Partner, BearingPoint Ireland
Organisations must be diverse, inclusive and flexible to meet the needs and expectations of their clients and their employees, say two female leaders in the consulting industry.
What’s exciting about consulting — insists Claudia Carr, Partner at multinational management and technology consulting firm, BearingPoint Ireland — is that every day is different. “It’s an industry that involves constant learning and development to support a varied range of clients,” she says. “It’s endlessly fascinating.”
Helen Crooks, a Senior Manager in Carr’s team, agrees. She joined the company over 15 years ago as a graduate straight from college. “Consulting is so interesting and challenging,” she says.
She values flexibility and acknowledges it works two ways — as both a reward and a challenge when an extra push is required to get something across the line.
“There aren’t many jobs where you get to embed yourself in the different worlds of your various clients. But we do. I’ve worked on everything from short-term strategies for financial companies to multi-year transformational programmes with public sector clients.”
Consulting is a flexible industry that values its employees. “It’s not healthy to bombard people with work,” says Carr. “Apart from being stressful, it also impacts their performance. We want to create a happy environment that offers colleagues interesting and stimulating work — but also gives them their own space and time.”
Consulting is a flexible industry that values its employees.Claudia Carr
A hybrid working culture
That’s been a big plus for Crooks who has two, young daughters and enjoys making the most of hybrid working opportunities. She says: “Hybrid working has improved my work/life balance enormously. I’ve been able to cut down on commuting or — if I’m in the office or with a client — get back in time for dinner with the family.” She cites time management and communication as essential to make this work.
“Because I work in a dynamic environment, I know it’s important to plan so that my team can function when I’m not physically there,” she says. “I find everyone — colleagues and clients — very respectful and supportive of my working arrangements.”
A diverse perspective
Sometimes, there’s no substitute for being in the office. “It’s hard to foster personal relationships virtually,” admits Carr. It’s why she makes sure that new joiners have the chance to make in-person connections.
Consulting offers one other big benefit for Carr and Crooks: their team is diverse and inclusive. “That’s critical,” explains Carr. “It means we all have different experiences and perspectives which help us broaden our approach and better understand our clients’ needs.”