When a plan comes together
Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Melissa Cheung and inspires her on a daily basis? How has Shruti Pathania's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices has Youri de Koster 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 Mark Ruiter, Senior Manager Resources at Accenture
‘I often meet colleagues who’ll tell me they’ve met me before. The fact that people always remember me, while I don’t always remember them, makes sense: I’m the only person at Accenture who’s in a wheelchair. Even though it’s a permanent part of my life, the wheelchair doesn’t define who I am. Unlike some other people who would like to distinguish themselves, my biggest aim is to be just like everybody else; not only in my private life, but also at Accenture. I want to stand out in the same fields as my colleagues: results, performances, generating ideas and putting together a great team – not by being the only colleague who’s in a wheelchair.’
"Even though it’s a permanent part of my life, the wheelchair doesn’t define who I am."
Linking Technology and Business
‘At the age of 2, I was able to identify and name all cars by their brand – a typical “beta child”. So after high school, enrolling at a technical university was the logical choice. The same goes for choosing to study in Delft, a beautiful city with so much history. I opted for Mechanical Engineering, and later specialized in Systems and Control – the ‘hard’ technology, so to speak. As passionate as I was about technology – and still am – I didn’t picture myself working as a researcher for the rest of my life. I loved thinking about technology and strategy, rather than expanding on all the technical details. I have always searched for the link and connection between technology and business: how can people work more efficiently by applying new or adjusting technology? That question still motivates me, and I am always investigating the possibilities around it.’
A Job in One Day
‘I started at Accenture in 2006. Saying that working as a consultant was a lifelong dream would be a lie – but life, and more specifically before I ended up in a wheelchair, made me re-evaluate some of my dreams and ambitions. Working in a production environment is simply too dangerous for a person in a wheelchair. When in 2006 a friend mentioned that Accenture organized a JobDay – something they still did back then – I decided to check it out. I came in at 8.30AM in the morning only to leave their office in the late afternoon with a signed contract in my back pocket.’ ‘In my first week I was approached by a Country Managing Director. “Congratulations on getting your private parking bay on your first day at work – I have been here for years, and I still don’t have one,” he joked. Jokes aside, it was a necessity as through the parking lot was the only possible way for me to enter the Accenture building. Bear in mind, this was still the old premises on the Apollolaan.’
‘The first months took quite a bit of getting used to. I doubted my mobility and had a number of questions: would I have access to client locations? Would I cope with the traveling? A ‘simple’ office job closer to home would have been a safer choice. It was largely the support and help of my fantastic career counselor, Manon, who ensured things ran as smoothly as they did.’
Wading Home Safely After a Beer (or Two)
‘While many of my fellow students left Delft to live in Amsterdam and The Hague, I stayed. I love it there: it’s the ideal city to ‘roll around’ – unlike Amsterdam, where there are way too many bicycles. That’s one of my favourite things to do on weekends; wander around the city with family and friends, have a beer in one of the many nice bars and cafes, and being able to roll home safely after a night out.’
Weekends Are Me-Time
‘I used to cycle a lot. I still do – handcycling, of course. Over weekends, I always go for a two-hour ride around Delft and never take work home – period! A few years back I would sometimes open my laptop on Sundays, but those days are long gone. During the week I stay in a hotel for 2 or 3 nights, so then I don’t mind working in the evening. But these days, weekends are me-time and to relax and spend time with friends and family.
Shaping and Fine-Tuning Accenture’s Inclusion & Diversity Program
‘For the past two years, I have been actively involved in Accenture’s Inclusion & Diversity program for inclusive employment. As much as I tried not to get too involved in the beginning of my career, it’s inevitable that you will be drawn to issues close to your heart. After two years of talking about ideas we have now defined clear goals and are starting to implement them. We are going from just ‘hiring a few people with a physical or mental disability’ to looking at it from a more structured, policy-driven level. While hiring people with some sort of restriction might sound very logical, when you think about it, it does beg a lot of questions. What type of work can they do, and what are their limitations? Can they visit clients? How can they find their own place within the company to best develop their talents? How does the company adjust its evaluation and remuneration processes?’
"While hiring people with some sort of restriction might sound very logical, when you think about it, it does beg a lot of questions."
Six Hours and Six Minutes Sharp
‘I love it when a plan comes together: when I come up with an idea and I manage to make it happen, both in my professional and personal life. A few years back, I decided to take on cycling the Alpe d’Huez, and in 2012, my dream became a reality. In true Alpe d’HuZes style, it took me 6 hours and 6 minutes to finish. I was completely knackered at the finish line, but at the same time so fulfilled and proud. This year I will compete in the Wings for Life World Run for the second time. I was unprepared last time, which won't happen again. I want to keep up with my ‘normal’ running friends. Because at the end of the day, that’s simply what I want: to be like everyone else.’
Mark Ruiter (1975)
Studied: Mechanical Engineering MSc - Systems and Control, Delft University of Technology (2005)
Started working at Accenture: March 2006
Relationship status: Single
Loves: A good cup of coffee, going for a cycle on a sunny day
Gets annoyed by: Laptops that break down and people illegally parking in handicapped zone (which unfortunately happens a lot at ITO)
Favorite food: Italian food
On my nightstand: My phone
Listens to: Pop and jazz music
Last purchase: Fitbit (activity tracker for workouts)
Would like to sit next to in the plane: Elon Musk
Life-changing event: 19 July 2001: the day I was hit by a car during a summer holiday in France with friends
The best lesson life has taught me: Be persistent, keep going and reach your goals
The best advice I was ever given: Just do it!
Most beautiful place on earth: Home, after a holiday or long business trip
Hobbies/passions: Cycling (handbiking), going to the movies, having a beer with friends
What nobody knows about me: That I own the entire Harry Potter collection and have read every single book in the series
Life motto: Never give up!
- 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!