Here at West Monroe, our mission is to"Build the Next Generation of Leaders". This can be hard to believe or just downright frightening if you are new to the workforce, take it from a millennial at their first job like me. How can a brand new hire start building up leadership skills, advise on topics they have limited experience in, and continue to build their career, when they are at the bottom of the totem pole? Well, West Monroe has found a way to present (even a greenie like me) with a golden opportunity to build my public speaking skills in a way I never imagined, and put me into a leadership role right from the very start. There is a beauty in the fact that each and every one of us is in charge of our own path, and because WMP has a focus on putting its people first, it is quite easy to start building the career you want at any time. The story below is an empirical example of this, allowing me to practice my leadership skills even as a brand new hire, and I am very grateful that West Monroe gave me the opportunity to live and share this experience.
It was a fine rainy morning in the beautiful port town of Seattle, and I had a regular meeting planned with my coach Jason Green. Jason is a Senior Consultant and a member of the firm’s Customer Experience practice in the Seattle Office focusing in software development and design. During our conversation, Jason was describing to me how he guest lectures during the 300 level Computer Science classes at UW-Tacoma. He and I have had numerous meetings about my career and path, and he knows that public speaking and taking on leadership is a passion of mine. He came to me with an idea to present to 100 level students about technology careers. Because these students are still deciding if they even want to be in the tech field and are brand new to the college experience, he thought it would be best for someone more relatable and closer to the students' age to lecture. Boom! I had a chance to refine my public speaking skills in a brand new way, and be a leader for these students.
First off, I have a new appreciation for teaching. It is a difficult task to present foreign information you understand to those that do not, with the intent of them understanding that information when you are done. It becomes extra challenging if the audience is not there of their own free will, as some freshman stuck in a morning 101 class are (we were all there once). However, I came up with an agenda to keep the students involved the entire class:
Using these topics I was able to challenge the students in a way I have never tried to challenge anyone before, and they challenged me back. I also had to run a good class in front of the proctors (Jason and the professor of the class). Afterword, I had the pleasure to accompany Jason and the professor to lunch at the Swiss (I highly recommend the fish and chips) where I received valuable feedback from both of them. Right off the professor hit me with, "Never stand in front of your drawing" in reference to when I was drawing something out for one of the students. I didn't think I had in the first place, but he explained each room is different, and in this case not everyone could see. "This was the kind of attention to detail I could to bring to a client meeting" I thought. All in all the whole experience was a success in each of our eyes, and will make me a better consultant to my clients.
Here I am as a new hire straight out of school, and because West Monroe puts its people first, it fostered an opportunity to take an out of the blue experience to better myself. It is instances like this that make West Monroe a truly great place for college hires to work. Nowhere else could I have imagined myself working on such a variety of projects, loving every minute of it, and being presented with opportunities I could never predict along the way. The leadership, giving nature, and boundless ambition that thrive throughout West Monroe and its people is contagious. I encourage others considering coming to West Monroe to take a deep breath, hop on the train, and drive it towards your career goals.