As part of its latest round of promotions, BlinkLane Consulting has added four new senior consultants to its ranks. Lieselotte Hoegee, Kelly Hauwert, Marcella Richard and Amy van Zuydam spoke to Consultancy.org about their growth and journey so far, and the advice they have for other women hoping to follow in their footsteps.
One of the constants of life in consulting is change: not only do change professionals help their clients realize themselves; but fostering development within their own skill set. Consultants gain experience after experience and benefit from the extensive training opportunities they receive. Together, this results in a steep learning curve and the possibility of continuous development.
BlinkLane Consulting consultants are no strangers to this process. Founded in 2007, the company helps organizations navigate the ever-changing digital business landscape of the 21st century.
And as the firm’s consultants help transform clients, they too evolve as professionals. Kelly Hauwert and Marcella Richard are living proof of this, as two graduates of BlinkLane’s internship program.
Kelly said of BlinkLane’s early days, “Learning the real do’s and don’ts of the world of consulting and organizational transformations – that’s what we wanted. Starting immediately as an intern and being immersed in the “real work” therefore corresponded perfectly to our ambitions.
Of course, BlinkLane also welcomes side recruits. Amy van Zuydam and Lieselotte Hoegee, who started their careers elsewhere and then joined BlinkLane as consultants, also liked the learning path offered by the company.
Amy explained, “We both chose BlinkLane because of the culture: hands-on, content-driven and entrepreneurial nature of future colleagues.”
The first step
From their diverse backgrounds, the four women have now evolved into the role of Senior Advisor. Despite the different paths they have taken, there is a very clear common denominator: their personal development has been central to BlinkLane Consulting. For example, at the beginning of her internship, Marcella was given many responsibilities by her colleagues.
“I didn’t know this freedom and this confidence, it shaped me and gave me confidence in myself,” she recalls. “I also had many opportunities for growth, such as managing my own client account. This laid the foundation stone for my path and promotion.
This entrepreneurial spirit of the BlinkLane experience is also present in Amy’s story. She came up with the idea of hosting a storytelling event, which eventually turned out to be a very successful alumni event in which four consultants told their personal stories. “At BlinkLane, there are so many opportunities to discover your passion and it gives me the confidence and motivation to organize these kinds of things.”
Meanwhile, with increased responsibilities soon after joining, it didn’t take long for Lieselotte to gain experience working with an international client. This happened during a mission to implement a new way of working within a department with teams spread across four different continents.
“This mission had it all,” enthused Lieselotte. “I was challenged substantively and culturally, and supervised young consultants.”
Looking back on the project, she came to the conclusion that there was now an opportunity to re-evaluate her approach to work. Having been determined to control every aspect of her job, she learned from the interactions that letting go of control can make her job even better.
“I’ve now become better at improvising by situation instead of always trying to think everything out in advance. And you need that in our work – and if we’re being honest, in life in general.
Kelly describes a similar situation. She soon realized that while she wanted to do things according to a set of predetermined goals, her time with BlinkLane had actually equipped her with the skills to improvise successfully. “The biggest step I’ve taken from my experiences at BlinkLane is being comfortable with discomfort,” she noted. “I learned to go with the flow, but also to stick to my own principles.”
The path traveled by the four women has been paved with many instructive moments. Looking back on the many engagements, trainings and events, they each offered different advice to colleagues who are still only at the beginning of the journey.
Amy recommends being open and honest, as “sharing your own development points can make you feel vulnerable, but it’s essential to getting through the stages and in this case for me to become a senior consultant.” Meanwhile, Kelly agrees that self-awareness is important, suggesting that professionals need to open up to “develop their talents in a mission”.
Marcella’s main advice is to stay as authentic as possible and to “support” change plans. Sometimes what’s best for the client isn’t what they want to hear, so consultants “have to be able to deliver that message” or risk jeopardizing the success of a project. This was echoed by Lieselotte, who added that professionals need to be determined to “keep challenging” and doing things that “give them energy” that can fuel their future growth.
The next chapter
BlinkLane’s entrepreneurial culture is evident in the path Amy, Lieselotte, Marcella and Kelly have taken. But even now that these four are senior consultants, their journey is far from over. The next chapter begins now; So where would they most like to use their expertise?
Lieselotte said she would like to use her knowledge and experience to help her internal colleagues follow the path of growth that she herself has followed. Meanwhile, the others added that they would also be happy to contribute to the development of BlinkLane in the years to come, in addition to their work with customers.
When it comes to helping others within the firm grow, Lieselotte looks forward to being a sparring partner at a senior level in the firm and providing a valuable voice in discussions at the strategic level. However, for other BlinkLane colleagues, she is happy to remain accessible, and she especially hopes “that the colleagues think, ‘I want to work with her, because the assignments she does are interesting, educational and fun!’ »
Amy is also looking forward to her next chapter at the consulting firm. Among other things, she looks forward to using her expertise to help other women grow within the agency. She prefers to empower others and hopes to “enable my team to use and develop their skills and qualities.”
Elsewhere, Marcella looks forward to continuing her business growth and managing accounts, passing on the confidence she has gained. As a mother of two young children, she also wants to set a positive example for her colleagues by showing that ambition in consulting and family life can coexist. She added that if “it’s something you aspire to, you don’t have to choose between career or family”.
Finally, Kelly is looking forward to exploring the public sector even more in her role as a senior consultant. She also enjoys leading missions and helping people grow. She is not determined to “be the star of the mission”, but rather to “let my team be the star” and, as she has done before, to let them “prove themselves and succeed”.
Kelly concluded: “I will support them as a safety net when things go wrong. This way the next batch can grow through trial and error – just like we did.