Managing Partner of Human Resources

JILL B. SMART
Title : Managing Partner of Human Resources
Company/Headquarters: Accenture, New York
Number of Employees : 100,000
Background : Jill is responsible for Accenture's global personnel management and capability development. Named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Chicago by Crain's Chicago Business in 2004, she is a director of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and a trustee on the board of the Accenture Foundation. She also sits on the President's Advisory Committee at the University of Illinois.

Greatest accomplishment: As I was about to have my first child, I got the phone call that I was about to be made a partner at Accenture. ... It wasn't achieving "partner" status, it was that my hard work had paid off.

Greatest challenge or obstacle: Balancing my career and the needs of my family. I really have a great support system through Accenture. It's a great culture in terms of supporting each other. But even with that, that's the biggest challenge.

Future goals: Any group has room to grow, and I would like to help make Accenture's HR department a best-practice organization in all facets. Before I leave, I want everyone, internally and externally, to feel that we're that kind of company in every aspect.

My advice to women seeking leadership roles in HR: I believe in telling people how it is, even when they don't like it. I want people to tell me if there's something they want me to do or change, and it's only fair to do the same.

Person or event that most inspired me in my career: Steve James, the recently retired Accenture CEO, has inspired me in many ways. A long time ago, he asked me to do a project for a client, a difficult project. But he looked me in the eyes and said he knew I could do it. The way he looked at me made me feel so confident, and it really impacted me. Every day I went home and thought I was failing, but I asked for help, built a team, and a year later, it was successful.
Book I am currently reading: Tribunal, by my mother, Pat Bellavia. I get to proofread her novels and see how they turn out.

Most recent movie enjoyed: My 7-year old's choice: Alien vs. Predator.

CD in my CD player: Now 15. It's a compilation of radio hits, because my 12-year-old daughter pretty much owns the CD player in the car.

Additional views on career women and work/life struggles: I do believe that there are many challenges centered around balance that do impact women, overall, maybe a bit more than men. But for women, it's a matter of being honest. You never get what you don't ask for. You have to be balanced.
Any regrets? I don't think so. My mother always taught me that you can't look back at mistakes you made. But it's important to learn from them.

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