In Conversation with Athena McKevitt
What did you do previously in your career, and what made you choose the independent path?
After working as an engineer for a couple of years, I made the switch into strategy consulting at L.E.K. before working in commercial and strategy roles in industry.
I wish I could say it was a considered choice to move into independent consulting but, in reality, I fell into it after returning from 6 months travelling! I wanted to take the opportunity to think about my next move, but then discovered that independent consulting suited me as a career.
What are the main other activities you do alongside your consulting projects?
Independent consulting has really allowed me to achieve the work/life balance I desired. I can follow my passion for travelling and have been all over the world for extended periods of time. It’s also enabled me to live outside London while continuing to deliver interesting and challenging work.
And what are the most fulfilling aspects of what you do?
I really appreciate the variety of projects and sectors that I work in. There is also something intrinsically different about choosing a project rather than being staffed on one that brings a real sense of ownership and commitment to the role.
As an independent consultant, why do you choose to work with Eden McCallum?
The quality and range of opportunities that Eden McCallum delivers is fantastic, but what sets it apart for me is the project approach and the people. Eden McCallum works hard to understand what the client really wants and needs. This means we are working towards defined goals with a clear pathway, rather than being an interim back fill. The consultants I have worked with at Eden McCallum have great experience and skills but are also just fun to work with. And the advantage of having access to a group of bright, highly motivated and engaged analysts is priceless.
What have been some of the high points in your work with Eden McCallum?
I’ve had a number of repeat clients through Eden McCallum. It is always exciting to see the impact the work we do has had, and to be able to push it to the next level.
I think some of the best experiences have been when we have found ways to reveal the client’s company to them, so they see it in a new light. This can be through analysing their data from a different perspective or by coming at an issue from a fresh view point. The value of an unbiased, new perspective should never be underestimated.
What would you say are some of the characteristics of a successful independent consultant? Any advice for those considering this path?
Independent consulting involves “starting again” frequently, so you have to be comfortable with establishing yourself and getting up to speed on new situations quickly.
Learning how to take advantage of the flexibility independence brings and making sure to strike the balance you want will really bring dividends.