‘I grew up in Romania. Both my twin sister and I decided to go to military high school at the age of fourteen. I had my first taste of professional life working at the Ministry of Defense in Romania – for someone with a military background it seemed like a logical step. After three years of combining that job with a Master’s in Engineering, I joined Accenture Romania to work on Networks and Security. Looking for my next challenge, I left Accenture to work freelance, then joined NATO in Brussels as a project coordinator.’
When I’m asked why I returned to Accenture, my answer is simple: the people!
‘Although NATO is a wonderful institution to work for – I was missing something. I found myself longing for a dynamic environment where I could learn and grow. That’s when I noticed a vacancy in the Infrastructure Services department at Accenture Belgium. I was very impressed by the fact that in Belgium, unlike Romania, there is an Infrastructure team. I immediately decided to apply! But most of all, when I’m asked why I returned to Accenture, my answer is simple: the people!’
‘Working at Accenture is a continuous growth curve. Being involved in a wide variety of projects encourages you to adapt and be flexible. I have never stopped evolving. Over the years, I’ve been involved in Data Center support activities and troubleshooting as well as infrastructure activities, but also security architecture and architecting Public Key Infrastructure (encryption and digital signature services) for telecom clients. One day I can be focusing on a specific technology, the next my focus can shift completely.’
‘At present, I’m managing the delivery of two Infrastructure and Application Architecture projects at the EU institutions. On a day-to-day basis I’m involved on both a technical and functional level, meaning I need to understand the technicalities but also manage people and timelines. Accenture is leading the project consortium, so – next to coordinating the Accenture team leads – an additional challenge lies in managing the project coordinators at the other companies partnering with us. What I love most about this job are precisely those challenges, working with people and being able to add value to a project.’
I felt like I came from the jungle!
‘One of the most difficult choices I’ve ever made was quitting the army after 10 years and moving to the private sector. I was shocked to discover just how different life was; I felt like I came from the jungle! However, I still love some of the military principles: being part of a team, doing your best to help your team to succeed… I still apply these principles in my career today.’
‘I was always one of just a few women in the military, and in the military IT world, there were even fewer. That’s where my drive to encourage more women to join IT originates. Outside of my project work, I belong to Accenture’s Inclusion & Diversity team. One of our goals is to attract more women to join our Infrastructure and Security teams. Although IT is still a male-dominated world, I’m living proof of how women can be successful in it as well! My aim is to set an example by being positive. We already have three women in our Infrastructure team, which I think is a promising trend for the future. I’m also a member of our Strengths Program, a network of experts who help Accenture teams to reinforce their strengths-based culture, facilitating strengths overviews and other related activities in Belgium & Luxembourg, both proactively or on demand. This initiative is very close to my heart because I truly believe we can be better each day by using our strengths.’
These kinds of activities bring you positive energy and personal fulfillment
‘While I was working for Accenture Romania I led our Corporate Citizenship activities. I was determined to continue this somehow after joining the Belgian office, because I’m convinced that these kinds of activities bring you positive energy and personal fulfillment.’
‘For example, I’m still actively involved in OvidiuRo, a Romanian NGO focusing on education. The goal of this organization is to encourage children to learn as early as possible; everything begins with a good education. Romania struggles with poverty, and many parents cannot afford to send their children to preschool. These underprivileged children miss out on several years of education. I am convinced that being schooled from a young age really matters – actually, I believe it’s a basic human right that we should fight for. Through this NGO we are able to introduce these children to basic technology, online skills, etc. This project is a wonderful way to use my passion for IT to have a social impact. I’m glad I can give something back to people who need it the most.’
Even in the purely technical realm of Infrastructure projects, communication is key
‘It may sound like a cliché, but the most difficult part of a job in IT is showing empathy. My colleagues and I are so used to being surrounded by computers all the time, that it’s tempting to forget that in the end we are dealing with people. Even when they are doing fancy technical programming, people in IT are real people, with real emotions. When you are talking to a client or team member, you need to show empathy. You need to be open to understand the “why” behind certain actions. Contrary to what some may think, the IT world is truly amazing and full of wonderful people. Some IT problems, however technical they might be, can only be solved by talking to each other, face to face. So, even in the purely technical realm of Infrastructure projects, communication is key. And that is exactly where the challenge lies: to try and apply our soft skills in the IT world.’
My greatest ambition is to inspire other women in IT to keep following their dreams
‘If you are lucky to have a job you like, a healthy work/life balance will automatically follow. I practice yoga to relax, but if really want to escape, I read. Losing yourself in a story is amazing; a good book can transport you to a different world. Listening to Irish folk music has a similar effect on me – just hearing those melodies transports me somewhere else.’
‘Meanwhile, I keep reinventing myself, because I believe life is a continuous journey towards becoming a better you. I am convinced that each day we can learn something from every person we meet, and everything we do. We all make mistakes but what matters in the end is what we learn from them. Accenture feeds my appetite for the new. It’s the perfect place for someone who is curious. Also, it’s hard to get bored because of the constant influx of new people, new projects, new challenges, new solutions… As well as growing in my own career, my greatest ambition is to inspire other women in IT to keep following their dreams.’
Iulia Mursa (1988)
Studied: IT and Engineering
Started working at Accenture: I joined Accenture Belgium in July 2017, but I had worked for Accenture before in Romania
Relationship status: Married
Loves: My husband, my twin sister, my little sister, and my family in Romania
Gets annoyed by: People who claim they ‘don’t care’, when actually they really do (a lot)
Favorite food: Indian cuisine
On my nightstand: A good book
Listens to: Jazz and Irish folk music – I just love the vibe that kind of music gives off; it always takes me on a journey
Would like to sit next to on a plane: Oprah Winfrey; she’s such a powerful, courageous, optimistic, driven woman, and a true inspiration. Moreover, sitting next to her would allow me to access stories about everyone who’s anyone – she must be able to write a book on them!
Life-changing event(s): My switch to the private sector after 10 years in the military
Best lesson life has taught me: You don’t know yourself until you challenge yourself!
What I learned last week: How to deploy a virtual machine using Puppet and Ansible (configuration and remote execution tools)
Most beautiful place on earth: As a present to myself for my 30th birthday I will be travelling to Greece and Tibet and I’m convinced both places will be gorgeous
Hobbies/passions: I love reading everything except science fiction; through stories you can discover different worlds. I also enjoy flower arranging, writing, hiking and travelling
What nobody knows about me: I have been writing poetry since I was a teenager, and some of my work has been published by friends
Life motto: If people tell you that you won’t succeed, it often actually means they can’t do it themselves… Basically: if you want something, go get it!