Liz Barnsdale

Accenture Interactive

If responsibility for a client portfolio worth $68m was not enough, Liz Barnsdale also serves as Accenture Interactive’s European Inclusion and Diversity executive sponsor.

Her message is "Get Uncomfortable" and it’s also the name of her initiative, speaking directly to employees who may want to be part of I&D efforts, but don’t necessarily know how to go about it. By specifically targeting white, straight, socially mobile men, the initiative is designed to involve this group in problem-solving for I&D by helping them become more open and willing to participate. “Bake it into your business strategy so everyone gives a shit about it, set commercial targets and goals,” Liz urges. The programme, which includes accountability metrics for managing directors, is making real cultural change at Accenture, where Liz has also rewired the I&D team to be more representative of diverse teams, communities, and individuals. Liz drove the rollout of the agency’s Black Senior Manager Sponsorship Programme and the BAME Managers Sponsorship Programme to ensure active support. The second stage of the project connected the group’s most under-represented BAME community; Pan Asian and Arabic colleagues, with sponsors at managing director level. These campaigns are far from Liz’s only initiatives, in the past year, outreach work has included programmes to encourage school-age children and school leavers from socially diverse backgrounds to learn about digital and creative careers. Liz is currently overseeing the next wave of the Get Uncomfortable initiative - focused on the lived experience of periods at work.