Global Supplier Diversity Manager Che’ McFerrin discusses diversity and inclusion efforts.
When Edwin Bosso founded Myrtle Consulting Group in 2012, he fulfilled a lifelong dream. Bosso started his Houston-based industrial operations consulting firm with diversity at its heart and soul. An African American, he encouraged uniqueness and diversity in his company’s culture. In fact, Bosso said that when he was searching for a name for his company, “I was looking for a company name, but instead, I found a soul.”
Now, Myrtle’s expanding its reach even more, and bringing its distinctive energy to Accenture, one of the world’s leading professional services companies. Accenture acquired Myrtle Consulting Group in October 2020. This milestone moment will transform Bosso’s company from around 150 employees to one in Accenture that has more than 506,000 employees worldwide and serves clients in over 120 countries. Myrtle focuses on operational transformation with manufacturing, processing and distribution organizations, and primarily works with the consumer products, oil and gas, and construction and utilities industries.
Echoing the focus on diversity at Myrtle, another partner is African American. Myrtle’s workforce is also 28% female and 37% are from minority groups. “This is one of the ultimate success stories that we talk about in the supplier diversity space for minority-owned businesses—selling your company,” says Myrtle’s Global Supplier Diversity Manager Che’ McFerrin. She shares Accenture has been focusing on diversity for quite some time, and its acquisition of Myrtle is a testament to that. The current CEO of Accenture is a woman, Julie Sweet, and the firm is vocal about its dedication to diversity and inclusion, taking a stand against racism, supporting persons with disabilities and embracing the LGBT+ community.
McFerrin believes “diversity breeds innovation, creativity and agility, all unique elements that you don’t seem to get if you have the same people with the same thoughts working on the same thing.” Aside from hiring diverse employees, Myrtle has taken other steps to ensure its workplace is more diverse and inclusive. McFerrin assumed her role in 2018 and has since started a women’s initiative to help with recruitment, retention and growth for women in the consulting space.
“We’re making sure that everyone who comes to Myrtle has an opportunity to succeed,” she says. “We provide them with the right resources, knowledge base and connections within the organization to put them on a path to success.” Despite Myrtle’s focus on gender diversity, McFerrin voices challenges experienced by herself and her team in representing their organization. “Myrtle was always ahead of the curve or at least equal to what is the U.S. standard in terms of women’s averages in organizations,” she says. “However, overall women may not know about the consulting field, so they don’t pursue it as a career as much as men do.”
McFerrin and her colleagues aimed to build camaraderie with other women at Myrtle by hosting an ongoing virtual book club, to discuss books, articles and podcasts related to women in their careers. The group also does philanthropic work and was gearing up to announce a mentor-mentee program prior to the acquisition. Thanks to Myrtle, McFerrin says the perception of people in the consulting space has changed. “One of the things our clients appreciate is our diverse workforce that brings unique ideas to the table,” she says. “Our diverse group of people provides fresh solutions that many clients haven’t seen before.”
Now Myrtle will be presenting that same distinctive approach at Accenture. “Because we have such creative and different thought leaders, we’re always reinvigorating our solutions. We all share different perspectives to reach the ultimate unique outcome that solves clients’ challenges.” With the acquisition, Myrtle will also be bringing its strong company values to the Accenture family.
“Myrtle has built its stripes on our respect values that have been embedded into our organization,” she shares. “It’s something we’ve held true to since the company was founded. When Myrtle was created, we put together our organizational values and we review them regularly. Our respect values are always embedded and promoted.”