Alexis Krivkovich

This Women’s History Month, we’re chatting with McKinsey leaders about their role as women in the workplace and beyond. Today, we’ll hear from Alexis Krivkovich, a senior partner who leads McKinsey’s Bay Area office and our financial technology work in North America. For more Q&As throughout the month, bookmark this page.

Tell us about a career-defining moment.

One defining moment for me actually occurred very early in my career at McKinsey. It was a unique opportunity I had to help a client through a very complex, industry-defining merger. After months of preparation for a big, culminating moment, the client worked their way through the experience of the summit and came out on the other side.

At the end, the CEO, as part of their close, actually turned to us and thanked us for being their partner, and went name by name through each of us who’d been part of the team on this long journey with them, and described what we each brought to the equation that was so valuable. I remember having this moment where I thought, “Wow, not only can I have a seat in this room, but I have this opportunity to be a counselor and a partner to an organization through one of their most defining moments.”

For me it was really profound, because it both highlighted the impact that we could have in a really unique context, but also what I, as an individual, could bring that someone could quickly see as valuable and additive to an incredible team they already have inside the organization.

What are you most proud of?

I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built with Women in the Workplace. When we first started on this journey of bringing a fact base to the question of how to ensure all great talent rises in organizations, I honestly had no idea what we were signing up for or what we could achieve.

But I see now how this is used as the definitive dataset that companies individually use to make decisions, that academic institutions use to guide research, and that we use to have the conversation in the public discourse about how to ensure we’re getting the best of all our great talent, and in particular, ensuring our female talent sees the same opportunities that men do. And I could not be more proud of what we’ve achieved.

What’s a big or surprising lesson you’ve learned as a woman in the workplace?

One lesson for me as a woman in the workplace through my career has been recognizing that a lot of the things that have felt like obstacles, and they aren’t there because someone decided to put up a barrier, but they are there because they’re the residual, afterthought or unmanaged outcome of just a whole series of choices that preceded even my arriving in to the workforce.

So the perpetual mindset of being willing to challenge the norm, to question why things are happening the way they are, to rigorously think through, “Well, should we be doing it a different way if we’re not getting the outcome we want?”

It has been a constant reminder to me that a huge part of what I feel like I’m here to do, and so many women are here to do, is to look at the situation and say, “Well, wait a minute, if this doesn’t look right then what do we need to do to change it?”

How do you stay energized?

It can be incredibly hard, as a woman operating in the workplace—and in my case also being a mother with three young daughters, trying to have a full life inside and outside of work—to feel like you can keep your energy in check.

I really focus on a couple of things. The first is I’m really structured in how I think about my days. All hours of the day are not created equal. When I had young kids, I realized if I couldn’t get home by 6:00 I couldn’t see them before they went to bed, except in the middle of the night when they woke up needing something.

I’m really thoughtful about how I think about the day, about how I’m trying to have impact, and how I balance that across all the different needs. Then I make sure that I’m protecting the time, which for me is about family and downtime together. So I keep a very unstructured weekend. That’s honestly mostly about hanging out and recharging and having some fun.

What advice do you have for women in their professional journeys?

My biggest piece of advice to those starting out is to not overly fixate on what you see in front of you as being the definition of what’s possible for you. When I entered the workforce, I saw so many talented women and diverse talent coming into the workforce with me, but I didn’t see them every time I looked into the leadership at companies.

If I had taken that as a signal of what was possible, I would’ve lowered my ambition relative to what it should and could be. For everyone out there, you need to be actually part of the movement that changes the picture. That doesn’t just mean representation, it also means all different types of leaders who bring different skills. I often tell my clients, “If you’ve got 11 people around the table who all think the same, look the same, and act the same, you only need one to make that decision. But if you meet around the table as people that bring diverse perspectives and experiences, you’ll get better answers because everyone will bring something different.” That’s always my encouragement to everyone who’s striking out at this moment: Think about the thing you bring that’s not the same as everybody else you see in front of you but is actually the difference.


Women in the Workplace 2022

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