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Life as a part of McKinsey’s Recovery & Transformation Services practice

– Meet Kristy, a senior vice president in the Philadelphia office, who is excited about the scope, scale and diversity of impact she can have through McKinsey and beyond.

Kristy inline

Interviewer: What brought you to McKinsey’s Recovery & Transformation Services (RTS) practice?

Kristy: I joined RTS nearly four years ago after starting my career in airlines and pharmaceuticals. While in the airline industry, I worked on a restructuring project. I loved the experience because I was able to work across the business and make a major difference in a short amount of time.

Shortly after, a mutual friend introduced me to Doug Yakola, a senior partner at McKinsey. Doug had spent 18 years in executive roles in the airline industry before coming to McKinsey RTS. Doug convinced me to consider RTS; he thought it would be a good next step in my career and foresaw how much I’d love the impact I can have with clients. I’m glad I listened!

In RTS, I focus on helping clients rapidly transform their business to achieve radical performance improvement. Our approach is unique because everything is on the table – including organizational health. Our work often introduces massive change, but my teams and I take the journey with our clients to ensure the new processes are embedded and sustainable. Like athletic coaches, we challenge and support our clients, so we get to see them grow professionally and personally in ways they never imagined.

One of the elements I like most about RTS is the diversity. I routinely work on large-scale projects in a variety of industries with people from many different backgrounds, countries, etc. I have been on teams with as many as 60 consultants who hail from more than 20 countries. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.

Interviewer: Tell us about your most memorable engagement.

Kristy: I have had so many, I don’t know where to start! One engagement that stands out was with a mining company in Australia. I was the engagement manager. I remember sitting down with the clients, who were very nervous about the targets that had been set. As I reviewed the goals, I showed them how they could get 25% more. They were stunned. I will never forget the looks on their faces – as though I had lost my mind. A big part of RTS is challenging and guiding our clients to realize their organization’s full potential, which often exceeds conventional wisdom about what is possible. Fast forward to the end of the transformation: in partnership with our team of six, the clients did deliver the extra 25%. They were proud of themselves – and I was, too. There is nothing better than watching people achieve something they never thought possible.

Interviewer: Tell us about the support you receive at McKinsey.

Kristy: I have gotten meaningful and frequent mentorship from a number of people at McKinsey. I’ve been privileged to have Doug as my sponsor. Sponsorship is the next level of mentoring; a sponsor creates opportunities for you and helps you succeed. Doug has dedicated time to helping me craft my path at McKinsey. He has found roles for me that have helped me stretch myself. He’s coached me along the way and spoken to other firm leaders on my behalf. Doug and I spend at least an hour a month discussing my progress, how I am feeling, and what’s next. Even though I handle a variety of client situations, I always find a way to work with him in some capacity, so he sees me in action and can provide advice.

Interviewer: What are you passionate about outside of work?

Kristy: My husband and I love animals, especially elephants and dogs. We support anti-elephant poaching efforts in Africa and anti-tourism in Asia, which includes adopting and caring for elephants rescued from poachers and elephant riding. We also volunteer to transport dogs from kill shelters to no-kill rescues. Our most recent passengers were a 3-year-old mom and her six four-day-old puppies. I also like to host theme parties. I recently hosted a Vintage Hollywood birthday party, a 1920s speakeasy bridal shower, and an all pink “sip and see” to welcome my new baby niece.