My Strive Story: Faye Thompson

Strive Consulting wouldn’t be the company it is today without the inspiring group of employees who make up our workforce. We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who bring a diverse group of skills and backgrounds to the table, which set our organization up for success.

Throughout our ‘My Strive Story’ Interview platform, we sit down with members from our different teams within the organization to find out where they came from, why they chose Strive, and what makes their experience here special.

Faye Thompson

Senior Management Consultant

Columbus, OH

Tell us about yourself.

I have worked in IT delivery for over 20 years as a consultant coach, product owner and scrum master. With a focus on an Agile mindset and continuous improvement, I have spent time in the financial services, healthcare, advertising, marketing, automotive, aviation and retail industries. I am passionate about using innovative solutions to drive business value, and enjoy training, mentoring and coaching workgroups as they transform themselves into highly engaged and energized teams. 

When I am not at work, I serve on the board of directors for the Central Ohio Agile Association and as President of the Women in STEMM Alumni Society of The Ohio State University. I also just completed my 25th year volunteering as an emergency medical responder and public affairs coordinator for the American Red Cross.  In my free time beyond that, I am an avid hockey fan, cheering on the Columbus Blue Jackets. I also really like nerding out on my hobbies, including cooking, gardening and wine. 

What attracted you to Strive?

From my initial conversation with a recruiter here at Strive, it seemed as though something different – something special – was happening here. People are at the forefront of everything Strive does, and that was really important to me. As I moved through the interview and hiring process, I only saw more and more examples of this. In fact, that whole experience was so positive, even if it hadn’t been the right fit or the right time, I still would have walked away with a positive impression of Strive. 

What keeps you at Strive?

I love that we place such a strong focus on our Core Values, and that they drive everything we do. We always seek to do the right thing for our clients, our communities, our Affiliates and our employees.   

 Also, we keep hiring more and more super cool people, and I want to hang out with them on a daily basis, which is really special. 

What makes Strive stand above the rest?

We don’t pitch one-size-fits-all solutions. We get to know our clients’ specific goals, environments and people first, and then tailor our recommendations to meet their unique needs. This is unusual in the consulting world, and it’s fantastic! We are building something really cool here. 

What are you looking forward to in the future?

After travel has been on the back-burner for the last couple of years, I’m looking forward to getting back out there and seeing the world. I love meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. My near-term goals are to finish visiting all 50 states (I’ve been to 48/50), all 7 continents (4/7), and all 63 US national parks (17/63). 

Interested in joining Strive?

Here at Strive Consulting, we foster an active, innovative culture, providing the coaching, mentoring, and support our employees need to work at the top of their game and succeed personally and professionally. Check out our Careers page for open roles and opportunities within Strive. We’re hiring!

Contact Us

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Categories: culture, MyStriveStory

My Strive Story: Lindsay Norcom

Strive Consulting wouldn’t be the company it is today without the inspiring group of employees who make up our workforce. We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who bring a diverse group of skills and backgrounds to the table, which set our organization up for success.

Throughout our ‘My Strive Story’ Interview platform, we sit down with members from our different teams within the organization to find out where they came from, why they chose Strive, and what makes their experience here special.

My strive Story: Lindsay Norcom

Lindsay Norcom

Manager, Recruiting & Talent

Atlanta, GA

Tell us about yourself.

Hi! I’m Lindsay, an Atlanta-native who recently returned to my hometown after almost 6 wonderful years in Chicago. After a relocation for my husband’s job took us to Chicago, I decided it was a perfect opportunity for me to try a career in the corporate world. I worked as an elementary school counselor prior to our move, and Chicago is a city full of amazing opportunities that I wanted in on. In my journey to find the right path, along came Strive and I couldn’t be more grateful. I have already grown immensely here at Strive and am currently serving as a Manager of Recruitment & Talent. Outside of work, I love hanging out with my husband, Andrew, and our tabby cat, Phoebe. While trying new restaurants and bars is still a favorite past time, the pandemic has allowed us to hone our home chef and bartender skills. Outside of that, we both love spending time with friends and family, especially our niece and nephews. Oh, and we’re big sports people! We root for all the hometown teams – the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta United, and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. We also cheer on our honorary Chicago Bears during football season.

What attracted you to Strive?

