What did you do previously in your career, and what made you choose the independent path?
After university I joined Arthur D. Little as a strategy consultant. There, I spent a few years working across a diverse range of projects, including a memorable stint in Romania. I then left to work with a business-facing charity where my focus was to help businesses develop strategies to support social enterprise. Some of these social enterprises were incredibly inspiring…so much so that I went on to set up my own social enterprise. When I decided to move back into consulting, I knew that having control over my own time was important to me, and so the independent path was definitely the right choice.
What are the main other activities you do alongside your consulting projects?
I operate as a full-time independent consultant. Outside of work I’m passionate about travel and try to do a couple of big trips every year. Also, currently a lot of my spare time at the moment is taken up with ‘wedmin’ as I’m getting married in 2018 – before this I never would have thought it possible to devote so much time to conversations about colour schemes and canapes! I’m enjoying it though.
And what are the most fulfilling aspects of what you do?
My degree was in engineering and I thrive on problem solving. On all of my Eden McCallum projects, I’ve been fortunate to work with incredibly smart, experienced and interesting people and solve complex problems together. I’ve also worked very closely with client team members, which has meant seeing our work and recommendations put into practice – often immediately – rather than have them sit in lengthy strategy documents, wondering if anyone will ever read them. My work also allows me to focus on getting the best results for the client without having to worry about on-selling or up-selling.
As an independent consultant, why do you choose to work with Eden McCallum?
In addition to having great people on their books and offering an interesting range of projects, Eden McCallum also have a very supportive team who are not afraid of being ‘hands-on’ with projects if necessary.
What have been some of the high points in your work with Eden McCallum?
Professionally, my best experience was working with people from across a restaurant group to build a new labour scheduling tool. This included working closely with the operators and end-users as well as the IT developer and executive team. Building something that worked for everyone across the business was extremely fulfilling. A few personal highlights have also included touring UK hotels to meet operators, which involved ice-cream on the beach in Brighton, watching an air show in Yeovil and getting lost in football crowds in Bolton.
How does working with Eden McCallum differ from working within a traditional consulting firm?
With Eden McCallum I get much more control and choice over which projects I take on. It sounds clichéd but you really are in control of your own destiny.
In what ways is working with teams of independent consultants different from working in a traditional consulting setting?
Every project I work on for Eden McCallum is brand new and a complete reset. You start with a blank slate – new team, new client. You can focus in or work on as broad a set of projects as you like. Starting from scratch can be a challenge as you have to prove yourself again to a new team, but it keeps you on your toes!
What would you say are some of the characteristics of a successful independent consultant? Any advice for those considering this path?
As an independent consultant you need to be resilient, self-starting and confident in your ambitions. My biggest advice is to be selective about what you pick. Not every project will be right for everybody.