Cognizant Bolsters Women Leaders & Strengthens Gender Diversity in Its Leadership Pipeline

Cognizant logo
CLIENT:Cognizant, a multinational information technology services and consulting company
LOCATION:Headquartered in Teaneck, NJ
SIZE:Over 318,000 employees

Client Profile & Challenge

Cognizant is a leading global business and technology consultancy serving many Global 2000 clients. In a rapidly accelerating digital landscape, the company is executing a bold agenda and helping clients use technology to improve everyday lives.

The organization recognizes that people are its most important asset, and as a result, strives to cultivate an inclusive work environment in which all employees are engaged, feel valued, and have the opportunity to develop and succeed.

“Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is essential to every organization that needs to deeply understand and serve its customers,” says Brian Humphries, Chief Executive Officer at Cognizant.

“Inclusion and diversity are key components to creating conditions for everyone to thrive. Our Propel program does just that by accelerating gender diversity globally in the leadership pipeline,” adds Shameka Young, Chief Diversity Officer at Cognizant, on the key driver to initiate the Propel program.

“One focus area is supporting gender diversity, and levelling the playing field for women in tech careers around the world. The company has made significant progress in setting and committing to gender goals that invest in women through training, mentorship, and professional development.”

Cognizant Propel CCL Case Study


In partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)®, Cognizant’s Leadership Development Academy designed its signature women’s leadership development program, Propel, for mid- and senior-level women leaders across the globe. A journey that began in 2018, the program was collaboratively designed to accelerate a diverse leadership pipeline and enable women business leaders to thrive and succeed in a digital era.

“It has been an exhilarating experience to have over 1,000 of our trailblazing women leaders go through the Propel program. We partnered with the Center for Creative Leadership to create this development journey that has helped us build a community of women leaders which supports and celebrates one another,” shares Sreedevi Palit, Solution Architect and Program Manager of Propel. 

The 3-month Propel experience includes: 

  • Expert sessions with CCL faculty, aligned to themes enabling women leaders to amplify their leadership brand, enhance executive presence, and expanding their strategic networks;
  • Mentoring support;
  • Peer networking and access to internal and external leaders and thought leaders; and
  • Building a community of women that supports and celebrates one another.

With a sharpened focus on global gender diversity in their leadership pipeline, Cognizant pledged to MAKERS – a global organization dedicated to inspiring change-makers of tomorrow – to put 1,000 high-performing women in leadership levels through Propel by the end of 2021. 



In the fall of 2019, much ahead of its pledged timeline, Cognizant achieved the target of sending 1,000+ high-performing women leaders through the Propel initiative. The company’s targeted approach around D&I ensures diverse employees not only feel welcome, but also have the support and opportunities they need to advance in the company.

Propel has fostered a community of over 1,000 women to fuel even stronger careers and collectively uplift the performance of Cognizant. Propel graduates often experience career advancement at a significantly higher pace compared to others in a similar talent pool, and the program creates a growing community of women who support and celebrate one another. 

Participants Say

“Propel is an empowering journey that focuses on authentic, people-centered leadership. It is a phase of self-reflection that creatively transforms and instills the vision of one’s own brand and value to the organization.”

Partner With Us

We can work with you to develop a custom women’s leadership development program designed to equip women who are already proven leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to have greater impact and broader influence within their organizations. 

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