Dan Eckstein, 34
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36 Under 36 (2018)Inter-Cultural Bridge Building

Dan Eckstein, 34

Making Religion a Safe Topic

You’re a Jew who wants to wear your kipa at work, or a Muslim who wants to take some time off on Friday afternoons to attend Jumu’ah worship services at your mosque.

At some workplaces, those practices can be a problem.

At Accenture, a global services consulting company that offers a wide range of strategic services, no problem.

Thanks to Dan Eckstein.

Working in technology and media at the firm’s Manhattan headquarters, he has made it acceptable to discuss — and practice — one’s faith on the job.

An Orthodox Jew who studied at Yeshiva University (B.S. in finance from the Sy Syms School of Business) and at a yeshiva in Israel, Eckstein first became leader of a Jewish employee resource group at his office, one of several special interest networking groups for employees of a variety of religions, ethnic groups, and other interests. There’s an LGBTQ group and even one for atheists.

Then he helped invigorate Accenture’s interfaith employees resource group.

His goal: to make religion a safe topic for the employees, who often have limited contact with each other while working with clients out of the office, and for employers, who often don’t understand workers’ religion-based requests.

His goal: to make religion a safe topic for the employees.

Eckstein has gotten the company to provide kosher food, organized a few ecumenical panel discussions on the topic, created an educational video, organized a multi-faith choir, co-written a blog post with the firm’s chief human resources officer, hosted a few Friday night Shabbat meals to which employees of all faiths were invited, encouraged employees to share stories about their religious faiths, helped organize Muslim and Hindu holiday celebrations, and greatly increased membership in the interfaith employee resource group.

Next: “Religious literacy classes for our employees.”

“There’s a lot of power in building bridges,” Eckstein said. “We want people to bring their whole selves to work.”

His interfaith model has spread to other Accenture offices “globally,” he said, and other firms have approached him for advice.

Full speed ahead: A dedicated jogger, Eckstein hits the road near his home, and when he travels around the world for business. He’s also into spinning. “It’s important to stay in shape,” he said.

@dmeckstein

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