I’m an engagement manager in Chicago with a passion for applying data and analytics in the public sector, and integrating design thinking into customer and citizen experience. Outside of work, I love modifying retro video game hardware, landscape photography, and hiking with my dog.
I’ve had a pretty winding career path, straddling different creative and analytical roles. I studied finance and philosophy in college, and began my career in entertainment, designing digital content for Columbia Records artists. I also worked in film financing and distribution and was part of a film production company. Eventually, I joined McKinsey in Los Angeles as a business analyst. After a two-year whirlwind of trying everything I could, I joined the Product Development practice (part of the Operations practice) and moved to Boston to be with my now wife.
TRUST FROM DAY ONE
When I first joined McKinsey, I was shocked by how much my opinion mattered and was respected. Barely a month into my time at the firm, I interviewed the CEO of my client for a strategy study. I quickly became the expert on how he was feeling, and partners would ask me how best to approach him on certain topics. It created more pressure than being told what to do, but I immediately knew how much my teams valued and trusted me. I later left the firm for more than four years to gain experience as a manager and complete the MMM Program at Northwestern, before returning to McKinsey Digital in Chicago in 2018.
PEOPLE AT THE FIRM
Since returning, the question I get the most is why I came back. The clearest and most important reason is the people. I’ve worked in the public and private sectors, entertainment, and big tech. The people and teams at McKinsey are unrivaled in their passion for problem solving, commitment to serving others, and ability to coach and develop others. Even more importantly, I always feel like those around me genuinely care for my well-being.
McKinsey colleagues are eager to learn from each other. I was once designing an experience for a client, working with an architect, experience designer, content strategist, UI/UX designer, and more. As we went through the experience, the roles started to blend. As the design team got more comfortable with the digital technologies we were describing, they started going beyond design to set a vision for the client; as I immersed myself in the design, I used the opportunity to help with wireframing, copywriting, and video production. The clients see this “all hands on deck” effort and know we’re really striving to reach the best solution.
One extremely important lesson I’ve learned in my five years at McKinsey is that if you ask for something, as long as you have a good reason, everyone will go out of their way to try to make it happen. I’ve experienced this support countless times: when I moved offices, switched from the Operations to the Digital Practice, and needed to take a lot of time off in the middle of a very busy engagement to care for my family members.
The clearest illustration of that lies in the daily support I’ve received from my teams to manage my Cerebral Palsy. During my first stint at the firm as a business analyst, I often tried to hide my condition and needs as best I could, afraid I would be unduly judged or seen as unreliable. As time went on, my physical condition suffered as a result.
Fortunately, I grew in my time away from McKinsey, and since I returned in 2018, I’ve shared more with my colleagues about my condition. In turn, they have over-delivered in terms of support. My teammates and leaders actively make sure I am taking care of myself, and whenever I have a need, they meet it, whether that’s an extra hour at night to stretch, or two weeks away for medical procedures. I have had so many inspiring experiences in the last two years of colleagues putting my health ahead of all other concerns. This is where the Access McKinsey network comes in. It is a place to ask questions. It is a community of reinforcement that allows me to feel even more confident that I am not alone, and I can confide in, support, and seek support from those who may have had a similar experience. McKinsey’s support of my needs is a huge reason why I have been here so many years; it is unlike anything I’ve seen in other organizations.