The talented designer leads Accenture’s Fjord business for the Mid and Southwestern U.S. regions
March is Women’s History Month, and there’s no better way to celebrate women’s successes and contributions to the world than by recognizing those who have made significant advances in the field of technology. Tanarra Schneider is one of those women.
As the Managing Director of Fjord Chicago, Schneider is making a significant impact in how she approaches work at the global design and innovation company. Accenture acquired Fjord in 2013 to help clients bring their visions to life using the power of design in the evolving digital era.
The Chicago native was introduced to tech while writing training materials and instructing in a corporate IT department. Later, after interning at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, she fell in love with the dynamic intersection of technology and education.
After a short stint in culinary school, Schneider worked in the airline industry in New York, helping to form their eLearning discipline. In 2008, she returned to Chicago to lead front-end design and development at various creative agencies.
She joined Accenture in 2014 to lead the company’s Interactive Design function, which is now Fjord Chicago.
Schneider credits the early years of her career as the inspiration to her role today. As a corporate trainer, she developed curriculum and trained employees in the latest technological skill sets.
“I was inspired by my experience, which enabled me to dive deep into how organizations teach, learn and communicate,” Schneider said.
At that time, Schneider taught administrative assistants how to use software such as Windows 96 and Microsoft Office, and she credits the women she worked with for helping her develop the qualities that have contributed to her success.
“These assistants were mainly women moving from typewriters and ‘dumb’ terminals to a client server environment. Many were terrified they might lose their jobs,” she said. “I had been a teacher before, but this role taught me the importance of empathy and human-centeredness.”
Schneider says being a Black female designer in leadership is busy—and critical.
“I recognize that others are proud to have a leader who looks like them, and I am dedicated and enjoy spending time with and mentoring colleagues,” she said.
Being a young woman working in the middle of IT departments during the tech boom placed her into positions where she says she “needed to punch above her weight.” Schneider used this opportunity to excel at her job, not focus on being Black or a woman. Throughout these experiences, she says she was lucky enough to work at companies that supported her and were committed to greater diversity efforts.
For people looking to excel in the design industry, Schneider encourages them to be an advocate, be curious, have a strong sense of self and be authentic.
“I must challenge my clients’ assumptions about who uses their products and take a stand for the user.” she said. “Also, in a changing world, it is critical to continue to learn and be relentlessly curious. People in the world of design also need a strong sense of self, because their work is in service to others.”
“I know it can also be easy to feel like you need to change to fit into whatever organization you’re a part of,” Schneider added. “But please, especially given the growing digital divide, stay in technology. We need you. We need your perspective, your voice and your presence.”
She also encourages people to seek mentors and sponsors of all ethnicities.
“You need to have people in your corner who will coach you and who will advocate for you when you’re not in the room. Be prepared to ask questions and share what you would like to learn,” she said.
Want to join a dynamic team that is a leader in the technology innovation industry and committed to gender equality, inclusion and diversity? Accenture may be the perfect fit!
Learn more about Accenture Interactive here or find your fit with the Accenture Technology team. Submit your resume and have the opportunity to be personally matched with Accenture jobs for your next career move.
Now, Schneider leads teams that create programs essential to people’s livelihoods, with projects ranging from improving an employee’s experience at a company, to processes and tools for child welfare systems.