Working at the Clinton Global Initiative

From 2009 to 2011, I served as communications manager at the Clinton Global Initiative [CGI]. My responsibilities included briefing President Bill Clinton before media interviews and writing speeches for him, too. It’s challenging to write for President Clinton because he’s so brilliant and perfectly good at coming up with his own words on the spot. I put a lot of effort into making sure his unique speaking style came through in his speeches, which made it more likely that he’d actually stick to the script.

 

Choosing to join Innosight

I interned at Innosight in summer 2012 while working toward my MBA at MIT Sloan. The culture here reminded me of MIT Sloan’s — smart people who are excited about being around each other and learning new things. In considering the next step in my career, I decided I wanted to be part of a smaller consulting firm, not a cog in a 3,000-person machine. Somewhere I could play an important role in helping the firm grow. Innosight also stood out for its exclusive focus on strategy. At most consultancies, you’re dealing with strategy the minority of the time — here, it’s almost all of the time.

 

Putting my journalism skills to use

A few years after college, I went back to earn my M.A. in business and economics journalism. I then spent four years in journalism before joining CGI. My background has proven to be very relevant to the consulting field. When a story comes up in journalism, you have to ask questions: What’s going on here? How did we get here? Where do we go from here? What must people do differently as a result? In consulting, you’re asking the same types of questions.

 

Making a tangible impact

On one Innosight project, I got to work with a pharmaceuticals company that makes medications for severe mental illness. This is an area of medical care that hasn’t improved much in decades. Our team collaborated with theirs to transform treatment for severe mental illness in a way that went far beyond drugs. It was thrilling to work with people who are so passionate about changing patients’ lives in significant ways.

 

An unconventional upbringing

I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until about age nine, and then my family moved to a small commune in Vermont. “Intentional community” is the technical term; it’s not like everyone pools their incomes or anything. But the land is owned by a nonprofit land trust, decisions are made collectively, and everyone shares the cows, chickens, vegetables, etc. As a kid, especially in middle school, you never want anything that makes you different than the other kids. But as an adult, I have a tremendous appreciation for having grown up there.

 

The intersection of yoga and work

After I ran a marathon in 2009, my body felt awful. I started doing yoga, and it’s made me feel a lot better. Much of yoga is about understanding that whatever you feel right now, whether it’s great or terrible, is just temporary. That mindset is helpful to have in an often-intense work environment. When the stress hits, you have that reminder to take a deep breath and to remember that everything is going to be okay, that this is just one challenge on the road you’re traveling today.