Four women on their promotion and growth at BlinkLane Consulting

26 September 2022 Consultancy.eu 8 min. read

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 what advice they have for other women hoping to follow in their footsteps.

One of the constants of life in consulting is change: not only the change professionals help their clients to realise; but the development that fosters within their own skillset. Consultants gain experience after experience and benefit from the extensive training opportunities they receive. Added together, this results in a steep learning curve and the opportunity for continuous development.

Consultants at BlinkLane Consulting are no strangers to this process. Founded in 2007, the firm helps organisations navigate the changing digital business landscape of the 21st century.

Kelly Hauwert, Marcella Richard, Lieselotte Hoegee, Amy van Zuydam - Blinklane Consulting

And as the firm's consultants help transform clients, they themselves are also evolving as professionals. Kelly Hauwert and Marcella Richard are living proof of that, as two graduates of BlinkLane’s traineeship programme. 

Kelly said of the early days at BlinkLane, “Learning the real do's and don'ts from the world of consulting and organisational transformations – that’s what we wanted. Starting right away as a trainee and being immersed in the ‘real work’ therefore perfectly matched our ambitions.” 

Of course, BlinkLane also welcomes lateral recruits. Amy van Zuydam and Lieselotte Hoegee, who took their first career steps elsewhere and then joined BlinkLane as a consultant – have also enjoyed the learning journey provided by the firm. 

Amy explained, “We both chose BlinkLane because of the culture: hands-on, content-driven and the entrepreneurial nature of the future colleagues.”

The first step 

From their diverse backgrounds, all four women have now progressed to the role of Senior Consultant. Despite the different paths they have taken, there is a very clear common denominator: their personal development has been central at BlinkLane Consulting. For instance, early on in her traineeship, Marcella was given a lot of responsibility from her colleagues.

“I didn't know that freedom and that trust, it shaped me and gave me self-confidence,” she recalls. “I also had many opportunities to grow, such as running my own client account. This has laid the foundation stone for my path and promotion.” 

This entrepreneurial spirit of the BlinkLane experience is also present in Amy’s story. She had the idea to organise a storytelling event, which eventually manifested as 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 that gives me the confidence and motivation to organise these kinds of things.”

Meanwhile, with heightened responsibilities soon after joining, it did not take Lieselotte long to win experience with an international client. This came during an assignment to implement a new way of working within a department with teams spread over four different continents.

“This assignment had everything,” Lieselotte enthused. “I was challenged substantively and culturally, and I supervised younger consultants.”

Looking back on the project, she reached the conclusion that there was now an opportunity to re-evaluate her approach to work. Having been determined to control every aspect of her work, she learned from the interactions that letting go of control can make her work even better. 

“I have now become better at improvising per situation instead of always trying to think everything out in advance. And you need that in our work – and if we're honest, in life in general.”

Kelly describes a similar situation. She soon realised that while she wanted to do things according to a set of predetermined goals, her time with BlinkLane had actually equipped her with skills to improvise successfully. “The biggest step I’ve made from my experiences at BlinkLane is being comfortable with the uncomfortable,” she noted. “I have learned to go with the flow, but also to stick to my own principles.” 

Advice  

The path that the four women have travelled was paved with many instructive moments. Looking back on the many engagements, training and events, they have each come up with different advice for colleagues who are still at the beginning of the journey.

Amy recommends being open and honest, as “making your own development points known can make you feel vulnerable, but it is key to taking the steps and in this case for me to become a Senior Consultant.” Meanwhile, Kelly agrees that self-awareness is important, suggesting professionals need to be take open themselves up to “develop their talents in an assignment.” 

Marcella's main advice is to stay as authentic as possible, and “standing behind” plans for change. Sometimes what is best for the customer is not what they want to hear, so consultants “have to be able to convey that message,” or risk jeopardising the success of a project. This was echoed by Lieselotte, who added that professionals should be determined to “keep challenging”, and to do things that “give them energy” which can fuel further growth.

The next chapter 

BlinkLane’s entrepreneurial culture is evident in the path that Amy, Lieselotte, Marcella and Kelly have already walked. 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 stated she would like to use her knowledge and experience to help internal colleagues go through the growth path that she herself has followed. Meanwhile, the others added they would also be happy to contribute to the development of BlinkLane in the coming years, in addition to their work with clients. 

In terms of helping others at the firm grow, Lieselotte is looking forward to being a sparring partner at a higher level in the firm and providing a valuable voice in strategic level discussions. However, for other colleagues at BlinkLane, she is happy to remain approachable, and she especially hopes “that colleagues think: ‘I want to work with her, because the assignments she does are interesting, educational and fun!’”

Amy is similarly looking forward to her next chapter at the consultancy. 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 is looking forward to further growing commercially and managing accounts, passing on the confidence she has grown through. As a mother of two young children, she also wants to set a positive example for colleagues by showing that ambition in consultancy and family life can coexist. She added that if “that's something you aspire to, then you don't have to choose between career or family.” 

Finally, Kelly is looking forward to exploring the public sector even further in her role as a Senior Consultant. She also enjoys leading assignments and helping people grow. She is not determined to “be the star of the assignment,” but instead “to let my team be the stars” and, just as she did before, to let them “prove themselves and be successful.”

Kelly said, “I will support them as their safety net when things go wrong. This way the next batch can develop through trial and error – just as we have done.”

The four women concluded, “A senior consultant at BlinkLane has more responsibility than a senior consultant at other consultancies. They lead transformations, mentor junior consultants, build client accounts, and can be experts within a certain area of expertise or sector.”