We sat down with Credera’s newest partner, Kevin McDonald, to learn more about his journey to Credera and his plans for Credera’s Houston office.
Kevin McDonald joined Credera in Houston on Nov. 15 as vice president and partner. In this role, Kevin has organizational responsibility for leading Credera’s market growth strategy, consulting operations, our talented team of consulting professionals, and philanthropic efforts in the community for the greater Houston area.
Kevin’s background includes nearly 20 years of consulting and technology experience with leadership roles at Sparkhound, Catapult Systems, and Microsoft. Kevin brings a unique management consulting and technology skillset to Credera with a pedigree of helping clients develop and implement sales and marketing strategies, compensation programs and effectiveness, business and IT alignment, cloud strategies, analytics and business intelligence, and custom application development solutions. We are thrilled to welcome him to the Credera family.
What led to your decision to join Credera?
I was not actively looking for a new role, but the Credera opportunity seemed different from the other consulting or technology leadership roles I am often presented with.
From the outside looking in, the firm’s capabilities seemed like many other consulting firms across the country. After doing a fair amount of research and talking to people in my network who knew of Credera, there were a few consistent themes that peaked my interest: amazing culture, fun place to work, high talent bar, etc. I can say from the inside looking out now, that all of these are true and Credera is a special place.
I was excited by the opportunity to lead Credera’s Houston office, work alongside the other partners, and build into the great Houston team, but what really pushed me over the edge was an experience I had during my first trip to Dallas.
When I went to Dallas for final interviews, I had a very full trip. Walking the halls of the Credera office, consultants would walk up to me and introduce themselves, asking me if I was new to the firm, what my name was, what client and project I was working on, what I like to do outside of work, etc. They had no idea who I was or why I was even in Dallas. They were just being themselves and their genuine welcome was refreshing, different, and very special.
To me, culture is found in actions not words. The tipping point for me was when I tangibly experienced that the culture I was told about during my interview process was genuine. I look forward to continue building a team in Houston that exudes the same kindness, professionalism, and humility that is indicative of Credera’s values, one that makes every client, colleague, or recruit feel just as valued and welcomed as I did.
Tell us about the team you are building in Houston and what qualities you’re looking for.
Credera has always maintained a high bar for talent, as especially as it relates to culture fit and excellence. I very much subscribe to the same goal, in fact, this high bar is one of the things that attracted me to Credera. As I begin growing the Credera Houston team, culture remains at the forefront. New team members must share a personal, heart-level connection to Credera’s core values: integrity, humility, professionalism, and excellence.
Building upon the heart connection to our core values, I am an advocate of diversity—race, gender, religion, etc. The Houston community is one of the most diverse in the world, with people from all continents, largely due to the global oil and healthcare industries. I aspire to build a team at Credera Houston that is equally as diverse, and a great representation of our community, without lowering our talent bar for culture and excellence.
How would you describe your approach to leadership?
Servant leadership. While it might be a buzzword these days, this leadership style defined by the term’s inventor, Robert Greenleaf, as “a set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world,” resonates with me on a deep, interpersonal level. I prefer to work in fast-paced, highly collaborative, team-based environments surrounded by people who are smarter than me—I’ve learned not to confuse smarter with having more experience. I have a growth mindset and believe that you can always learn something from every person you meet, from the janitor to the CEO. That was instilled in me from an early age in life.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
There are several career-impacting lessons that I’ve learned; however, an important one that comes to mind when I think about Credera’s younger consultants is this: Every person puts their shoes on one foot at a time.
Much earlier in my career as a younger consultant, I would attend client meetings with executives and feel nervous, sometimes intimidated, as if I did not belong. I knew I had valuable insights into the client’s business or given technology domain, but this was a confidence issue that was largely between my own ears.
This has subsided over time as my perspective, experience, and confidence has increased during my career. The breakthrough for me came when an executive career mentor shared with me that “everyone puts their shoes on one foot at a time, just like I did.” People are just that, people, and no one human is more or less important than the other. That lesson, combined with that understanding that executives value relevant, transparent, and objective advice, fueled my confidence and consulting skills. As a young consultant, I realized I have a seat as a peer with that executive because my experience and advice is valuable. Regardless of whom I am meeting, they are a human, no different than me.
Where do you see Credera Houston in the next five years?
The Houston economy is dependent upon the oil and gas (O&G) industry, and it’s commonly described as a boom or bust cycle industry. O&G clients have cut capital and operating costs to the bone over the past 24 months including massive reductions in force (RIFs), causing thousands of Houstonians to lose their jobs. While macro-economic headwinds still exist that drive the commodity price of crude oil, by in large, many believe that the industry has hit bottom in this bust cycle and has stabilized (with crude generally in the mid-$40s to $60 per barrel forecast range). I see Credera Houston as relevant management consulting, user experience, and technology consulting firm helping all aspects of the O&G industry (upstream, midstream, downstream, and oilfield services) in the next five years.
Credera has an opportunity to serve the O&G industry in Houston. We can:
• Help leading O&G clients develop and implement revenue generating strategies through management consulting and digital solutions.
• Guide clients through the complicated M&A process by helping with organization design, change management, and technology consolidation programs.
• Assist O&G clients in analyzing vast amounts of data to gain insights that fuel innovation, improve operational efficiency, and breakdown organizational silos.
Headwinds such as the United States political landscape resulting from the recent election cycle and the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act (oftentimes referred to as Obamacare) will play an interesting role in the healthcare industry (providers and payors) over the coming years. Houston has one of the largest medical districts in the world with leading healthcare providers. As with the O&G industry, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have been more commonplace in the healthcare industry, with mega-providers acquiring regional and local providers to expand their geographic capabilities. Additionally, healthcare providers have been standardizing on electronic medical records (EMR) systems such as EPIC similarly to how other industries have standardized enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems such as SAP.
Credera has an opportunity to serve healthcare industry in Houston by:
• Helping healthcare providers develop and implement customer experience and digital strategies that delight, rather than frustrate, patients.
• Guiding clients through the complicated M&A process by helping with organization design, change management, and technology consolidation programs .
• Leading clients through EMR integrations and building or enhancing process automation portals for patients and payors.
Sounds like there is a lot of great work to do! How about when you are not in the office, what do you like to do for fun?
I live in Katy, Texas, with my wife Nicki and three kids. I love spending time with them, whether it’s at church or watching the Aggies! I’m also an avid outdoorsman and enjoy hunting and golfing.