Meet Becky James,
Becky James got her first computer when she was 13, a hand-me-down from her grandfather. The next year, she received a dialup modem for her birthday, setting off a lifelong love of computers and technology.
“I spent a lot of time on the Internet reading about the X-Files,” she jokes.
After university, she traveled for a year until a friend turned her on to a career in eDiscovery and data forensics. Becky landed a job at a consulting firm, where she would work alongside law firms to capture data and digital evidence that could be useful in building their cases.
Sometimes the job required a creative, covert approach, like when Becky pretended to be on a job interview to gather data from a CFO who was under investigation for ticketing fraud.
She moved to AlixPartners’ London office in 2013, where she focused on processing, reviewing, and presenting data in complex litigations.
Becky realized that her skills and temperament were a perfect match for her role.
“I like to know what’s going on at all times,” she said. “It’s a good field for someone like me.”
Her colleagues agree that she’s hit her stride.
“Becky is organized and focused without losing her human attributes,” said Felipe Cancelieri, Office Services Senior Professional also based in London.
Becky co-leads PrideMatters, AlixPartners’ LGBTQ employee resource group, in London with Felipe. She also serves as a co-founder and former director of the London chapter of Women in eDiscovery, a non-profit organization that provides its members with educational opportunities regarding technology in the legal industry.
In addition to her professional work, she is raising a growing family along with her wife, Jo. Jo gave birth to the couple’s son in 2017, and Becky is currently pregnant with their second child.
Becky said that she didn’t know what to expect before becoming a working parent—it was an adjustment.
She left AlixPartners in 2015 to gain senior-level experience in the financial services industry, and had a difficult time finding balance between work and family after their son was born.
“I think it can be difficult to change how your coworkers perceive you and your availability,” Becky said.
She returned to AlixPartners in May 2018 when her son was eight months old and established a working schedule that gives her more time with her family.
“While plenty of people in this field move around a lot, we’ve been really successful at keeping our team intact,” she said of AlixPartners. “You have to look after people with families or they’ll leave, and we’re too proud of our retention for that!”
According to Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, 35 percent of survey respondents said that they are closeted at work. However, Becky said that she has been lucky to have had allies throughout her career and has always felt comfortable bringing her whole self to work. In fact, being a vocal LGBTQ leader at the firm has yielded business development opportunities by giving her an additional avenue for networking.
As a local champion of PrideMatters London, Becky helps organize events and programs that aim to nurture the same supportive environment that she has had throughout her career.
“Her concerns are always to ensure we create the right atmosphere for our colleagues and clients and, with a positive attitude, help cultivate an inclusive workplace,” Felipe said.
Under the leadership of Becky, Felipe, and other PrideMatters leaders, AlixPartners' offices regularly gather colleagues for fun or educational events focused on the LGBTQ community. For example, the London office recently hosted an evening talk with trans and nonbinary speakers, which Becky called “eye-opening.”
PrideMatters also collaborated with the firm’s Working Parents ERG for an event inspired by National Coming Out Day. Together, they hosted a panel of people talking about their experiences either coming out to their family, or providing insight into how they can help their own children navigate either their own coming out or support their friends.
“I think it left all of us thinking how we can do better for our kids,” Becky said.
Becky says a goal for PrideMatters London for the upcoming year is on getting members to get involved with organizations outside the firm. For example, the group has partnered with Opening Doors London, which pairs volunteers with LGBTQ people over the age of 50 who are feeling isolated.
“Whatever their age, whether they are considering coming out, or have been out and proud for 30 years, LGBTQ people and their families need to know that there are companies, like AlixPartners, where they are welcomed,” Becky said. “Where the value that is inherent in being part of a diverse and inclusive group of people is celebrated.”