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Leading a charity committee made me a better consultant

Leading a charity committee made me a better consultant

Over the course of 8 months one experienced consultant led a team to execute West Monroe’s most successful charity golf outing to date.

West Monroe has a long-standing commitment to “doing good” in the communities in which we work. One shining example is our annual charity golf outing. Now wrapping up its 8th year, the outing hosts over 120 golfers and volunteers for a day on the links in August. As the leader of the outing this year I not only learned of West Monroe’s deep commitment to charitable work, but also developed tangible skills that will benefit me as I continue to grow professionally.

This year, we partnered with Lakeview Pantry, a food pantry serving Chicago’s North Side whose ultimate goal is “the eradication of hunger and poverty in our communities." With strong support from the entire firm, we raised over $28,000 that will help Lakeview Pantry provide thousands of meals and social services for the community. In my opinion, the most amazing part of the outing is 100% of all money collected went directly to the charity. Putting on an event of this scale takes quite a bit of work and could not happen without a dedicated planning team. Our chief responsibilities included negotiating contracts with external vendors, signing up golfers and volunteers, executing day-of logistics, and continuous communication. Learning how to juggle this project on top of my client workload, I gained skills that will enable me to deliver high-quality work for my clients and West Monroe.

Below are a few skills I took away:

  • Managing people: The charity golf outing gave me the opportunity to run a project and manage people from start to finish. I created a budget, built a work plan, divided up responsibilities, and held check-ins to make sure we were tracking towards our intended timeline. These responsibilities are usually reserved for people 5 or more years into their careers; I did it in my second year. When I get the opportunity to do the same for a client, I’ll have tangible management experience to draw from.

  • Planning weeks (and months) ahead: In my role as an experienced consultant, I am mostly focused on the days ahead. While running the outing, my purview shifted out to the weeks and months in front of us. I started thinking about when certain activities needed to take place for us to meet our timelines. This gave me the chance to think through possible dependencies and barriers, both of which will be applicable when leading challenging client engagements.

  • Tackling big tasks first: As consultants we are hired to think through and execute on some of our client’s biggest hurdles. Leading the charity outing forced me to focus on tackling the big tasks first (e.g. securing an outing date and course) to ensure we could focus on the little details that make an outing run smoothly. Similarly, on client projects, if your team was hired to implement a new software and you haven’t determined what departments will be affected, the project will never get off the ground.

The primary goal of the charity golf outing is to hit our fundraising target, and I’m proud to say we beat ours by a wide margin. While doing so, I also learned skills that will develop me into a more well-rounded consultant and manager.

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