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StrategyMar 29, 2018

The Roster: Vol. 6

Ally White

At Credera, we believe we’re truly better together. The Roster is a monthly series that allows you to get to know leaders at all levels across the firm.

mike chou

senior architect, integration and data services

Dallas, TX

“Now Playing”: I’m a big fan of Top Chef. I enjoy cooking (for a small group) and trying new restaurants with interesting dishes. Watching the show, I am fascinated by all the ingredients the contestants use to create their dishes and their knowledge of how to combine flavors that work together to build depth. I’m always hungry after watching the show.

Passion Outside of Work: My passion outside of work is imparting what I’ve learned to men and couples who are struggling in life or in their marriage. I’ve been blessed to have others shepherd me through struggles in my life and in my marriage. Working with couples also gives me the opportunity to serve with my wife, which has been very rewarding.

Favorite Sports Team: Since college, I have been passionate about Texas Longhorn football. The passion (obsession) continued to grow during a decade of success for the Longhorns, and I became a spoiled and entitled fan. This last decade of disappointing seasons has helped me prioritize college football appropriately. My new favorite teams are those on which my three boys are playing.

Personal Values: I recently took a StrengthsFinder test which listed my strengths and values as harmony, consistency and connectedness. Integrity is a trait that I highly value, and I am fortunate to work for a company where integrity is a core value and is consistently lived out.

Client Experience Highlight: My favorite client experience took place after a major deployment for a large-scale project a few years ago. The team flew out to support the deployment and “go live.” As I assisted in fielding calls, I watched as each team member demonstrated their knowledge and expertise by quickly addressing questions and issues. I noticed how well the Credera team and client team worked together and the camaraderie between the teams. To see this large group of people working together and using their gifts to accomplish one goal is a memory that I treasure.

Best Advice You’ve Received: When starting my first job after college, I struggled with the tasks I was assigned. I found the tasks assigned to my team members to be much more interesting than the tasks I was assigned. My manager at that time gave me advice on how to approach my work. His advice was to complete the uninteresting tasks as quickly as possible to get them off my plate, but to do it at a high level so that I demonstrated the ability to take on more interesting and challenging tasks in the future.

Biggest Influence in Life: The two biggest role models and influencers in my life are Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul, whose lives are recorded in the Bible.

taylor marley

manager, digital

Dallas, TX

Life Hack: Spend 30 minutes on Sunday evenings planning for the week ahead. Personally, I look at both my work and personal calendars, plan the order in which I block and tackle activities, and communicate any anticipated coverage needed at work or at home. This extra step helps me to have a healthy and productive week, better articulate priorities to my team, and make sure my personal commitments are upheld.

Favorite Book: My favorite work of literary fiction is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This novel, in my opinion, is one of the most important pieces of social commentary of the 21st century (so far!). The protagonist, Ifemelu, is authentic and raw, and her explorations of identity, immigration, and race are extremely relevant. However, Ifemelu is a flawed character; one that I was invested in but not necessarily rooting for. I didn’t always agree with her decisions, but I still felt for how they complicated her life. Most notably, her character provides a unique lens in which to view current events, and has taught me so much about empathy. On the flip side, one of my favorite business-related books is The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver. I get equally excited about statistics as I do great works of fiction!

Passions Outside of Work: When I’m not working on DIY projects at home, walking my two dogs, or on my Peloton cycle, I’m typically watching serial dramas (think HBO’s Westworld) or researching stocks or blockchain-related advancements. I have a self-constructed dividend growth investing portfolio that I meticulously monitor and manage (#geekalert); I am empowered through being intentional to create sustainable financial independence and security as a professional woman.

Personal Goal: To be a better version of myself each and every day. To always find new avenues for personal and professional growth, and to do the same for my colleagues and community.

Client Experience Highlight: Touring a retail industry client’s fulfillment and distribution center and seeing their “store of the future” concept prior to its public roll-out! Hiking with some of the client’s Digital team in Colorado is also high on the list. Great project, even better Credera-client team!

Best Advice You’ve Received: One of my very first career mentors told me, “Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable” [in consulting]. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new or I’m forced to un-learn/re-learn a previously held notion due to rapidly emerging technologies, innovations, or advancements. Further, my seasons of profound personal and professional growth have often come at the heels of radical discomfort, so I’ve learned to lean into the journey a little less reluctantly than I used to early in my career.

jake carter

principal, management consulting

Dallas, TX

Favorite App: Things (by Cultured Code) and Scanbot. I use Things to organize all of the stuff I need to do into lists, and I use Scanbot to turn all my whiteboard scribbles into PDFs.

Favorite Tech Tool: Since I’m in Management Consulting, I’ll list a few of the Mac apps I can’t live without:

Music Playlist: JohnnySwim, Josh Abbott Band, Imagine Dragons, and Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal. (When my daughters are in the car, it’s the soundtrack to Coco, Moana, or Frozen.)

Life Hack: Get all your possible tasks out of your head into a system you trust so you’re free to think about other things. (Credit goes to David Allen’s Getting Things Done)

Favorite Credera Memory: I have several. One of my favorites is a few years old now. We did a strategy project with a venture capital firm that wanted to explore a new business idea. We spent eight weeks working through everything from user experience to market research, the financial model, an operations plan, and capital requirements. At the end of the project we presented the work to the venture firm, and it was well received. The work was fun, but what makes this one of my favorite memories is that after the pitch we went to dinner with the client team to celebrate… and stayed out way too late. (It didn’t help that our client’s office was located a few blocks from the beach.) At a scheduled breakfast with our CEO the next morning, I remember everyone on the team arriving late and our CEO asking, “Does anyone around here shave anymore?”

Best Advice You’ve Received: Earlier in my career, someone gave me the advice to write a forward-looking resume. In other words, imagine that it’s ten or more years down the road and write your resume as if you’ve achieved your wildest career goals. What are the roles and experiences on your resume that enabled you to achieve those goals? The exercise was a great way to hone what I wanted to do and how I would get there, and it’s stuck with me since then.

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