I was able to accept that people can disagree, but together we can produce great ideas for our customers and clients.
When you are faced with a tough professional challenge, where do you look for guidance?
NA: My current team has worked together for many years. In addition to our professional relationships, we have also developed friendships. When I have an issue, I feel comfortable reaching out to my superiors for guidance. I also go to other colleagues to hear about their experiences and to get advice. Because of our tight-knit team, it is easy to ask for help and find solutions.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
NA: I would tell my 18-year-old self to be flexible and open to change. Life has ups and downs; it is not going to be exactly what you expect. I began my career as an accountant and was determined to be a CFO someday. After my first job, my outlook shifted. Because I was open to change and willing to be flexible, good things happened. My willingness to embrace the unexpected led me to where I am today.
What is your biggest career or personal achievement?
NA: My biggest career achievement was learning how to manage other people. I always saw myself as the worker bee — the doer, not necessarily the manager. It was a challenge overcoming this view of myself, but I realized I had important lessons to share. This relates to my earlier point about confidence: knowing you’re valuable and feeling comfortable sharing your experiences was something I had to learn over time. In my personal life, there is no greater achievement than my children.
What are you most proud of?
NA: I am proud of how far I have come. I started consulting with little experience and confidence in my abilities. On my very first project – an HFM (Hyperion Financial Management) implementation – I was thrown into the deep end, but I didn’t sink. By being resourceful (and with the help of the admin guide) I was able to figure things out and complete the project successfully. Now I’ve led and designed countless projects for my customers.
Finally, do you have any hobbies or passions outside of work?
NA: I love to travel. My family enjoys visiting resorts and cruising. Our favorite destination was the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. They were so beautiful. We earned our scuba certifications and completed our dives in the lagoon. There was no need for a swimming pool during this trip. It was amazing. We had the time of our lives!
As Practice Director, EPM Consolidations, Nancy is one of the noteworthy women who makes a lasting contribution to Inspirage’s ongoing success. She has over 27 years of experience with the Hyperion suite of products with a specific emphasis on financial consolidation products (FCC, HFM & Enterprise). As an Oracle Certified Implementation Specialist for Hyperion Financial Management and Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud, Nancy has led, designed, and implemented numerous successful projects, from requirements gathering to delivery to training the end users.
Please continue to watch this space in the weeks ahead as we use the occasion of Women’s History Month to celebrate some of the other noteworthy women of Inspirage, Part of Accenture.