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From the Midwest to the West Coast

– Hi everyone,

Happy New Year! Great to be back with a new blog post—this time with the latest on my client, office and personal happenings.

From the Midwest to the West Coast

Right after my last post, I signed on for a second phase of my client engagement, which took me through the end of the year. Most of the team changed for the second phase, but it was still a really fun group of people and we continued to lead and support our client through a new approach to certain activities. It was hugely satisfying to watch and help them persevere and transform through the (at times, very challenging) changes.

A "reindeer selfie" with my team

I managed to wrap up my work in the Midwest right before the real winter came (thank goodness!)…and I confirmed my next project starting in the new year on the West Coast—a much more tolerable winter location for an Australian! They’re a new client for the firm, and an extremely prominent player in the retail / consumer space. I’m super excited to be working with this company for a few reasons. For starters, their brand is one that I respect immensely. Additionally, people really are at the core of their values and culture—like McKinsey—so we have a very strong cultural alignment. Oh, and I’m totally loving the West Coast. My only challenge is the transcontinental travel…which I am slowly figuring out how to manage. At this stage my solution is to only fly back every two to three weeks, and when I do come back to NYC, to keep living on Pacific Time (although that’s way easier said than done!).

Following my food passion

Anyone who knows me knows I’m pretty obsessed with food. My parents used to own a restaurant and I grew up on a fruit farm back in Australia, so food is quite deeply rooted in me. Being able to combine this passion with my work and clients is something that always excites me. In this sense, it has been awesome to direct my path at McKinsey. When I moved to the US and joined McKinsey, I hadn’t done any work in food (let alone consumer), but I knew that’s what I wanted to try. Now I’ve spent the last year working almost exclusively in the food space, and I’m able to reflect on this cool journey.

Alaska's Northern Lights

A few things that have helped me direct this ‘food’ path (whether it be consumer, retail or logistics). First, talking with my professional development manager (PDM) and other mentors / colleagues to help me understand what study options are out there, and which ones would best fit my interests was so helpful. Second, making the right connections with the right people—and keeping those connections alive even after a study wraps—was crucial. On my first food-related engagement, I worked with an awesome associate principal (AP) who is devoted to consumer work in the operations space (perfectly aligned with my interests!). I hit it off with this AP and we stayed in touch (he’s one of my mentors now). He ended up staffing me on another subsequent engagement, also in the food space. Once I completed that project, I had two food engagements under my belt and a good connection to the network of colleagues working in this area, which snowballed me into my projects thereafter. Also, it goes without saying, but working hard to deliver on clients’ requirements and needs has been imperative (and solving tough, complex problems is super fun!).

Recruiting and ‘All In’
Dogsledding

As I mentioned in my last post, I was looking forward to participating in our recruiting season, which goes from the early fall through the winter. It was super hectic, but I really loved it! Interviewing is so fun and always a humbling experience given the caliber of candidates we see. I’m continuing to interview outside of campus season, for experienced professional candidates (like I was) in operations.

On another note, I am part of a group within the Stamford office working on our office’s ‘All In’ initiative. This initiative is similar to the ‘HeForShe’ approach to gender equality, which engages male and female colleagues around the world to address implicit biases, policies, and processes. There are a number of sub-projects within the initiative, and I am working with a colleague on enhancing the support provided by our formal mentors. It has been quite insightful to explore this topic and I’m looking forward to how we integrate and roll-out the learnings from our work. If you're interested in learning more about McKinsey's commitment to gender equality, check out our HeForShe 10x10x10 Corporate Impact Champion profile here, and read about some of the latest initiatives from our firm-wide 'All In' effort here.

Travel and my American bucket list

I was fortunate enough to go back home to Australia for Christmas—it was great to spend time and catch up with my family and friends…and relish the summer sun ;-)

At the Chena Hot Springs

More recently, being staffed on the West Coast has helped me check off more items from my American bucket list. I’ve been able to plan several weekend trips since I frequently stay on the West Coast, the most recent being a trip to Alaska with a few of my teammates. Highlights included seeing the northern lights (a must, must, must see!), dogsledding with Siberian huskies, chillaxing in the natural outdoor hot springs (in the middle of snow-laden rocks), and taking selfies with reindeer. It was a weekend I definitely won’t forget!

Until next time!

Cheers,

Denise

About the blogger

Denise
Engagement Manager

Denise

Originally from Australia, Denise joined our Stamford office in the fall of 2014 as an experienced hire, and transferred to the Seattle office in the fall of 2016. She's served a wide range of clients in her consulting career and is now focused on food companies in the consumer, retail, and logistics industries. Denise holds degrees in commerce and economics from the University of Queensland. She has lots of personal interests, including cooking, restaurant-exploring, anything outdoors, playing the saxophone, keeping up with the latest on entrepreneurship and gender issues, and exploring her new home country with family and friends.