From the beginning, I met a tight-knit team of incredibly kind and driven individuals who were always willing to help me learn I was drawn to Strive from the first conversation I had with a member of the corporate recruiting team. I could tell the company was warm and welcoming and striving (pardon the pun) to achieve big goals. It was evident that the people here were smart, passionate, and open-minded –  knew I wanted to be a part of what Strive was building. I also loved that Strive didn’t see my lack of corporate experience as a barrier, but a building block to my potential success. My time in education certainly taught me numerous skills that I could apply to my job as a recruiter and Strive valued that. All I needed was drive, determination, and a willingness to give 100% each day and my teammates and leaders at Strive would help me learn and develop along the way.

What keeps you at Strive?

If I had to pinpoint one thing that keeps me at Strive, which is tough by the way, it would be the growth opportunities I see for myself, the recruiters I manage, and the company as a whole. In just the 2.5 years I have been at Strive, we have added two new markets, Minneapolis, MN and Charlotte, NC, and have our sights set on adding many more down the line. Not only are we adding markets, but the leaders at Strive knew about my desire to one day move from Chicago back to my hometown of Atlanta, GA, one of Strive’s existing markets, and they helped me achieve that. As we continue to grow, there will be a need for Strive’s people to step up into new roles and it’s exciting to think about what that will look like.

What makes Strive stand above the rest?

I believe Strive stands above the rest because of the dedication and commitment to deliver the very best. To me, Strive stands out because it’s a place where your voice is heard and you have the opportunity to live out our Core Value, ‘Make an Impact.’ Upon joining Strive, I got involved with StriveX, our employee-led committee of extracurricular activities, and am now serving as a Co-chair of our revamped National StriveX program. I am also still involved with StriveX committees including Wellness and Women’s Empowerment (WE). Being a part of StriveX allows me to connect with my colleagues in a different way and build relationships outside of our day-to-day roles at Strive. Strive also makes it a priority to serve the communities where we have offices and StriveX is a catalyst to achieving that

What are you looking forward to in the future?

I look forward to seeing how Strive continues to grow, especially with our recent acquisition by The Planet Group. We still have big goals ahead of us and I fully believe that we have the right people and the right resources to help us achieve them. I am also really excited about all the new people we will add to Strive. Strive isn’t the company we are without our people, and I love that we are adding a diverse mix of bright and driven individuals month over month.

Interested in joining Strive?

Here at Strive Consulting, we foster an active, innovative culture, providing the coaching, mentoring, and support our employees need to work at the top of their game and succeed personally and professionally. Check out our Careers page for open roles and opportunities within Strive. We’re hiring!

Contact Us

My Strive Story: Caryn Conde

Strive Consulting wouldn’t be the company it is today without the inspiring group of employees who make up our workforce. We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who bring a diverse group of skills and backgrounds to the table, which set our organization up for success.

Throughout our ‘My Strive Story’ Interview platform, we sit down with members from our different teams within the organization to find out where they came from, why they chose Strive, and what makes their experience here special.

Tell us about yourself.

Let me first tell you that I am a Senior Consultant in Strive’s Management Consulting practice based in Dallas, Texas. I’ve been in consulting for almost a decade, with 2 of those years spent at Strive. Now, on to the important things… I was born in San Diego, California, went to school in Arizona, and called Dallas my home starting in 2012. I’m a travel lover, taco worshiper, and I dare you to find someone who loves their dog as much as I love mine. I spend most of my time playing tourist with my pup, and since Covid, trying out the various streaming apps (admittedly for hours at a time), while curating my Japanese whisky collection. 

What attracted you to Strive?

Most consultants are drawn to this field with a promise of travel, dining on a corporate budget, and the variety of work. Coming out of college, I couldn’t think of a better line of work.  

That being said, I have worked as a consultant for many years (maybe not as many as some) and while I still love what I do, my priorities have shifted. I began looking for a company that fit with my values now: spending more time at home, relationships with people, and connectivity to my local community.  

When Strive and I began our courtship, I was drawn to three things in particular: the local delivery model, company culture, and the overall opportunity available. The local delivery model meant I could work and live in the same city, and as I begin to build my family, this has become more of a priority for me. The company culture was present in every interview and employee I spoke with. Every employee was excited, driven, and genuine, from HR rep to CEO. Strive empowers their employees to voice opinions, share thoughts, and to own and drive change. As Strive continues to grow, the opportunity is endless.  

What keeps you at Strive?

