WE MUST CHAMPION ALL ASPECTS OF D&I TO DRIVE CHANGE
- Lucinda Szebrat
Published: 10 November 2020
Six years ago, I was asked whether I wanted to join Capco’s Gender Network by the Head of Diversity & Inclusion at the time. I told her I had mixed feelings about joining a network of predominantly women, as I did not think there was much we could learn from one another or collectively achieve. I also did not want to be assessed as a female in the workplace, I wanted to show that my gender was not a barrier to success, and joining a group felt like I was singling myself out. I now realize that both those reasons had been wrong.
I’ve since learned just how important allies can be, whatever the cause, which is why I now champion all Capco’s diversity & inclusion (D&I) networks and am proud to be the executive sponsor of it too. So, what changed?
Well, nothing exactly. D&I has always been important to me. My family are American and my father is of Puerto Rican descent. I spent most of my childhood outside the US, due to my father’s career with the US Government in the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Egypt. My siblings and I attended international schools and we thrived in these multicultural environments. After all, they felt normal to us, and we did not know that life could be any different. Now I realize just how lucky we were. At my high school in Cairo, there were 40 different nationalities in my graduating class of 100 people, which brought a wealth of new perspectives and experiences to my formative years.
I went on to study political science and Spanish for my bachelor’s degree back in the US, at Bucknell University, Pennsylvania. I wanted to learn more about developing countries and cultures, and how different societies function. While I had a wonderful time in this leafy part of Pennsylvania, I missed big city life. I already knew at this point that I would one day want to work for an international organization where diverse backgrounds and perspectives would be welcomed and couldn’t wait to find my place in the world.
That place was consulting, which I happened to fall into. After moving to Washington, D.C. after graduation, I landed a job at a consulting firm that was embarking on an enterprise resource package implementation of Oracle. This is how I gained my first interest in change programs and consulting turned out to be a good fit for me. It is a people business and I love the intellectual challenge that client problem solving often brings.
I went on to work for KPMG then IBM, had my eldest son, moved to Paris for a year, then came to London, where I joined City Practitioners, and had my youngest son right before it became part of Capco. I finally found that cultural melting pot and feeling of workplace family I had been seeking all those years before, and a place where there was freedom to take an idea, run with it, and have the firm’s full support.
15 years with the firm have flown by. In that time, Capco has grown so quickly, in the scope of projects we do, the clients we have, and our talent. We always keep upping the ante but stay true to our culture and values: respect, integrity, excellence, commitment, and knowledge.
Life is a learning curve and, as time has gone on, I have witnessed first-hand how supportive cultures can drive societal change. My sister is a lesbian, one of my sons has ADHD and I am of Hispanic background and a woman. I have always been there for them but vocalizing my support for our inclusion can make a far bigger impact, which is why I changed my stance on being a part of the Gender Balance Network, and all the others we have at Capco. We always must consider the bigger picture. After all, D&I causes are rarely confined to just one issue. So, I will do my best to be an ally. Can we have your support too?