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Women in management consulting

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In honour of International Women’s Day, three women in our global team doing high-impact work in the infrastructure sector share what it’s like being a woman in management consulting.

Camille Wu (United States)

“My advice to women starting a career in consulting is this: carefully choose your employer. Ask yourself if the company is where you can see yourself growing.

Study not only the company’s market areas, but their corporate culture too. It reveals much about its values, management style and their views on career progression.

Unfortunately, management consulting has a reputation for unhealthy work-life. But good companies that walk the talk exist. CPCS is one of them. Its management team upholds the principles of an inclusive culture by prioritizing, for example, reasonable working hours, flexibility and having fun with colleagues.

There’s plenty of advice out there on how women should change themselves to be more accepted and respected in the workplace. But I think the best companies are those that simply get it by actively building a workplace where it’s safe to be different and not having to fit in.

Our 10-member employee-led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) advisory committee is also tasked with continuous improvement to foster a workplace that is diverse, inclusive, free from barriers and psychologically safe.”

Caroline Akoth (Africa)

“I co-founded Women in GIS, Kenya (WiGISKe) because I noticed a gap between what I learned in school and what I needed to know for my career.

I helped establish this community to share the knowledge I’ve learned and inform what a career progression in GIS can look like. Over time, this community has grown in Kenya and WiGISKe continues to support students in their transition into a corporate job.

My background is in environmental planning and management and initially wasn’t seeking a career in data science and consulting. As I learned more about information systems and cartography, my interest in the topics grew deeper. My advice to women seeking a career in infrastructure analytics is to nurture your interest in the domain. Be curious in considering different factors and how systems and laws vary from place to place.”

Devyani Singh (India)

“I inherited my love for infrastructure from my father, who also worked in the sector. I’ve even been told by friends and family of always wearing my ‘consulting hat’ even on vacations when I volunteer my assessment of the infrastructure. I now realize it’s not necessarily what others would consider fun!

There are fewer women in consulting, especially in infrastructure consulting and more so in emerging and developing economies. I’ve often been the only woman in a 100 person-workshop or training. This means the microphone often finds us in these settings. My advice is don’t shy away when that happens! Also remember to keep having fun. While what we do is important, if it’s not enjoyable, it’s not worth it.

Having the flexibility to work from home and remote work policies brought on by COVID-19 have been great to encourage and support employees. We’re embracing this at CPCS, and I hope these continue to be the standard as they enable women to be involved in dynamic workplaces.”

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