Strive has not lost sight of the things that drew me to it those few years ago, even with the growth they have had. With other firms I have been a part of, this is not always the case. You tend to feel lost in the crowd of larger companies. Strive’s leadership continues to prioritize their employees and maintain the culture they have built when they first began. They are connected to their employees in a way you don’t see in other firms. Want to start a community outreach program? Let’s talk about it. Want to learn about a specific technology? Let’s talk about it. Want to make changes to an existing process because you think there may be a better way? Let’s talk about it. They listen to their employees, pivot when something isn’t working, and actively work to provide its employees with a platform to reach their potential. 

What makes Strive stand above the rest?

Now I have been drinking the “Strive Kool-Aid” for a couple of years now, so I may be a bit biased. However, I truly believe Strive has figured out a way to make a company feel more like a family. I work with a great group of people, who are authentic, positive, and passionate everyday. A big part of enjoying the work you do, in the office or on the client site, is enjoying the people you get to work and build with. This shines through when we engage with our clients and continue to build lasting relationships with them. Strive has carefully cultivated a work environment that I am proud to be a part of.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

With the Covid clouds parting, I am excited for Strive’s growth, my own professional growth, and our market growth. As the Dallas office grows, and consultants are added to the practice, I am excited to see how they will come in and help shape Strive, making their own mark in the company. It’s an exciting time at Strive and an awesome thing to be a part of. 

Interested in joining Strive?

Here at Strive Consulting, we foster an active, innovative culture, providing the coaching, mentoring, and support our employees need to work at the top of their game and succeed personally and professionally. Check out our Careers page for open roles and opportunities within Strive. We’re hiring!

My Strive Story: Charles Cabel

Strive Consulting wouldn’t be the company it is without the inspiring group of employees who make up our workforce. We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who bring a diverse group of skills and backgrounds to the table, which set our organization up for success.

Throughout our ‘My Strive Story’ Interview platform, we sit down with members from our different teams within the organization to find out where they came from, why they chose Strive, and what makes their experience special.

Tell us about yourself.

First and foremost, to my fellow Veterans, we answered the call and served our country honorably. Every day, but more so on November 11th, I’ll hold my head up high, knowing that I’m part of such an esteemed group of individuals.

In addition, to my Army brothers and sisters from the recently decommissioned 67th Signal Battalion, thank you for being my battle buddies. Our accomplishments were great; the camaraderie was even greater.

Born in Chicago and raised in the Northwest Suburbs, I’m about as Chicagoan as the next guy. I prefer to call buildings by their original names (i.e., Comisky, Sears Tower, and the Rosemont Horizon). Give me a Chicago-style hotdog, but hold the sport peppers, or hit me with a Maxwell Street Polish any day of the week. If you want something truly Chicago, go with the giardiniera – no other city does it better.

I’ve been a consultant since 2008 and partnered with multiple organizations, across many industries, implementing IT solutions. I enjoy the challenge of bringing my client’s visions to fruition. More than that, I enjoy establishing a team dynamic between my clients and my colleagues.

What attracted you to Strive?

Before joining Strive, I was on the road for a significant amount of time. Strive’s local engagement model allows me to be with my family at home, instead of calling in via FaceTime from a hotel room. The quality of projects, diverse client base, and dynamic pace of work never falters and is still a huge part of who Strive is, but with the added benefit of staying out of airport check-in lines.

The size of Strive was also a huge factor in me joining. While Strive is growing at a rapid rate, we still have a close, tight-knit employee base, which is seen in the structure of our internal teams. I personally prefer smaller teams, where I can get to know my colleagues and have the opportunity to work together on challenging engagements – which is exactly how Strive operates.

What keeps you at Strive?

The challenging engagements. Each engagement has presented me with an opportunity for career growth and professional development. Whether it is a new role, new responsibilities, or new technologies, I’ve been able to have unique and fulfilling experiences, all while enjoying the people on my teams, both internally and externally.

What makes Strive stand above the rest?

Our ability to respond to change. We’re at a size that allows us to react quickly to changes and pivot accordingly, ensuring our decisions are correct for our clients and colleagues. This applies to the engagements we work on and how we work and interact.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

We’re a part of an interesting time; the post-pandemic landscape continues to change how we operate. I’m looking forward to seeing the response to the ever-changing “work” dynamic. Whatever the world brings, I do know that at Strive, we will successfully adapt and overcome.

Interested in joining Strive?

