In this Blog, we interviewed Javier Leonor, a Spanish born expat whose career path was anything from predictable. Throughout our discussion, we will reflect on what brought Javier to the point he is now, from post-graduation to his move abroad.
Who are you?
Javier Leonor was born and raised in Segovia, Spain, and is currently residing in Amsterdam. He is working for the global consultancy firm Accenture as their, “Inclusion & Diversity Global Pride Lead.” Javier describes this position as,
“an internal and external lobbyist for diversity in the company.”
Before we discuss Javier’s current role, we will look back at how he got to where he is today, including his time studying and where he went from there.
Education – How did you start?
Although you might see Javier’s role as a relationship-oriented position, he actually had a quite different background. While studying in Madrid, he followed a program in Communications Engineering. This is the support of telecommunication systems; a technical study. Javier’s exchange was quite a defining time in his study. His exchange was in Mannheim, Germany where he experienced a totally different study environment than in Spain.
“When I was speaking with a professor (in German), he stopped me and told me to refer to him in the formal ‘you’ form”
This was a shock to Javier who was not aware that this was expected of him. With such a diverse role now, it was surprising to us that Javier described his program as, “not diverse at all,” with only 3 girls in his study! It is quite interesting that he went from being in an environment that had such little diversity, to being the head of diversity at a global company partially know for just that! This simply highlights that the setting you are currently in could be completely different than the setting you will end up in. Javier’s open and adventurous attitude opened doors for him in this way because as he expresses,
“I never would have guessed I would be where I am now”
After Study – Where did you turn?
As Javier finished his study, he realized that he degree in communications engineering was not exactly where he wanted his career to go. With the motivation of trying new industries, he found himself as a consultant for Accenture in Spain. Javier states that,
“Being a consultant gave me the chance to see and try a lot of different companies that I would not have been able to try otherwise”
So, although Javier was unsure of what he wanted to do following his study, he took the matter into his own hands to discover different options he had while working. I think Javier’s decision to venture out of the ‘comfort zone’ of working in the industry he graduated in, was a bold choice which shows that there are so many ways to apply the knowledge you learn.
Now – What do you do?
Now that we know Javier as the “Inclusion & Diversity Global Pride Lead,” of Accenture, let’s look in to see what he does in this role! Javier explained that he is the connection of the corporate side of Accenture, and the diversity-related aspects going on worldwide. He has an incredibly packed schedule including travel, training and meetings. In this role, he has traveled all over including places like Japan, Poland, and India.
When we asked Javier if he noticed other large corporations integrating diversity into their company he expressed that,
“Yes, lots of other companies are beginning to incorporate diversity”
As students that will soon be entering the workforce, this is an optimistic notion that could affect our daily lives at work.
What Advice Do You Have For Students Entering Their Work Life?
Javier advises to young professionals,
“Jump in, explore new things and try everything!”
When Javier first moved to Holland for work, he had a much different experience than when studying abroad. He noticed that when studying, it was much easier to find a network of people around you because, usually, study and social life cross over quite a bit. When working abroad, he explains that he experienced less of the social aspects at first and really had to try to put himself out there.
“I never liked drinking beer, so when a colleague asked to join them for a beer, I apparently then liked drinking beer!”
Javier explains that when he first moved abroad, especially to an expat friendly country such as the Netherlands, it can be daunting to find a social network outside of work. He noticed that when you put yourself out there and try to show people who you really are, that is when a connection begins.
All-in-all, our interview with Javier was very engaging about the hot topic of diversity in the workplace. We were also able to see a successful professionals career path that led him on the somewhat scary journey that is post-graduation to land a job that he loves. With your post-graduation life in mind, check out the Aureus Career Platform to see your possible opportunities!