Everyone has a story—a story that has been influenced by experiences, community, and people. Our stories shape who we are and who we are becoming. We want to celebrate all of the unique stories and different experiences that have shaped our people and build the fabric of our firm. With that in mind, we’re excited to introduce you to leaders across all levels at Credera and their unique stories and perspectives through a blog series called My Credera Story. This week you get to meet Emily Crawford, manager at Credera.
My Credera story began four weeks later than it should have.
I was a campus hire, still wondering how I’d made it through the competitive recruiting process (a feeling of incredulity that increases yearly with each new group of talented recruits). I should have started that summer, but on a phone call with Kevin Erickson, the Management Consulting Practice leader at the time, we worked through a new start date. I rambled on about how I wanted to start as soon as possible because I was getting married in August and was hoping to earn enough paid time off in time to take a honeymoon. After talking it over, Kevin insisted I delay my start until September. He emphasized the importance of family and reminded me that there would be plenty of time for work.
I didn’t know it then, but that first conversation set the tone for what my experience at Credera has been thus far.
Learning the Credera Culture
Since then, there have been challenging projects, several late nights, and a few working weekends, but I’ve always been encouraged to prioritize my family and my health. Leadership has modeled that prioritization for me on multiple occasions. Once while traveling for a client, I was given a flight and a few days to explore a new city with my husband. After unusual overtime on another project, I was encouraged to utilize the overage to take a week off, allowing me to volunteer with my church. During a demanding implementation, my team received additional resource support at Credera’s expense to help us and our client be successful. And while we couldn’t have a post-launch celebratory team dinner due to Covid-19, we each received a personalized gift delivered to our door instead.
But along the way, it hasn’t just been about work/life integration, it’s also been about growth.
As a new hire, I first learned how to translate the skills I already had into the consulting world. My “previous experience” was primarily limited to working on the family farm, earning a business degree, and running a sorority (unless you count being overly invested in intramural and club sports as experience). I began to research new technology instead of studying for class, I analyzed existing business processes instead of researching for my thesis, and I sent meeting recaps to clients instead of sorority meeting minutes to members. I transitioned the title of “utility player” from the volleyball court into the workplace by aiming to become valuable in a variety of areas as quickly as possible. Simply put, I became a sponge.
Lessons Learned at Credera
At Credera, there are amazing leaders at every level, and from the beginning these leaders invested in my career—my career coach, practice leaders, project leaders, and informal mentors all genuinely cared about my growth. They have helped shape me into the consultant I am today. Sometimes this was through formal training, but often it was simply through watching leaders in action and mimicking their strengths. I have benefited greatly from both incredible examples and personal investment.
Here are some of the key lessons I learned along the way:
1. Support Your Teammates
As a business analyst, I learned new crafts from my teammates. From my project manager, I learned to appreciate the art of a good status report and inherited best practices for keeping us and the client on track. She taught me to interpret client interviews instead of just document them. I built roadmaps, identified requirements, created technology selection criteria, researched, analyzed, and presented. But mostly she taught me to support my teammates—she reviewed my work, made me laugh, stayed late with me, highlighted my strengths to my boss, and never missed a birthday.
My first team went to three different places to get all the best “cheat” foods for my birthday lunch.
2. Make a Way for Others to Succeed
My first project director taught me strategy (amid a variety of what you might call “intangibles”). I learned techniques and tactics for vendor selection, change management, five-year planning, portfolio management, customer journey planning, program leadership, and so much more from her within my first two years. She demanded outstanding work, but she gave me all the tools, time, and attention I needed to be successful. Above all, she modeled how to make a way for others.
Personally, she also organized a gift card from the team when my first apartment caught fire and I had no professional work clothes. Professionally, she set me up to present my work to the client’s director of marketing, she convinced leadership and the client that I was ready for a challenging role, she got me involved internally at Credera, and she fought for my promotion. In more of a hybrid role, she was (and still is) my sounding board and mentor for so many personal and professional situations.
The infamous fire.
3. Find Confidence and Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
As a project manager, I learned how to be confident in my areas of expertise, and, more importantly, when to ask for help. By the nature of our business, I was exposed to clients across multiple industries: travel and transportation, hospitality, home services, retail, nonprofit, and advertising. Leaders showed me the power of “unlocking” the unique skills each team member brings to the table and demonstrated the value of personalized leadership. My account lead showed me how to help clients figure out where to invest next, taught me nuances of people development, and instilled confidence. He also kept me up to date on his kids, created a must-see movie list, and helped me figure out how to buy a house.
4. Be a Shield for Your People
Currently, I’m learning that a project director is a leader and a shield. I’m starting to understand what it feels like to make decisions that affect a whole a team. I’m beginning to know a different kind of stress that accompanies additional responsibility—not just for a project, but for people on your team and their careers. However, I also feel more supported and encouraged every day. The more I learn to reach out, be transparent, ask for help, and take chances, the more rewarding this career is.
My Future at Credera
I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with so many great people, to play a part in the careers and lives of others, to receive coaching and feedback, to share lessons learned with friends, and to create additional opportunities for those who are “up next.” It’s been a wild and enriching ride so far, and My Credera Story is just getting started.
Carrying on team birthday celebrations virtually.
Working at Credera
At Credera, we have a culture that values the many unique perspectives, backgrounds, and histories that our employees represent. If you’re interested in a career at Credera and beginning your journey, please visit our careers page.