Here at Strive Consulting, we foster an active, innovative culture, providing the coaching, mentoring, and support our employees need to work at the top of their game and succeed personally and professionally. Check out our Careers page for open roles and opportunities within Strive. We’re hiring and we’re dedicated to being your partner, committed to success.

My Strive Story: John Reed

Strive Consulting wouldn’t be the company it is without the inspiring group of employees who make up our workforce. We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who bring a diverse group of skills and backgrounds to the table, which set our organization up for success.

Throughout our ‘My Strive Story’ Interview platform, we sit down with members from our different teams within the organization to find out where they came from, why they chose Strive, and what makes their experience special.

Tell us about yourself.

Hi – I’m John Reed. I am no longer a young man. I’ve seen some stuff.

Professionally, I act as a Client Solutions Director for Strive Consulting. Being a graduate from THE Ohio State University in Computer Sciences, I’m an engineer at heart. I’ve been a technology consultant for the bulk of my 25-year career. At Strive, my job is to understand our clients and their challenges, while partnering with them and our internal subject matter experts to create actionable solutions.

Personally – when not consulting or ‘solution-ing’, I consume every form of media you can think of involving science fiction or fantasy. I used to be a wrestler and a Muay Thai practitioner… but now, I am old. I no longer practice those disciplines, but I do enjoy reflecting back on those days, even though it makes my bones creak!

I’ve been married 13 years and we are the proud parents of three cats. I love to cook and can’t thank Alton Brown enough for writing “I’m Just Here For The Food”. It blends my love of food and science and changed my life! In addition to being old, I am also now overweight.

What attracted you to Strive?

On two separate occasions, within ten days of one another, trusted contacts recommended connecting with Strive and offered to make introductions. I don’t believe in coincidences, so I felt the universe was giving me sign. I was first introduced to Tyde Prater, Strive’s Chief Growth Officer and eventually, I was connected with Strive’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Consulting, Jeff Dillenburg.

We talked about building a better consulting model and shared ideas and philosophies on what that might look like. It led to conversations over dinner and waxing poetic on what could be. They were friendly and engaging conversations by like-minded industry peers and I left them as just that.

A year and a half later, I was offered a job to help build the things we talked about over those dinners. Now, we have friendly and engaging, like-minded conversations as colleagues.

What keeps you at Strive?

The continued opportunity to grow, evolve, and innovate the craft of consulting – those initial ideas over dinner are being tested and realized. It’s an opportunity to be heard and make a difference to clients and co-workers alike. We’re continuing to evolve a better consulting mousetrap every day and I love that challenge.

I enjoy seeing the benefits a well-executed consulting engagement has on our clients. I enjoy helping consultants get better at what they do. And, I enjoy the healthy operation of a consulting practice.

Strive is a platform where I can help grow and mature a craft that is near and dear to my heart and I am grateful for the opportunity.

What makes Strive stand above the rest?

We’re not perfect. But we care, we’re honest, and we work hard.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

Ohio State bringing home another national championship in football before this mortal coil forsakes me.

Or basketball… I’d take basketball too… or wrestling…. Synchronized swimming is a lock though.

Interested in joining Strive?

Here at Strive Consulting, we foster an active, innovative culture, providing the coaching, mentoring, and support our employees need to work at the top of their game and succeed personally and professionally. Check out our Careers page for open roles and opportunities within Strive. We’re hiring and we’re dedicated to being your partner, committed to success.

My Strive Story: Nicole McCarty

Strive Consulting wouldn’t be the company it is without the inspiring group of employees who make up our workforce. We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who bring a diverse group of skills and backgrounds to the table, which set our organization up for success.

Throughout our ‘My Strive Story’ Interview platform, we sit down with members from our different teams within the organization to find out where they came from, why they chose Strive, and what makes their experience special.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Nicole McCarty, a Senior Consultant in Strive’s Management Consulting practice in our Atlanta market. I have been in consulting for almost 7 years, including the 2.5 at Strive. I am an Industrial Engineer by degree, and I have spent my entire career in a variety of roles within IT and Program Management. I also have a collection of life titles, such as Mommy (to 21 mo. son and 2 dogs), Wife, Twin, ATL sports enthusiast, Novice Golfer, and Shark Whisperer! I like to spend my time outside work traveling, enjoying the company of my adorable family, or catching a game at Truist Park.

What attracted you to Strive?

