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 Kyler Starks, a Senior Consultant at Credera.
Before I dive into my story at Credera, I’d like to share a little bit about myself. I was born and raised in Atlanta, and I grew up in a tight-knit family. I remember growing up in Georgia playing sports. Whether it was baseball or basketball I always sought to connect with people in a real and meaningful way. Naturally an introverted extrovert (if that makes sense), I enjoyed working together with others on school projects, but I always reserved my time for myself to reflect, understand myself better, and learn how to treat others with kindness and care. Needless to say, I truly enjoyed the company of others and came to value the perspectives of others.
Starting Out in Consulting
My journey to Credera actually started with a desire to explore more of the United States. Being from Georgia and raised in the South, I ended up going to college at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where I studied business administration and music. Roll tide (my school spirit showing)! After graduating from college, I worked for The Coca-Cola Company for a little less than a year before joining EY as an associate analyst.
I loved working in consulting. From the moment I started, the fast-paced nature and the team camaraderie were second to none. I worked in the data and analytics practice with some of the largest financial institutions in the world today. Despite all this excitement, there was something else I wanted: to connect with colleagues with similar backgrounds to me.
Becoming a Part of Change
Growing up as an African American shaped me profoundly. I always saw people who looked like me on the news and most often those depictions were not very positive. I wanted to show others that people who looked like me were also amazing, kind, and hardworking people, too. I specifically wanted to highlight the positive aspects in the face of increased police shootings.
In particular, one police shooting launched me on my quest to raise awareness on issues facing our community. That shooting resulted in the death of Botham Jean, a consultant who had been working at PwC. His death shook me unlike others because I felt I shared a great deal in common with him. He was a consultant like me, and he was Black and minding his own business. It was after this shooting when I felt like I needed to find effective ways of connecting with my fellow African American coworkers and to also raise awareness so, in my own way, I could be a part of the change I want to see.
Being Black in America has shaped my life in many ways, but connecting with fellow African Americans in a professional context was always important to me. Important because I wanted to advocate for those who looked like me and shared my background. While at EY, I was very fortunate to find the group Advancing Black Executives that helped to foster a welcoming environment where healthy discourse was encouraged.
Before leaving EY, I ended up coming across a Credera job posting and I applied. For some time, I had wanted a smaller consulting firm experience. After I applied for the Credera job, I connected with Patrick Alexander who introduced me to Credera. Despite there not being any openings in the practice I wanted to join, Patrick still sought to develop a working relationship so I might be able to join later on. I held out hope that maybe, just maybe, a position would open at Credera, but I ended up receiving an offer from another company just as Credera was posting positions in the practice I wanted to join. I ended up moving from Atlanta to Denver to work with another consulting firm.
Beginning My Credera Story
In work environments, I love to connect with fellow coworkers in real and meaningful ways by speaking about issues and topics that affect our lives both inside and outside of work. I was not getting that at my previous company, and so I did what any person might do—I reached back out to Patrick at Credera. It was like no time had passed, and I was reintroduced to the Credera team in a welcoming way.
We pretty quickly moved into interviews and at one point I remarked to my wife, “Everyone at Credera really cares.” Every interview I had went better and better and the feelings of community and shared purpose and vision were made even more clear. This point was critical to me as I mentioned my desire to raise awareness about African American issues. The more the leaders at Credera shared the mission and vision of the company, the more I felt like this was the place I wanted to work—I would be encouraged to be nothing less than my true self at work and would be challenged by the work and tasks in a way that would make me better for it. So after quite a few interviews, I accepted the offer to join Credera. I haven’t looked back since.
After joining, everyone welcomed me, and I immediately felt like I was a member of the Credera family. From the leaders to the consultants, everyone took time out of their day to personally check in with me to see how I was doing and if I had any questions. This welcome made me feel comfortable with bringing my “whole self” to work, and I ended up getting involved with the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion team where we are tasked with raising awareness and implementing programs needed to further racial equity at Credera. I also launched Credera’s first minority employee resource group, CredCOLOR where we look to include all minorities and create an internal community where all can feel welcomed. Whatever the initiative, I always felt encouraged and inspired to pursue things I am passionate about while also delivering excellent client service.
Credera embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and, as an African American, has welcomed me with open arms.
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.