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’ll get to know Seema Desai, Credera principal in our Management Consulting practice.
You know how they say, “Go with your gut?” Well, I’ve never been one to do that. Instead, I hear what my instincts are saying, but usually decide to make a more informed decision instead. I analyze, overanalyze, and think some more, sometimes until I’ve forgotten what I was thinking about originally.
My Credera story starts with me following my gut for the first time in what feels like forever.
Before we get there, let me share a bit about my life before Credera:
College and the Early Days
After a lot of thought (shocking, I know), I decided to attend Northwestern University for my undergraduate degree. I entered as a computer science major, unsure if it was the right fit, but figured I would see if I liked it once I got started. Fast forward to my first computer science class and let’s just say I quickly realized it was not the right fit. It was clear my brain wasn’t made for that. I switched to industrial engineering (IE) and economics, thinking it would be a great combo that allowed me to balance my interests in business and engineering.
I absolutely loved my IE/economics decision—I even got a chance to work with JetBlue Airlines to help improve their baggage claim efficiency. Not only was I driving around on the tarmac in those cool go-karts, but I got to sit in the belly of the plane—something I’ll never forget!
After college, I decided I didn’t want to be a full-time engineer, but preferred the variety of experiences that consulting would provide. I joined a great firm named Diamond, now part of PwC. I had some interesting project locations, made lifelong friends, and learned a lot about the business world. But most importantly, I learned about myself in those early professional years.
After years of consulting, a majority of which were on the road or air, I decided I wanted a change in my career. Like many others, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do (even after much analyzing), so I decided to go to business school. As I reflect on those two years, those were some of the most important years in which I invested in myself. I built lifelong friendships, explored different career paths and industries, and traveled the world.
As part of this period of exploration, I found myself very interested in the healthcare industry. After business school, I started my first industry role within healthcare administration. But after a few years in this role, I realized that I missed consulting and knew I needed to get back.
The Credera Chapter
I started exploring various options to re-enter the consulting space. At the same time, I decided to move from Chicago to Dallas to be closer to family. That’s when I was introduced to Credera. During a trip to Dallas to celebrate Thanksgiving, I interviewed with one of Credera’s founders. I remember leaving that interview thinking, “There’s something different here.”
During the interview process, I found myself excited for each subsequent interview. I was excited to learn from every interviewer and hear their stories. It was the strangest and yet the greatest feeling walking into and out of every interview. There was something about the Credera culture that I couldn’t describe but could absolutely feel. And if I could appreciate the culture this strongly from the outside, I couldn’t wait to celebrate as an insider.
So without overanalyzing it, I went with my gut. I made the move to Texas and started my Credera story.
My Credera Family
Throughout my career, I’ve been told that it’s best if the values and priorities you have outside of work are reflected in your work environment so you can be your true self at work.
That has never been more the case than since I joined the Credera family.
Family plays a significant role for me outside of work. And Credera’s culture is a family. In my eyes, the test of this family culture is based on how others show up for personal experiences, not just for work.
Time and time again, Credera has shown up as a family to me. Here are just a few examples.
During a recent leadership team retreat (pre-COVID-19), we all connected off-site—a chance to reflect on the business, build connections, and celebrate. As I pulled into the hotel parking lot, my check engine light turned on. I immediately turned off the car and tried to restart. Unfortunately, I couldn’t restart my car and gave up, thinking the engine needed time to cool down. During a break in our retreat, I went back to the car, and unfortunately faced the same issue. To my surprise, several colleagues—including one of our firms’ partners—reached out and assured me—“We’ll take care of it for you.” Titles aside, in that moment, they were my friends.
My Nephew’s Visit
My sister-in-law urgently called me over lunch one day, informing me that her babysitter had canceled last minute and she needed someone to watch my younger nephew while she had an hour-long school lunch event with my older nephew. So I suggested she drop my nephew off at work—I could spend my lunch hour with him and she didn’t have to worry. Win-win, I thought! As luck would have it, a client asked for a last-minute meeting over lunch as well. So as my nephew arrived, I tried my best to get him settled, pulling out the coloring and reading materials my sister-in-law packed, while also prepping for my client meeting. But holding his attention while navigating a client call wasn’t proving easy.
A colleague saw this and instantly suggested he take my nephew out of the conference room for the remainder of the meeting. Meanwhile, and much to my surprise, my nephew had a fun-filled tour of our office with ‘Mr. Daniel.’ As I walked out of the conference room to find them again, I saw a life-sized outline of my nephew on our white board wall. When I found them again, my nephew was playing golf with a set of plastic kids’ clubs (I’ve never seen these in the office before!). But ‘Mr. Daniel’ magically found them in a small box somewhere and the two were golfing buddies. For days, my nephew raved about his time at the office. And for days, his name and body outline remained on our whiteboard wall. It served as a daily reminder that 'Mr. Daniel' was not only a colleague, but a friend and a family member to my own family—something not in his job description, in his project assignment, or in his performance review. He went above and beyond because he genuinely cared.
Over the last few months, as my family and I were dealing with a challenging situation, my Credera family showed up again. I received several phone calls and texts—each a different conversation, but all rooted in the idea of supporting and encouraging me. I recall that one of the partners said, “We’ve got you.” That was all that I needed to hear: I could be there for my family, and my Credera family felt the same in return.
I’m very grateful that I followed my instincts and joined Credera. I see our strong culture shine through in all that we do—during our internal team meetings, during client interactions, and during hard conversations. As we continue to scale as an organization, I know that maintaining and celebrating our unique culture is core to all decisions.
To my Credera family, thank you for the endless fun, laughs, and of course support. I hope to serve the future generations of Credera with the same values you’ve demonstrated to me—rooted in encouragement, friendship, and authenticity. Credera, I’m honored to call you family.
Working at Credera
At Credera, we have a culture that values the many unique perspectives, backgrounds, and histories our employees represent. If you’re interested in a career at Credera and beginning your journey, please visit our careers page.