The top two factors that sold me on Strive were the company culture and our localized business model. With the addition of our little guy, it is even more important to be home and not traveling for business constantly. Connecting with my clients within my home state has enhanced relationship building and a more successful delivery process, which I truly believe is a direct testament to consulting locally. Additionally, when initially hired at Strive, I was one of the first consultants to be brought on in the Atlanta Management Consulting practice. This was incredibly appealing and exciting from a professional growth perspective, as it offered the opportunity to grow with the practice and in turn, develop the organization and make a larger impact.

What keeps you at Strive?

Strive is special. I truly enjoy the people I get to work with on a daily basis. Not only do we have a great group of people in our office, but that in turn also brings an even more positive experience on the client site. I also truly enjoy the projects I get to work on. They’ve consistently offered a different experience, which has allowed me to grow exponentially, especially in areas outside of IT or sectors I have more experience in.

What makes Strive stand above the rest?

Strive cares about your wellbeing. Employees are not a number or some specifically skilled resource to be seated on a client as you would find at most large consulting firms. Strive encourages individuality, pushes for growth, and allows you to set your own career goals, all while helping you achieve them.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

I’m looking forward to my own personal and professional growth. With every new client or project, you are faced with new challenges and opportunities to meet new people and expand your knowledge of various industries. I’m very excited to grow our consultant practice in the Atlanta market (we’re hiring!) and to bring new individuals into our teams and projects, so they can see firsthand just how incredible it is to work with Strive and all of our clients, affiliates, and colleagues. The success we see at Strive is something to be proud of and we have a lot of great work ahead of us – I’m just thrilled to be a part of it!

Interested in joining Strive?

Here at Strive Consulting, we foster an active, innovative culture, providing the coaching, mentoring, and support our employees need to work at the top of their game and succeed personally and professionally. Check out our Careers page for open roles and opportunities within Strive. We’re hiring and we’re dedicated to being your partner, committed to success.

My Strive Story: Nick Ngo

Strive Consulting wouldn’t be the company it is without the inspiring group of employees who make up our workforce. We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who bring a diverse group of skills and backgrounds to the table, which set our organization up for success.

Throughout our ‘My Strive Story’ Interview platform, we sit down with members from our different teams within the organization to find out where they came from, why they chose Strive, and what makes their experience special.

Tell us about yourself:

I’m Nick Ngo, a Senior Consultant in our Management Consulting practice based out of our Chicago office.  

I’m originally from Houston, Texas, graduated from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth (go Frogs!), and lived in Dallas before moving up to Chicago in 2017. Even though Chicago is my home now, I’m always looking for ways to represent Texas, whether that means rooting for my Houston teams (tough times lately…), being a flour tortilla advocate, or mixing up a ranch water on a hot summer day.    

Now that things have opened back up in Chicago, you can usually find me spending time on the lakefront, catching live music, or trying new restaurants/bars.  

What attracted you to Strive?

I’d say there were 3 things that lured me to Strive and that still motivate me to come to work every day; the people-focused culture, the career opportunities, and the top-down investment to keep a strong work/life balance. In my experience, these things are intertwined. As a company, you can’t say you’re truly committed to offering your people a strong work/life balance if you don’t focus on putting your people first. Conversely, you can’t put your people first if you don’t create opportunities for them to excel and grow in their roles, and beyond.  

The commitment to these three areas has been clear to me in almost every conversation and interaction I’ve had with leadership and if it wasn’t at first, there is always a willingness to listen, understand, and improve throughout the company. Willingness to listen and actually impact positive change within your organization is rare these days, but not at Strive.

What keeps you at Strive?

I’ll talk more about one of the things I mentioned above – the career opportunities and experiences. Being at Strive has opened doors for me to learn and grow in ways that I don’t think would be as easy if I were at a larger, or frankly, different, company. Whether that’s taking a more active role in business developmentworking on strategic company initiatives that help shape our vision and cultureor working with one of our community outreach partners, Horizons for Youth, on how we can offer pro-bono consulting services, there are so many ways that one can raise their hand, find something they are interested in outside of their main role, and work to help the company grow in the right way.  

What makes Strive stand above the rest?

Strive has the best of both worlds – we’re a small, but growing, firm that delivers work to our large clients in a big way. We have leadership that listens first, and is not afraid to pivot when something isn’t working for our people and our clients.

What are you looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to the continued growth within Strive at an organizational level, but also expanding and developing personally within my own career path. Trust me, witnessing fundamental, positive changes in how we go to market to best provide our services, how we better structure our engagements to meet our clients needs, and how we continue to build a company culture of transparency, accountability, and fun is truly a sight to be seen!

