Meet Hillary Davis
Pride in belonging: AlixPartners employee stories
I am a great example of how AlixPartners takes an interest in developing the next generation of leaders. I graduated in the immediate aftermath of the recession, and took a job in 2010 as the receptionist in the New York office. I had the opportunity to interact with colleagues of all levels, and took full advantage to build a strong internal network.
I’m ever grateful to the senior colleagues who took a personal interest in my professional development, gave me additional opportunities to prove myself, and helped me gain exposure to key decision-makers at the firm. Their mentorship taught me how to navigate the corporate world and the importance of continuous learning. I was grateful to be supported to take an active role in a variety of firm initiatives.
A decade and three upward moves later, I remain a strong advocate for other employees, and encourage today’s senior leaders to share their wisdom across teams, regions and practice areas. I benefited so much from inter-generational exchange, and that’s why I am so passionate about leading the NextGen employee resource group in the Americas.
It’s as simple as facilitating a conversation. To get us started, the NextGen ERG held coffee chats with our managing directors—and we brought up topics that don’t usually get airtime during stressful and busy client engagements. We dove right into it: engagement onboarding, improving benefits options, work-life effectiveness, career path ownership, even bias in word and speech.
It was wonderful to participate in such a human discussion with a varied team. The coffee chat environment created an open space to share concerns and ideas from all sides of the table. We identified key takeaways which have become the focus areas for the NextGen employee group. Spoiler alert: Reverse mentoring.
"You don’t have to hold a position of power to be a leader." —Henry Ford
That quote is one of my “north stars” and I would extend it from my personal experience to be, “Don’t wait until someone has a title to engage them as a leader.”
Our entrepreneurial culture allows our NextGen members to champion projects or initiatives that are important to them. For instance, we currently have junior team members leading working groups focused on promoting internal culture, external relationship building, volunteering and local charity support, and work-life effectiveness. They champion programming in their local markets to bring our members and allies together, and collaborate with other diversity and inclusion programs.
This is all working well despite the fact that none of those working group leaders hold a formal executive title. I’m energized by the ownership they’ve taken to lead our members.
One common sense program that has real impact is our breast milk shipping program and in-office pumping equipment. Our Working Parents ERG did a tremendous job advocating for these benefits. This is the type of thing that makes it easier for women to choose consulting as a career, knowing that the firm supports decisions to work while raising a family.
These kind of benefits—along with recognition and support for working mothers and fathers—were not available to even the most recent generation of leaders. Change happens one program, one conversation at a time.