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Nora Gardner

Senior PartnerWashington DC

Combines technical expertise with a passion for people, advising clients on issues of organizational change and talent management across the public, private, and social sectors.

Nora is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Washington, DC office, specializing in organizational change and talent management. She supports clients across the public, private, and social sectors, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, scientific agencies, and defense.

Nora combines technical expertise with a passion for people, as a client leader and sought-after mentor within McKinsey. With a PhD in biochemistry from Duke University and a BS in biochemistry from North Carolina State University, she brings a unique blend of scientific rigor and organizational expertise.

Nora is deeply committed to community engagement and founded the office’s social-impact group, which connects consultants to pro bono work and other service projects at local not for profits.

Nora was named “Working Mother of the Year” by Working Mother magazine in 2015.

Published work

Transforming public sector hiring with data-enabled talent ‘win rooms’,” McKinsey & Company, July 2023

Making government an even better place for women to work,” McKinsey & Company, May 2023

Effective employee resource groups are key to inclusion at work. Here’s how to get them right,” McKinsey & Company, December 2022

What workers want is changing. That could be good for government,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

For many Americans, economic opportunity seems increasingly out of reach,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

Stepping up, but risking burnout: Women leaders in the public and social sectors in 2021,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

Building the tech talent pipeline,” McKinsey & Company, December 2019

A pivotal moment for the Senior Executive Service: Measures, aspirational practices and stories of success, McKinsey & Company and Partnership for Public Service, June 2016

What social sector leaders need to succeed,” McKinsey & Company, November 2014

Building the leadership bench: Developing a talent pipeline for the Senior Executive Service,” (PDF–448 KB), McKinsey & Company and Partnership for Public Service, July 2013

Past experience

National Institutes of Health
AAAS science policy fellow

National Institutes of Health
postdoctoral fellow


Duke University
PhD, biochemistry

North Carolina State University
BS, biochemistry