Interested in joining Strive?

Here at Strive Consulting, we foster an active, innovative culture, providing the coaching, mentoring, and support our employees need to work at the top of their game and succeed personally and professionally. Check out our Careers page for open roles and opportunities within Strive or submit your resume below! We’re hiring and we’re dedicated to being your partner, committed to success.

My Strive Story: Jose Lomas

Strive Consulting wouldn’t be the company it is without the inspiring group of employees who make up our workforce. We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who bring a diverse group of skills and backgrounds to the table, which set our organization up for success.

Throughout our ‘My Strive Story’ Interview platform, we sit down with members from our different teams within the organization to find out where they came from, why they chose Strive, and what makes their experience special.

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Jose Lomas, and I’m the Principal of our National Recruiting team out of our Dallas office. I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, never miss the Texas State Fair, and am a die-hard Cowboys fan! My wife and I have 4 beautiful children, 3 crazy boxer’s and a fish named Flash! We love going to the zoo, watching movies, everything dinosaur related, and love a good old fashion Texas cookout – preferably fajitas!

What attracted you to Strive?

Like so many others, the incredible people and culture surrounding Strive is what originally lured me to join the organization. I had the unique opportunity of knowing a few of the leaders of Strive beforehand and had a deep understanding of the Core Values they held so dear. The more I reconnected with leadership at Strive, the more they assured me that along with the amazing employee focused culture, there was also a great work-life balance, which was important to me as a family man with 4 kids and 3 pups! In addition to these benefits within Strive, there was also incredible earning potential for me and my family with exponential company development, increasing both regionally and nationally.

What keeps you at Strive?

It’s simple… the opportunities for personal and professional growth. Long before my opportunity presented itself within Strive, I knew recruiting was a passion of mine. However, the firm I was currently with did not offer an advanced career path for someone in recruitment, resulting in stagnant growth early in my development. I then met a leader from Strive that told me of ample opportunities for growth in more places than Strive even knew of at the time, and that they believed in fostering a place for equal growth between sales, consulting, and recruitment. I can with full confidence say that Strive has done this for me and continues to do so, most recently in creating a new leadership role in an area that has never existed before within our firm, the National Recruitment Team.

Additionally, being a part of Strive feels like being part of a large enterprise, with a clear plan and proven roadmaps for success, offering economic stability and healthcare benefits for a family man like me. Conversely, like a startup, Strive also offers individuals the flexibility to grow independently and allow for the creation of diverse, tailored career paths. It has been an honor being able to grow our markets team and has been especially fun seeing my colleagues grow around me as well.

Lastly, another major reason that keeps me at Strive is the work-life balance they offer. With 4 little ones, there is rarely a week where something doesn’t happen and I must leave to take care of a sick child, doctors’ appointments, field trips, etc., and Strive has been more than understanding from day one. Leadership continues to support me in every way when it comes to my family and putting them first, meaning more than they could ever know.

What stands out to you from the last year?

We are a growing company surrounded by great leadership and endless opportunity in our growing markets. We have the infrastructure of a billion-dollar firm, small company heart, with Amazon and Tesla aspirations! I can vouch for the fact that we are growing, and positions are being created organically to allow for this growth. Strive creates opportunities to develop your own career… how far you take it is truly up to you. Speaking from personal experience, for me, they’re my second family, making it easy to grind and put in the work every week.

What are you looking forward to this year?

I want to continue to help my firm mature, but most of all I want to continue growing in a place that allows my family to still see their dad by dinnertime, in a place where I know my career is just getting started!

Interested in joining Strive?

Here at Strive Consulting, we foster an active, innovative culture, providing the coaching, mentoring, and support our employees need to work at the top of their game and succeed personally and professionally. Check out our Careers page for open roles and opportunities within Strive or submit your resume below! We’re hiring and we’re dedicated to being your partner, committed to success.

My Strive Story: Nora Willgren

Introducing our ‘My Strive Story’ Interview platform, where we sit down with members from our different teams within the organization to find out where they came from, why they chose Strive, and what makes their experience special.

Strive Consulting wouldn’t be the company it is without the inspiring group of employees who make up our workforce. We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who bring a diverse group of skills and backgrounds to the table, which set our organization up for success.

