The freedom to be me


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 Irina Kononova, Client Financial Management Analyst at Accenture

‘I realized I was gay at a pretty young age. When I was 11, I fell in love with a girl for the first time. I loved her quietly until I was 16. The sad truth is, the LGBT situation in Russia is currently very challenging. As a teenager, if the topic was brought up, or if a movie featured a gay person, people around me – even my friends – would share very strong dissenting opinions. Coming out under such circumstances is not really an option.’ 

Living the life I want to live

‘When I finished high school, I promised myself that I would have moved abroad one day. I knew that if I stayed, I could have never lived the life I wanted to. At the same time, I would have never been able to force myself to live a different life by, for instance, marrying a man. So, from that moment on, I did everything in my power to ensure that one day, I could leave. I knew that if I wanted to build a successful career in finance, I needed to be able to speak proper English and have a European master’s degree. So I set out to tick those boxes. I signed up for an exchange program so I could study English in London, and after finishing my bachelor’s at a university in Russia, I left for Scotland to complete my master’s degree.’ 

‘Moving to Scotland was a life-changer. Although I dreamed of studying at Oxford or Cambridge, the University of Glasgow was definitely a good second option. The university itself looked like a castle and Scotland’s beautiful scenery greatly appealed to me. I spent two amazing years there. More than anything, living there reaffirmed my decision to move to Europe. That said, I’ll honestly admit that when I initially made that call, Amsterdam wasn’t even among my top three target destinations.’

Thank you, Brexit

‘So how did I eventually end up in The Netherlands? Well, Amsterdam made a great impression on me when I came for a weekend trip with friends from Glasgow. Firstly, I was amazed by how incredibly friendly Dutch people are. Where I come from, people don’t smile at one another for no reason, as the Dutch do. If it wasn’t for Brexit and all the associated challenges and restrictions, I would have liked to stay in Scotland, or at least somewhere in the United Kingdom. Because of this, The Netherlands was the best next option, plus it is also the only country that offers a program for highly skilled migrants and provides people like me with practical help and the support needed to secure a permit, for instance. Needless to say, The Netherlands quickly became my first choice for a place to live.’

Accenture as a proponent for LGBT rights

‘At Accenture, I feel free to be my true self. My first-ever encounter with the company made it clear that this was a place where I could do that. It was at a career event in Scotland, where Accenture had set up an exhibition stand. The employee overseeing the stand was lovely, and he was very openly part of the LGBT community. I remember thinking, “Wow, how amazing that a company would choose him to represent them at a career event?!”. When I came across the job specifications for a Financial Analyst vacancy at Accenture in The Netherlands, I was immediately enthusiastic. I was even more convinced that this was the right place for me when I browsed the company’s website, which clearly shows strong support for the LGBT community. The fact that the business strives for a 50-50 workforce gender balance was the cherry on top. I could never work for a company that isn’t as supportive and inclusive, otherwise, I might as well have stayed in Russia.’ 

"Being part of Accenture’s LGBT community is great for many reasons. I find that being around people like me pushes me even more to be myself."

What I do

As a financial analyst, my main purposes are to serve as a business advisor and to maintain the profitability of the company and of our respective clients, according to policy guidelines. Additionally, my role is to help balance business and financials, which at times can be challenging.

A day in my life

...features many interesting conversations with people from the company, including senior and managing directors, aimed at pinpointing new and innovative ways to boost Accenture’s profitability. Aside from giving me the chance to build an amazing network, these conversations are also extremely interesting and insightful. 

Advice to current and future colleagues

Do what you enjoy and never waste your time on anything that doesn’t make you happy. Be passionate about your work – this is the only way you can enjoy great success, happiness, and satisfaction.

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Irina Kononova (1991)

Studied: MSc in Investment Banking and Finance, University of Glasgow (2017)

Started working at Accenture: November 2018

Relationship status: Single

Loves: Muay Thai martial arts

Gets annoyed by: Bad weather, especially rain and wind

Favorite food: My mom’s borscht (soup)

On my nightstand: A small lamp

Listens to: Anything ranging from R&B to Rammstein

Last purchase: A tracksuit 

Would like to sit next to in the plane: Eminem. I’ve been listening to his music since I was 10 years old

Life-changing event: Moving to Glasgow, and consequently becoming 100% sure I wanted to live in Europe

The best lesson life has taught me: To be brave and open. And that if you want to reach a goal, you have to do everything you can to make it happen 

What I learned recently: Financials tend to focus closely on figures and details, and sometimes fail to portray the bigger picture behind the numbers. When you zoom out and focus on the story behind the figures, you’ll often come to understand the numbers better. 

Most beautiful place on earth: Venice

Hobbies/passions: Reading and fashion (and reading about fashion), financial markets

What nobody knows about me: When I was 9 years old, I used to dance every day after school, sing Linkin Park songs and pretend that I was part of the band.

Life motto: If you want something – a new house, a new phone or even a new job – you should think about it intently, envision every detail and try to picture it clearly in front of you. Once you’ve done that, try not to think about it anymore. Ultimately, it will come to you. What’s meant to be yours will be yours. 

Related opportunities

  • Would you be confident enough in your knowledge to advise a company to follow a full digital transformation? Maybe Consulting or Strategy 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 Digital or Technology

Our recruiters are happy to help you navigate the application process, so get in touch!

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