In a three-part interview series, Talent brings to you views of North America Corporate Responsibility Sponsors Kim Smith and Jay Dowling on why corporate responsibility should be a priority for Capgemini. This is part two of the series.
NA Chief Digital Officer Kim Smith wears multiple hats, including that of a Corporate Responsibility Executive Sponsor. She is passionate about CR and over the years has built up wide experience in this space. She is a member of the Ideagen Thought Leader Council and is working closely with the United Nations on innovation through alignment with the UN Sustainability Development goals 2030. Jay Dowling, VP and Head of Sales for Cloud Infra in North America, is also an Executive Sponsor of our Corporate Responsibility program in North America and brings sales field-level perspective of how Capgemini can translate these efforts into business opportunities.
Talent caught up with Kim and Jay to understand why CR is at the heart of Capgemini, how we can help shape the CR agenda and deepen our commitment to engagement through the CR pillars of diversity, sustainability and community.
What is our biggest achievement in this space?
Kim: Our biggest achievement is our ability to come together as one and focus on solving some of the largest challenges in the world today. You can list the awards and recognitions, which we have plenty, but they really don’t indicate our success the way showing up with the client and being able to work hand in hand with them for a cause does — be it gender equality, poverty and hunger or infrastructure and innovation, consumable goods and products. Our ability to bring our collaborative business experience to the table and leverage that to create a more cohesive Corporate Responsibility (CR) across all sectors, industries and public-private partnerships is our greatest achievement.
Jay: I think elevating the awareness of what we have already done is not insignificant and what is powerful is how it drives up employee engagement and employee retention and development. Having better attention of employees and creating tenure and leadership will greatly influence the future successes and stability of the company. The early wins have been on D&I; we have received significant awards for empowering women in technology received certifications in elevating gender balance in executive ranks of the company. There is still a lot of work to be done but significant progress is being made with focus on initiatives.
What is Capgemini North America doing well that can be leveraged as a best practice for the Group?
Kim: One of things that we do really well is putting up a strong leadership of subject matter expert to tackle some of the problems. Janet Pope and her team are committed to the way Capgemini operates, which is People Matter, Results Count. We engage our people first and have prioritized CR goals based on what we know our people care about. I think creating a vision is easy. What’s challenging is getting people to rally behind it and creating an execution plan driven on results that align with our culture and strategy. In NA, the team has done a phenomenal job of putting a blueprint together that does exactly that, by facilitating rallying our Strategic Business Units (SBUs).
- EDGE Certification: NA has taken a leadership role in attaining the EDGE certification, which really drives for diversity around gender equality and hiring – from training to rewarding and retaining the right talent for what we need in a non-biased environment.
- Millennial Innovation Council (MIC): We have branded our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in a way that helps people outside Capgemini gravitate towards what we are trying to achieve. For example, the MIC is an empowering and powerful way to encourage the next generation work force to come up with ideas to solve business problems based on their engagement in innovation. Our programs train new employees to create recognition and visibility in the market for the great things that Capgemini does.
- ISO 14001: We are one of the many regions to receive the latest ISO 14001 certification supporting sustainability which increases our ability to win business because we are at the front end of driving sustainability. For example, in the Energy and Utilities space, we have several offerings in digital cloud and managed services that allow our clients to understand what it takes to be a more sustainable organization.
Jay: What’s also important is working well together in the cross SBU leverage model with an understanding that Power of One is important to our clients. Our strength is being able to represent the assets, efforts and awards and recognition that we receive across various SBUs as one collective achievement. Putting on a united stand, talking about our presence as a global leader and a company with scale as well as that operates with responsibility. I think that’s a nice view we can build on but I think that is something still work in progress but is coming together nicely and will be better.
What is our biggest challenge in the corporate responsibility space?
Kim: The biggest challenge is driving to action. Maintaining a fidelity to what you personally care about requires that we have the right execution model. Sometimes Corporate Responsibility is seen as an added investment or cost and it is a missed opportunity when that happens. Treat this as an investment into our future. The most critical challenge to overcome is executing at scale.
Jay: As a company that is as diverse as we are from a SBU and P&L standpoint, we seem to be investing in numerous charities and initiatives. We should bring this down to a tighter collection of charitable and community causes that can be supported by our ERGs. That’s a challenge. The individual business units have for many years sponsored individual charities and business events it is going to take us some discipline to pull that in for greater impact. I believe with sponsorship and direction from Group that will be addressed. There is progress on the Diversity & Inclusion efforts being made, but there is more to do so we have a plan that stretches until 2020. Each one of our priorities are being mapped out over the next 3-4 years to get us to 2020.
Learn more about our sponsors:
Kim Smith Chief Digital Officer for Capgemini’s North American Application Services and Consulting Services. In this role, Smith will lead the overall digital portfolio for these North America business units, integrating all capabilities to architect the digital strategy and to collaborate with Capgemini’s global innovation initiatives to formulate advanced innovation practices for the collective business. As Chief Digital Officer, Smith oversees the digital go-to-market strategy and delivery capabilities of these North American operations leveraging Capgemini’s global Applied
In her prior role, Smith was Adobe’s first global head of digital services innovation where she led the development of its digital services portfolio strategy and launched Adobe’s Smart Bag for retailers and Immersive Retail Experience offering in collaboration with Capgemini. She was previously a vice president at Capgemini, and led product and service lines for cloud and digital innovation. Prior to joining Capgemini, Smith spent 12 years as an executive at Microsoft leading online, digital, cloud products and services innovation.
Smith was recently a speaker and innovation leader at the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship held at the United Nations. She will continue to work on the issues of digital innovation and diversity through IdeaGen, where she will represent Capgemini at United Nations Forum events. Her diversity and inclusion efforts will also focus on next-generation workforce imperatives, as well as cross-industry innovation and disruption to support the U.S. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on international business from the University of Delaware.
Jay Dowling recently joined Capgemini with over 25 years of experience in sales and leadership roles in the Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunications Infrastructure industry. His sales focus has traditionally been directed at large enterprise, system integrators, service providers and the public sector. He has direct sales and management experience with IT transformation projects, products and services which include IP networking, wireless data and voice, machine-to-machine mobility solutions, enterprise security, data center, managed services, application management, professional services and emerging SaaS and IAAS technologies being delivered in a cloud based model. Jay’s product and professional service experience was gained through his tenure with MCI Communications, Verizon Enterprise Solutions as well as smaller start-up ventures that included Electric Lightwave Communications & BroadRiver. As Vice President of Sales & General Manager for these corporations, Jay was responsible for delivering the sales results, managing the P&L and assuring overall customer satisfaction.
Jay holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Central Connecticut State University. He will be based out of our Irving Office and resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas with his wife, Claudia and their two teenage daughters Anna & Rose. When not in the office, Jay and his family spend much of their time supporting Rose’s passion for dance and cheering for the Horned Frog teams of TCU, where Anna is studying for her degree in Psychology.