Anyone with enough ambition can work at Accenture

Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Marissa Jaggan and inspires her on a daily basis? How has Mark Ruiter's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices has Javier Leonor made in his life? Through a series of portraits, we answer these questions and introduce you to our people: those who make Accenture the thriving company that it is.

Introducing Danielle de Ree, Functional Consultant Salesforce Center of Excellence at Accenture

Having completed secondary vocational education, Danielle de Ree didn’t follow what she considers to be the ordinary route towards a career at Accenture. Sometimes this makes her a little worried that people might think she’s not fit for a job at such a high-profile company. ‘It’s just in my head because no one has ever indicated that they actually think less of me because of my education.’ 

‘I know I am good at what I do, and my colleagues often give me feedback that confirms this. That said, I am painfully aware that my CV doesn’t look like that of most of the people who work with me – they’ve all attained higher professional or university education. Luckily, my background doesn’t hinder me in my job; on the contrary, I think my practical approach is one of the reasons I can perform at a high level. The fact that Accenture proactively looks to employ people with different personal and academic backgrounds proves that they see the value in distinct experiences too. I like working for a company that is all about diversity and inclusion, and that not only talks the talk but walks the walk too. I feel I can be my true self at Accenture – here I’m comfortable enough to refer to “my wife”, whereas elsewhere I feel inclined to use the more vague term, “my partner”. At Accenture, everybody is genuinely considered equal. I am sure that there are people out there like me who believe that their chances of ever working for a company like Accenture are slim, or even non-existent because they lack university schooling or haven’t taken the “typical” path. I am living proof that there’s no reason to think that way. Anyone who is passionate and ambitious enough to make things happen can secure a job here.’ 

"I like working for a company that is all about diversity and inclusion, and that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk too."

An opportunity I grabbed with both hands

In all honesty, though, I had actually never heard of Accenture when I was first approached to join the company’s three-month Java Bootcamp traineeship in 2017. I didn’t have to think about whether to sign up for very long: it was an opportunity I knew I had to grab with both hands. I studied desktop publishing (DTP) and graphic design, and have always been technically inclined – I remember helping my parents with their computer issues when I was younger. Today, it’s the combination of a technical and creative focus that I love most about working at the Salesforce Center of Excellence.’ 

‘Even though I mastered basic Java and programming skills during the traineeship, I never became a developer. Salesforce is designed and built in such a way that you can make changes and configurations without actually having to write code. One of the things I love about declarative development is that you can immediately see the impact of what you're doing. I find it very rewarding to draw on my creative and analytical competencies to consider how to build something based on a client’s unique requirements. I love that virtually any company – be it in insurance, telecommunications, customer service, or the nonprofit sector, for instance – can use Salesforce and benefit from its functionalities and applications. Even more so, I like that we can customize the platform completely to meet clients’ different needs and wishes. During my studies, when I was young and slightly naive, I was convinced that I wanted to work for Google one day – I considered it to be the dream employer, mainly because the company seems to be so open and accessible. However, now that I’ve worked for Accenture for two-and-a-half years, I can confidently say that it’s just as open-minded and that working here is my dream job.’ 

Three work-related team meetings and one social “gathering” daily

I have always been a slightly introverted person. I tend to get overwhelmed occasionally when I am around a lot of people. Fortunately, as it comprises only six people, my team is relatively small. That made starting a new job at the Salesforce Center of Excellence that much easier – I feel more at ease in a close-knit group of people. And we really are close. I actually became good friends with one of my colleagues, and the two of us meet up outside of work too. During the first few weeks of the coronavirus lockdown, I really missed having my team around me, chatting with each other, and going for a quick coffee together. After a little while, we decided to start connecting with each other via Microsoft Teams three times a day, with everyone’s video activated so we can see faces. We also close every day with an informal Teams session when we don’t talk about work. These “gatherings” have made it much easier, and now I actually quite enjoy working from home, although I definitely look forward to the day we can return to the office.’ 

