Global professional services company Accenture is exploring and applying blockchain technology to help its clients build more trusted ecosystems and enable new business models. Thanks to tech leaders within the company, like Britney Crooks, Accenture’s Blockchain and Multiparty Systems practice is reimagining the future of money, redesigning more resilient supply chains and enabling digital identities.
Britney started at Accenture three years ago as a Segment Consultant in the company’s Open Innovation group within Accenture Ventures. She progressed rapidly and is now the Global Blockchain and Multiparty Systems Alliance Lead. In her role, she is responsible for their portfolio of blockchain technology partnerships. In an interview with AfroTech, she spoke about her career journey, her ability to help Accenture’s clients and partners, and her efforts to get more underrepresented groups exposed to emerging technologies.
As someone who has been fortunate enough to explore different career paths and opportunities, Britney has always been drawn to roles that have an impact on the human experience. Thanks to an Accenture hiring manager, she learned how blockchain solutions help refugees gain access to resources and provide individuals in same-sex marriages with unique ways to secure their personal information. Seeing this impact, as well as the chance to solve important challenges in new ways, made Britney even more excited about the opportunity.
“I started by going wide,” Britney said. “I evaluated the startup landscape, trying to make sure I understood how blockchain could be used and how it was being talked about in most major industries. And then proactively shared this information with others at the firm. This allowed me to get more comfortable speaking about the topic, engage directly with clients about their interests and questions, and stay informed on the wide range of blockchain opportunities the company was exploring. All of this made me even more valuable in my role while helping others. It wasn’t long before people were reaching out to me proactively, which helped me establish myself as a thought leader.”
Building on the internal recognition of her expertise, Britney took initiative and began engaging Accenture’s largest strategic alliance partners to expand the ecosystem of blockchain offerings and capabilities that the company and its clients could leverage. That move helped the company and accelerated her own career trajectory.
“I had a really good manager,” Britney said. “The simplicity and clarity of her advice was important to my accelerated career progression. She advised me to focus on demonstrating that I can work at the next level. Working at the next level meant I needed to lead and deliver a major project well. To get to the level after that, I needed to simultaneously manage multiple projects well. As someone who likes to think ahead and is always ambitious, I knew I had to focus on both delivery excellence and portfolio building. I had to think two steps ahead, and it was hard at times, but it paid off!”
Britney has always believed in the power of thinking big. As her network shared more with her, she used that information to find gaps and opportunities and then proposed a new strategy. She positioned herself as an ecosystem architect to think holistically about the blockchain ecosystem from major tech companies to startups and everything in between.
“There are so many synergies between the startups and tech companies in this space, and now we could be more purposeful about them,” she said.
Britney was excited by this expanded role because it presented even more chances for her to build relationships, identify opportunities and be creative with technology. The blockchain alliance’s lead describes her job as a “blank piece of paper” because she has so much room to create and define — an aspect she really loves. She explained that much of her work is about addressing use cases or combinations of technology that have never been done before. With that, she’s able to work on various projects across geographies and topics such as supply chain, life sciences and financial services. Because of her natural ability to think big and bring people and information together, this role is a perfect fit for her.
“Being an information broker and building that network allows me to connect the dots across organizations to create opportunities,” Britney said. “I think there’s a bit of the magic in this role because you get to learn about the technology, our partners’ unique interests and capabilities, and Accenture’s goals and offerings. Being at the center of this, I’m uniquely positioned to multiply the impact of Accenture and our partners in ways nobody else can. I get to make one plus one equal ten.”
Britney is inspired by the company’s commitment to delivering technology and human ingenuity and enabling employees to become innovators. As an Accenture employee, she appreciates the developmental and entrepreneurial culture, which encourages and invests in individuals’ visions. She says that Accenture gives employees the space to be their true selves at work while also helping them carry out their aspirations.
“I’ve continued to see leadership support new ideas and give people the space to do the things that excite them,” Britney said. “The focus at all levels on being truly human makes this a special place to work and grow.”
This is also highlighted in the leaders she has worked with at the company, like her manager, who focuses on the team’s success and each person’s strengths. Britney believes the best managers adapt to their team members’ working styles and give them the chance to prioritize their wellness and show up in a way that is best for them. This is why she does her part to encourage more Black women to join the company and be bold in how they approach their careers. She is working on projects to ensure she and other leaders at the firm are more purposeful in how they build an inclusive culture and grow both diverse and inclusive leaders. She of course has a focus on ensuring those new leaders are getting opportunities in emerging technology in preparation for future demand.
Britney is also working to help Black entrepreneurs through Accenture’s Black Founders Development Program. As the program’s Ecosystem Architect, she works to guarantee Accenture can help all founders who apply to the program in some way through their network. She is excited about this because she gets to help founders who look like her create economic opportunities while engaging in emerging technologies and solutions.
“Technologies are evolving so much faster today than they used to because the internet has made information more readily accessible than ever,” she said. “In a little over 10 years, blockchain has achieved the market awareness, activity and ecosystem that aligns more to where AI was at 35 to 40 years into its journey due to access to information and more collaborative learning. That’s why I’m passionate about encouraging more Black women to think big, learn about emerging technology and be ready for the next wave. The next big emerging technology will likely take even less time than blockchain to mature.”
Britney believes we can make exponential progress by intentionally investing in the businesses, people and schools in our own communities.
“When we do more collectively as a community, we’re able to multiply our impact,” she said. “This motivates me to help how I can and to create opportunities for those who need it most.”
Thinking big, being an information broker and using that information to help others made it easier for Britney Crooks to climb the blockchain ladder. Want to follow in her footsteps and learn more about other opportunities at Accenture? Learn how you can utilize your skills and find the perfect role for you here.
This piece has been brought to you in partnership with Accenture.