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Transferring to my third continent

– Hi everyone,

Greetings from my new home in Chicago! This is my biggest news in a while, so I’ll share some details about how this move came about.

Deciding to move to North America

Right after being promoted to Associate Partner, I took most of the summer off and lived in Germany. I had been designated AP on a very entrepreneurial platform, but when I returned to work after the summer there was not a lot of work for me in Europe. I ended up doing a lot of short projects that were four weeks or less, which is really challenging as an AP. There’s not a lot of time to get to know the client, and the pace (from creating the “LOP,” or letter of proposal, to starting and to completing the project) is somewhat frenetic and stressful. Even though the work I was doing was interesting and exciting, I knew I needed to work more consistently with fewer clients to progress with my program.

Viewing a special spider exhibit in Australia

In January, our European EPNG (electric, power, natural gas) practice’s leadership held an offsite event for all of the APs in the practice. In speaking with some of the Senior Partners there, I heard that there were a lot of opportunities in North America and Japan for APs in the practice. (Simultaneously, my boyfriend—who is half German and half American—was making plans for a move to the US.)

On a long weekend in the Austrian mountains

In February, I was called by a Senior Partner in California who needed an engagement director for two months, so I jumped at that opportunity. From there, things started to fall into place. Back in the fall, I had completed a solar project for a Canadian utility company, and that client returned for more work. Another European client of mine was merging with a US company and engaged us to support them. Suddenly, I had three clients in North America.

We decided on Chicago for a few reasons. First and foremost, my boyfriend (whose father’s family is from Chicago) decided to return to the academic life and do a degree at Northwestern. For me, Chicago is a strategically easy city to base myself. The head of our North American EPNG practice is based in Chicago. There are many major energy companies in Chicago and the Midwest region. And the city is in the middle of North America with two big airports, so it’s fairly easy to travel.

The view from my new apartment in Chicago

We found an apartment over Easter weekend and just moved in—now I’m just waiting for my stuff to arrive from London. My ambition once I’m settled in here is to develop local clients and travel less frequently. There are a lot of potential clients in and around the Chicago area, so I am hopeful that this will be a great move for me.

Contributing to the global climate change conversation

Back in February, I organized and moderated our inaugural panel discussion on the implications of climate change for our future as a global community and as business leaders. Panelists—all climate change experts—shared the latest scientific research on climate change resulting from human activities and their views on the potential impact these changes could have. It was a great event attended by many of our clients, who know the world is changing and want to figure out how to contribute positively. And just a few weeks ago I spent three days in Stockholm for our annual Sustainability & Resource Productivity conference, where we discussed future trends and sustainability in general.

Travel for fun

Outside of work and moving, I enjoyed a wonderful holiday break with my boyfriend in the winter. We travelled to Australia, Thailand, and Singapore. We particularly loved spending time in Sydney. We sublet an apartment from a former colleague of mine, which had gorgeous views of the bay, and saw an amazing circus at the Sydney Opera House.

In the last few months, we’ve also had a few mini-trips in the Austrian mountains, in California (Sonoma valley), in Berlin, and in the Black Forest in the southern Germany / Alsace region.

At the Opera House in Sydney

Now I am plotting our summer holiday plans, which include Guatemala and either the Yucatan or Belize! I can’t wait.

I’ll be in touch in a few months to let you know how things are going in Chicago!


About the blogger

Associate Partner


Kimberly’s expertise in environmental science and economic policy has carried her from nonprofit work in South Africa to an associate position in McKinsey’s São Paulo office to a secondment with the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. Now an associate partner based in our Chicago office, she is a committed member of our cleantech practice, following her passion for renewable energy and addressing climate change. Interested in more on this topic? Follow Kimberly on LinkedIn and Twitter.