As long as Maastricht is only 15 minutes away...

‘Maastricht is home, as it has always been. I was born and raised here and have never lived in another city. I love that it’s not just a beautiful city, but is also rich with nature, culture, and history, and that there’s so much to do around here. My wife, Lisa, grew up in Veenendaal and studied in Antwerp, but since moving in with me she has grown to love Maastricht as much as I do. Sint-Pietersberg is by far the most beautiful part of this area – it’s a hill from which you can enjoy an amazing view of the city center. We love going there for walks with Chacha, our three-year-old dog.’ 

‘Taking strolls in nature is something we thoroughly enjoy doing. On weekends, we would often head out to the Ardennes in Belgium for a day – it’s only an hour’s drive away – but unfortunately the Belgium-Netherlands border has been closed over the last few months due to the lockdown. For the first time in my life, I’ve been pushed to consider the option of moving outside of Maastricht. We are currently looking for a bigger house with a garden for our dog and enough space for a family one day, and unfortunately, it’s hard to find such properties in Maastricht. We wouldn’t move too far away, of course – I’d only consider relocating if I could still be in Maastricht within a 15-minute drive and if the new house is really, truly stunning.’ 

What I do

I support our clients in overcoming obstacles and overseeing modifications and configurations to their Salesforce platform, based on their requirements.

A day in my life

is never the same, but always includes attending team meetings, brainstorming new solutions we can offer clients, implementing configurations, solving problems and discovering new Salesforce functionalities.

Advice to fellow and future colleagues

When I started at Accenture, I was thrown in at the deep end, and at times I felt a little overwhelmed. My advice would be to not let that get the better of you – try to get to know the Salesforce platform step by step, and find out how both you and your clients can utilize it.

Danielle de Ree (1990)

Studied: DTP (Desktop Publishing) and Web Development

Started working at Accenture: October 2017

Relationship status: Married to Lisa

Loves: Venturing out with Lisa and Chacha, either for a walk nearby or for a trip somewhere a bit further away. I also thoroughly enjoy having lunch or dinner at a restaurant

Gets annoyed by: When things don’t work out the way I want them to. Or when I want something right away, but can’t get it immediately

Favorite food: Asian dishes (Thai food and sushi, mostly) and pizza

On my nightstand: My e-reader, phone and Pikachu plush stuffed animal 

Listens to: My taste in music is extremely broad: I’ll listen to hip hop one day and heavy rock music the next, and I enjoy Elton John and 80s songs just as much

Last purchase: A new LEGO set – the third I’ve bought since lockdown started

Would like to sit next to in the plane: Since I am actually afraid of flying I’m tempted to say “no one”, but if I have to pick someone, then it would be Lisa – she’s the only person I would want to sit next to

Life-changing event: Our wedding in August 2019. We got married in my sister’s backyard (she lives in Belgium)

The best lesson life has taught me: That things will be alright, even if it takes a bit of time to get there. In other words, being patient pays off (and this can be very challenging for an impatient person like me)

What I learned recently: My team recently advised me to try not to show my stress too much when things don’t go according to plan because it only makes my colleagues more stressed, too. I wasn’t aware I was doing that, so hearing this was a great eye-opener

Most beautiful place on earth: The Alps 

Hobbies/passions: Gaming on my PlayStation, taking walks with Chacha, and building with LEGO

What my colleagues don’t know about me: That I love browsing Google Earth for hours, and marking all the places I still want to visit

Life motto: Just let everybody be – it doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from

Related opportunities

  • Would you be confident enough in your knowledge to advise a company to follow a full digital transformation? Maybe Strategy & Consulting could be a good fit for you
  • Do you think you would enjoy finding effective solutions for complex technology implementation problems? Then maybe you would be great in Operations or Technology
  • Would you want to explore the possibilities that come with new technologies or develop fantastic user experiences? Try Interactive or Technology

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