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Nora Willgren, and I’m a Manager in Strive’s Management Consulting practice. I’m originally from Helsinki, Finland by way of Marietta, GA, but I’ve called Chicago home for over 10 years! My husband and I are new parents as of last year, and our nine-month-old daughter is definitely now my favorite person, although our pup Bowie likes to remind us that he’s actually our first kid!

What attracted you to Strive?

I was initially drawn to Strive because of the culture and the breadth of professional growth opportunities. I knew I was looking for a local company with a tight-knit culture and space for me to learn new things. The more people I met through the interview process, the clearer it was to me that Strive is full of smart, driven, and yet down-to-earth people. Every person also seemed to have their own story of growth to share, which made me particularly excited for what that might look like for myself.

What keeps you at Strive?

Though the things that first brought me to Strive have held true, what I’ve found keeps me here is the incredibly supportive and thriving entrepreneurial atmosphere.

I feel like I’ve been able to learn and grow, not only because I’m given stretch opportunities, but because even if I’m stretching myself, I’m set up for success – both through a steady layer of support and an inherent understanding of my skills and abilities. I give a lot of credit to our very hands-on, people-oriented approach; we’re able to support and encourage our people because we prioritize staying in the loop and understanding individual goals.

Strive’s essence also feels like a start-up to me in a lot of ways. Even though I’m a consultant and my day-to-day work is at the client, I feel like much of my own growth can be attributed to the opportunities I’ve had outside of the day-to-day to stretch new and different muscles. Strive really encourages folks to identify, solve for, and run with ideas – there’s always room for us to keep improving. And with that growth mindset, we’re all empowered to take ownership of making Strive the best company it can be, one improvement, initiative, or person at a time.

One particularly meaningful activity that this empowerment has enabled for me is a focus on community engagement – not only as an individual, but also in determining how Strive can both best support our community partners as well as provide our people with meaningful ways to volunteer their time, expertise, or resources. We’re continuing to learn and grow in this space, but I’m proud to work for a company where we keep evolving to figure out how to give back to the communities we work and live in – that’s hugely important and rewarding for me personally.

What stands out to you from the last year?

Two words: baby and pandemic… talk about highs and lows! Those two events have obviously had an enormous impact on my life, both personally and professionally.

From the pandemic-perspective, I’ve seen Strive navigate these unprecedented times as a company and come out even smarter, even more tight-knit, and even better positioned to help our clients than before.

As a new mom, I’ve personally experienced incredible support on top of the overall space Strive already works to provide for women as a collective. I wouldn’t have expected anything different from Strive, and yet I’m incredibly grateful for the difference it’s made for me as I started this working parent journey – and during the middle of a global pandemic, to boot!

What are you looking forward to this year?

Here in Chicago, it feels like things are starting to look up – vaccines are flowing, tulips are growing, business is picking up and I think Strive is just getting started. With every conversation I have, I hear about more ways we’re bringing our experience and insights to our clients or new and clever ways we’re adding value. It’s an awesome thing to be part of, and I can’t wait to see our Consulting practice (and company overall) continue to grow this year!

Interested in joining Strive?

Here at Strive Consulting, we foster an active, innovative culture, providing the coaching, mentoring, and support our employees need to work at the top of their game and succeed personally and professionally. Check out our Careers page for open roles and opportunities within Strive or submit your resume below! We’re hiring and we’re dedicated to being your partner, committed to success.

When Face-to-Face Isn’t an Option: A 10-Step Guide to Networking Behind a Screen

With continued limits on in-office interaction, making water cooler talk a thing of the past, professionals are flocking to digital platforms like LinkedIn and other social media to stay connected with colleagues, clients, and prospects. But skipping traditional networking soirees, conferences, and meetups isn’t all bad. If small talk with strangers while exchanging business cards and polite conversation isn’t a strong suit, and the thought of networking behind a computer screen seems impersonal and overwhelming, keep reading. If you know how to navigate this new normal, there’s greater autonomy, flexibility, and substance to be found online. Here are a few key tips on how to engage and build relationships when face-to-face networking isn’t an option.

Nurture your Network

Building relationships of any kind takes time and it’s important to make networking a consistent and frequent part of your day to day. In order to build trust, establish a track record of reciprocity. Frequently offer up information or personal introductions to your own connections. After all, you want a network that can support you when you need it, and it’s easier to ask someone for help when you’ve offered it to them in the past. Attempting to quickly develop a network only when you’re facing a layoff or an impending missed quota, will be too little too late.

