Q1 In brief, describe how you entered the profession of management consulting, or when did you decide that management consulting was a profession that you wanted to enter?

I always knew I wanted to be a Management Consultant. I was drawn to it because of the variety of the work and the ability to make a difference in the work lives of others. I knew that I would be constantly challenged to learn new skills and understand a variety of industries. I saw how quickly the world was changing and wanted to help organizations keep up with the pace. I joined the profession straight out of university and have never looked back.

Q2 What do you love most about consulting?

I love seeing the potential of my clients realized and the variety of the work.

My favourite quote is from Nelson Mandela: "It only seems impossible until it's done" (we have this wallpapered in the Propel Solutions office). I have seen this repeatedly when working with clients who surpass their own limits to discover new ways of doing things that were previously believed to be out of the question. It is a profession where you are constantly learning and challenging your own boundaries, as consultants we always need to be on the cutting edge.

Q3 What do you like the least?

Trying to explain my job to others – unless you are exposed to the profession it is difficult to communicate what you do on a daily basis because no two days are the same. My "job" is ever evolving, I could be on the floor of a manufacturing client discussing lean principles one day and then be at an office the next day providing training on change management.

Q4 What has been your most satisfying engagement and why?

Early in my career I was sent to work with an insurance company in Tokyo, Japan where I didn't speak the language or have a deep understanding of the work culture. I was provided a team of Japanese employees and an interpreter. My mandate was to have the organization integrate with a Canadian firm when they were worlds apart. It seemed like an impossible task.

During the assignment, I had everything I knew challenged in all aspects of life. This allowed me to dramatically expand my thinking and think differently about how to work. In doing this, I was able to identify the keys to organizational improvement that would work anywhere. Through this experience, I was able to blend the best tools for continuous improvement to develop the methodology that Propel Solutions leverages today.

Q5 What personality trait has helped you the most in your career?

Thirst for knowledge and tenacity are the most valuable traits in a consultant. Being a consultant you must continuously be curious about why the organization is doing things the way they are as well as learning what the future opportunities are. When you are working with clients who have fixed ways of doing things you must be persistent to unfreeze the behaviours of others to see their full potential realized.

Q6 Finally, if you were stranded on a desert island - What is one book and one luxury item you would take with you?

Atomic Habits by James Clear, which shows how incremental improvements daily can make you better every day and a cell phone to invite family and friends to come and join me.
Visit Marilouise's LinkedIn Page to learn more.