Clarkston Consulting
Skip to content

Project Manager Shares Insightful Advice for Women in Business

In celebrating Women’s History Month, Azyn, project manager at Clarkston, shares great encouragement and advice for women in business. She also discusses the value of celebrating how far we’ve come and continuing to pave the way for women. Read her full career story below to learn about her experience with Clarkston and her involvement in the firm’s Women’s Empowerment Network.

Women’s History Month 2024

1. What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

Women’s History Month, to me, is the celebration of the incredible women of our past who fought triumphantly to be able to live normal lives. In today’s world, we take a lot of our rights and freedoms for granted, because we’ve never had to go without them – having a credit card, driving a car, voting, working – a lot of us have grown up with these things as part of our everyday lives. But for the women of the past, these were mere dreams. So, to be able to shine a light on how far we’ve come, while also using this month to look forward and continue to lay the groundwork for future changes, is very special and vital to me.

Being a Middle Eastern woman, I always try my hardest to spotlight women in other countries who, unfortunately, do not have the same opportunities as I do here in America. Some of the most brilliant minds are in countries that still, in 2024, do not value their women. A lot of these women are not even allowed to attend school let alone work, attend events, or live a normal life. They deserve to have advocates in the West so maybe one day that can change. While we should support these women daily, Women’s History Month is an especially good time to bring light to their stories. Women everywhere should be revered and celebrated. While we’ve come a long way, Women’s History Month is a great reminder that we still have work to do.

2. Tell us about your involvement with Clarkston’s Women’s Empowerment Network? And, how can women support other women in their organizations? 

I’ve been involved with the Women’s Empowerment Network since joining Clarkston in 2022. I’ve been part of two Buddy Program cycles, and I can’t say enough great things about that program. Clarkston, and especially the women that run WEN+, truly believe in empowering young stewards in the beginning of our careers with Clarkston. The Buddy Program pairs a more seasoned steward with one just starting out. We meet on a cadence that works for us and discuss topics such as empowerment, work/life balance, and networking. These “buddies” form almost a mentor/mentee relationship. It’s so helpful having a program like this to network with people you normally wouldn’t cross paths with.

I think a program like this is a great way for women to support other women within their own organizations. If something like this isn’t feasible, I’d say just reaching out to other women and getting to know them and their goals. For more seasoned women in higher levels, this could turn into helping pave the way for younger women. It’s imperative for young women to have their names brought up in rooms when opportunities arise, and I think that’s one of the most valuable things the women who came before us can do. That’s what it is all about.

3. What advice would you give to your younger self or young women entering a similar profession? 

Believe in yourself and be bold in everything you do. Some days, it’s hard to believe in yourself. On days like that, you need to remind yourself that you absolutely belong in the space you’re taking up. You’re there for a reason, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t sell yourself short. Never make yourself smaller to appease others. Women are powerful and we are capable of amazing things when we have great cheerleaders backing us.

4. What industry sector do you work in mostly? Are there women trailblazers in your industry that you admire? Do different business sectors have varying gender diversity/women in leadership and if so, why? 

For most of my career at Clarkston, I’ve been in the Retail sector and when I think of women trailblazers in that industry, Judith McKenna is the first name that comes to mind. She’s had an amazing career journey but most notably, she was the President and CEO of Walmart International. I’d say most of us use online grocery shopping these days, or at least did at the height of the pandemic, and we all have her to thank for it as she played a vital role in creating that business model!

Different business sectors absolutely have varying gender diversity in leadership. Some fields, Information Technology, military/first responders, and trades to name a few, have large gaps in the number of women compared to men on the job. Because of this, leadership may look differently and be more male dominated. Women that climb the ranks in male dominated fields are some of the brightest and strongest women, in my opinion.

Azyn’s Career Story

How long have you been with Clarkston?  

I’ve been with Clarkston since May of 2022. I joined the firm through the Jumpstart program with 13 other very talented stewards. 

What is your role at Clarkston?  

Since joining in May of 2022, I’ve focused my work on project management roles. I’m currently a Project Manager in the life sciences sector, which is a big jump from retail, but it’s been the best jump! I’m learning a whole new industry, while also refining my project management skills. Being able to jump from industry to industry and deliver brilliant client service in my management style is absolutely a skill I want to continue to build.  ​

Tell us about a new skill you’ve developed recently. 

One new skill that I’ve learned recently, with the help of fellow stewards, is Smartsheet. I’ve always used Excel to do most of my work, but on my newest project, Smartsheet is the application of choice. It’s been so exciting to learn a new software and get familiar with it. It also has some really great features that are perfect for project management. It’s definitely something I will carry with me into new projects.

If you had to choose, which of Clarkston’s core values do you feel resonates with you the most? 

Brilliant Client Service – hands down. At Clarkston, we refer to ourselves as Stewards rather than employees or consultants. We know the importance of leading with a servant’s heart for our clients. Building and maintaining those relationships all while delivering some remarkable projects and systems is one of the best feelings. Coming in as consultants, sometimes we have to break through some stereotypes so the most satisfying feeling, for me, is when a client truly trusts us with their business and likes us enough personally to continue our partnership.

What advice would you give to someone starting at Clarkston?  

Talk to as many people as you can! Clarkston is different than a lot of other companies in the sense that every single person here is willing to help you grow personally as well as professionally. I don’t think I’ve ever worked somewhere with so many kind, helpful, brilliant people. It’s so important to utilize the knowledge of your peers to better yourself. So, talk to and learn from as many people as you can.

In your experience, what qualities make someone a good consultant?

Be comfortable accepting feedback; know that it’s for you to grow. We have a lot of experienced consultants here and they know a thing or two! Another way to be a good consultant is to get familiar with consistently learning. This isn’t a career where you’ll know everything all the time. Getting familiar with the idea of ever-changing industries is key. And lastly, reach out if you need help! Everyone here is happy to help because a win for you is a win for the firm. So don’t stress yourself out trying to solve every problem on your own.

What drove you to accept Clarkston’s employment offer?

I had a friend who worked at Clarkston prior to me joining the firm and the way she spoke about the people and culture just amazed me and I wanted to have a job that I loved that much. Throughout my interview process, it was evident that everything she said was true and this place really was amazing! The biggest driving factor for me accepting my offer was being able to feel how much Clarkston cared for its stewards. Working somewhere that truly wants us all to succeed and actively aids in that is a wonderful way to spend your days.

Learn how you can develop your career at Clarkston here.