Be Proactive

Start with people you know. Whether an email, call, or a LinkedIn note, take a few minutes each week to reach out to those you used to see in person. If you see or hear about a colleague earning a promotion or changing jobs, send a congratulatory sentiment right then. What goes around comes around!

Don’t be shy about reconnecting with professionals in your network who haven’t heard from you in a while. It’s likely you will both have news to share since your last encounter, and most people are flattered by an opportunity to catch up.

Be Authentic 

If you are genuine in your approach and seek to connect by inquiring about the wellbeing of those you contact, you’re more likely to get a positive response. Diane Darling, author of “The Networking Survival Guide,” recommends people go through their LinkedIn contacts and put them into a spreadsheet. “Then simply say, ‘How are you? What’s new? Is there anything I can do for you?” 1

Focus on sharing insights and personal experiences to avoid being “salesy”. Seek to learn about the person you’d like to network with,  make sure to always ask thoughtful questions and be respectful of their time.

Be Considerate

Set meetings for a few minutes at a time, so the encounter doesn’t feel like a burden and be sure to confirm your intention to adhere to the allotted time at the opening of the meeting. 15-30 minutes is enough to touch base, engage and make an impact!

Cast a Wide Net

While more is only better if the connections you make are relevant to you, don’t hesitate to seek out individuals outside your immediate field of expertise. It’s likely that you’ll meet some professionals whom you connect with deeply and others who will only be surface acquaintances in the long run. You never know how a seemingly weak connection may drive opportunity to meet a more valuable connection in the future. If you want a robust network that offers the greatest opportunity, attempt to access as many leaders as possible.

Embrace the Space 

Leverage Online Tools – Web conferences and in-person networking opportunities like meetups have gone virtual. Sign up for virtual conferences and check out the networking tools they offer.

A recent online conference hosted by Women In Technology (WIT) used Zoom as a video platform and offered attendees who purchased VIP tickets the opportunity to participate in pop out meeting rooms prior to the event. Acting as a virtual mix and mingle session, attendees could chat directly with conference speakers who were C-suite executives from enterprise organizations around Atlanta.

But attending online conferences isn’t the only way to connect. Follow those who inspire you on social media and engage with their content. By showing your interest to your contacts directly via likes and comments, you’ll also affect the algorithms that determine the content you see in your feed.

Be Prepared

Do your research beforehand and reference their interests and accomplishments in your connection efforts. Aside from a standard Google search, look at their social media profiles, newsfeed posts and website. When you lock in the meeting, prepare to talk about an article they’ve written or an online video publication they’ve published. Taking a little time upfront can create a more meaningful and memorable conversation.

Bring Value

Demonstrate you have something to offer that will make it worth their time to connect. Find an article that, based on your research, might interest them or identify someone in your network they might benefit from meeting. Remember, it’s easier to receive help when you’re known for being a helper yourself.

Ask for Advice

Almost everyone is willing to offer up their opinions and advice when asked, but if you want the best results, get specific about what you need. When asking for subject matter expertise, make it easy on your contact by giving them an example scenario they can think though. Additionally, if you would like to be introduced to someone in their network, name that person specifically, rather than asking broadly, “do you have anyone in your network I should meet?”.

Be a Thought Leader

The absolute best way to grow your network is to be seen as a thought leader in your industry. According to the Forbes publication “4 Signs You Might Be A Thought Leader in Your Industry (and How to Capitalize on It”, thought leaders carry major sway within their industry, thanks to their unique knowledge, insights or skill. Their opinions matter, and their services are always in high demand. Publishing content to your social media platforms is a great way to toot your own horn and share valuable insight that others would love to benefit from. 2

Networking connects you to individuals and companies alike, but once you’re connected it’s critical to cultivate solid relationships that last. At Strive, we understand the value of building relationships through networking – in fact, we’ve built our business around it. Our commitment to connecting the clients we serve within our vast network is a large part of what makes our delivery model so successful. By building relationships with a focus on individuals, as well as their companies, we are able to introduce our clients to others in their own organizations, as well as different clients we’ve worked with throughout similar industries. Our clients are some of the most prosperous, technologically advanced organizations across the country and Strive grows with them. Leveraging proven experience, Strive is able to tackle challenging problem sets through a pragmatic and modern approach, all while keeping our network and client relationships at the heart of everything we do.