Last week, I met with Allison Howard, a Senior Consultant in the Management Consulting practice to talk through her Credera experiences. She reflected on what it’s been like to be at Credera for almost three years and agreed to let me share our conversation in this blog post.
How did you find out about Credera?
I found out about the company from my friend, Cristina Gandia (now Niver), who originally worked at a Big 4 consulting firm and had joined Credera. She told me about the job and the culture at Credera.
What did she say that interested you?
She knew I was looking for a job, but I was still in a mindset of non-profit organizations at that point. I was telling her about what types of roles and responsibilities I was looking for, and she told me that I should look at Credera’s website because it matched what I was talking about.
What were you looking for?
I wanted to help people with strategies and help them with change. That, and solving problems, which is something that I have always found rewarding. She said “That’s what I do, help people solve their problems.”
What culturally attracted you to Credera?
I liked how flat the model seemed, especially in terms of access to leadership. It was cool to talk with you and Scott Covington [Credera Partner] and see how active the leaders were in developing employees. That was something I had never experienced before. Also, everyone seemed very positive and excited about being at work, which was also new for me. One specific example that stands out was my interview with Kevin Erickson. He was excited and engaged about how Credera and Management Consulting were growing. He helped me understand what the role would be like, which solidified for me this would be a place I wanted to work and a job I wanted to do. His enthusiasm was contagious.
So, have we met your expectations?
Yes, definitely. I feel like I was quickly put into a challenging project role, which I liked, especially because there were always people like Kevin and you who were there to provide support and guidance and make sure I didn’t get lost. I also think people act like they’re part of a family here. I’ve been really surprised at how much of a family it’s become to me and how much I’ve enjoyed working with all the people here.
You’ve done very well here. What do you attribute your success to?
The leadership here has taken an interest in my career, and does so for everyone who comes through the door. I think that is a huge part of the success. I remember coming in the first day, and having Kevin taking me under his wing. I worked with you on a software selection project early on, and I felt like you helped me get comfortable with my new career. Coming from a non-consulting background, I felt like I had a lot to learn and a lot to prove, and that was eased by all the support and guidance I received.
What advice would you give to someone joining Credera?
I would tell them to not be afraid to dive into the work. You will have challenges, and you will walk into ambiguity. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when they need it. Take advantage of the mentors and leaders you have around you.
What are you passionate about at work?
I enjoy helping people. That’s a personality trait; I always come out in those personality quizzes as the one who likes to help people. It’s cool to go to work and help people identify ‘here’s where you could be great’ or ‘here’s where you could improve things’ and then actually get to walk through that with them and see the results.
At my current client, when I first started, we were asked to look at their project management organization and how it was structured. To see how they could improve. There was very little organization in place – no place where you could see all of the active and planned projects. We were able to implement a solution that aggregated all of that information and had the opportunity to help the individuals on the team focus and prioritize their work. Since then, we’ve seen the team move forward and be successful. There is now clear status reporting for all projects, there’s prioritization of what work gets done, there’s annual planning in place, and they have a better understanding of what their goals are and what they need to accomplish. It’s been fun to watch.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I’m passionate about my family, and I enjoy spending time with them. I enjoy food and cooking, and I’ve started trying to create my own recipes, which has been fun.
I made a soup the other day that a lot of people like. I feel like that’s an easy thing to invent.
Any that Bill [Allison’s husband] is a ‘no’ on?
Bill makes more of those than I do, actually. We have both tried to make a few desserts with cookie butter, and none if it tasted that great.
You also recently had a son.
Yes, Jack. He’s about to be 10 months old. He’s trying to walk right now, which is crazy. I had the opportunity to come back after having him, which has worked out well.
Has that been an easy transition, coming back to work?
It’s been easier than I expected. Coming back in, it was nice. I knew I had Kevin’s support and your support, and I was given the flexibility to find the right balance.
We make a big deal about our core values at Credera? Pick one, and tell me how you’ve seen it lived out.
Humility is a big one, and you don’t see it in a lot of places. I feel like I’ve seen humility in everyone here – people that are not afraid to get down into the trenches and work, no matter what the work is or the level of the person. For example, we were nearing the end of a mobile application development project, and I was going to have to stay late one night along with one of the developers to get our work completed and stay on schedule. A third member of the team was done with his tasks, but volunteered to stay and be there to take some of our workload so that we could all be done more quickly. He could’ve left, and no one would have thought badly about it. But he chose to stay and help.
What are your core values?
I have similar ones to Credera’s. One of mine is excellence. I feel like that was exemplified to me by my dad. He lived it out both in the way that he worked and through his words. He drove home the importance of always doing your best. Obviously, we can’t do everything right, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do our best.