All in this together

While working on my MBA, I spent a summer as an intern at Innosight. Each intern worked on a client project and also had to give an end-of-summer presentation on disruption in a particular industry. I was assigned the U.S. film industry. The people here were great about reaching out to me and passing on names of people I should talk to. It was fascinating to learn about an industry that was new to me, and I had a ton of autonomy in doing the research, analysis and writing. The experience showed me what the culture here is like; everybody’s constantly trying to help each other and learn from each other, and it made me want to come back.

Sunrise on a volcano

I had the summer off before starting at Innosight in 2014, so I did some traveling with my now husband. The highlight was a two-day hike on Mount Rinjani, a volcano in Indonesia. It was one of the most mentally and physically challenging hikes I’ve ever done. On the second morning, they woke us up at 2 a.m. so that we could summit in time to see the sun rise. We made it to the top with about 10 minutes to spare. We were up there on top of a volcano with all these people from different countries — you could just feel the human spirit.

Teamwork matters

On the typical project at Innosight, we collaborate not just as a team, but also with other people in the firm. And even more important, we collaborate extensively with the client. We really strive to bring the client along for the journey. After all, it’s ultimately the client that is responsible for enacting change. So we want to make sure they feel a sense of ownership — this is their project, their ideas. They have to be excited about what’s happening if they’re going to run with it and make it happen.

Taking a holistic view

One of my favorite projects at Innosight involved a leading medical device manufacturer. The client hired us to help them address the emergence of nontraditional competitors that were producing much less expensive devices. Our team looked not only at the core customers, doctors, but also at all the people who help doctors do their jobs — hospital admins, logistics providers, procurement people, etc. We thought a lot about the issues those people were facing, how we could make their jobs easier and how they in turn could help doctors do their jobs better. With our assistance, the client’s team formed an in-house incubator to bring to market the products and ideas we discussed. It’s been really cool to see that happen.

A business with a conscience

Friends of mine from business school started an organic shirt company, and I spend a couple hours a week on branding and writing. They even gave me a cool title: director of identity and imagination. They make a high-quality product, and they’re very thoughtful about the supply chain — they only source from organic growers. The shirts are made at a mill in Fall River, Mass., where everyone makes a living wage. The company strikes a nice balance between being profitable and doing good in the world. That’s important to me.