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First Client Engagement with Eileen

Eileen, an experienced Change Management Consultant with Clarkston Consulting, shares her career experience and her first client engagement, highlighting the changes she’s seen over the past 20 years.

Eileen’s Career Experience:
I joined Clarkston Consulting based on a recommendation from a former colleague who had joined about six months beforehand. He was familiar with my skills and the direction in which I wanted my career to progress and knew that Clarkston would be the perfect place for me, too.

First Client Engagement:
Describe your first client engagement.

It was a multi-national building products company for an eCommerce solution. This was in the early 2000s, and my role was to design a delightful front-end user experience along with the information architecture supporting the content. Understanding the end users and being their advocate was key to a successful outcome.

Compare your first client engagement to your current client engagement.
My current client is a global biotech company that develops treatments and cures life-threatening diseases around the world. Even though it’s 20 years later, I’m still involved with the end user experience but from the standpoint of ensuring user adoption with all of what that entails, from awareness to training to sustainment. Understanding the user experience is still key, especially from a holistic viewpoint.

How has the type of work changed?
The work I was hired to do evolved into something else entirely. After the dotcom bust of 2000, I had the opportunity to participate on other projects for Clarkston’s clients in industries that were entirely new to me. I chose to stay and explore these new avenues where I could take my existing skills and develop them into a new area. Interestingly enough, eCommerce appears to be on an upswing again, especially with new platforms now available and the use of smartphones as a primary user device.

How have your clients changed over the years?
I started out working with consumer products companies and then was given the opportunity to do a few projects with companies in the life sciences industry. The more I learned about those life sciences companies and the regulatory constraints under which they had to operate, the more interested I became. I was lured in by the complexity and developed a desire to unravel the threads into something more meaningful to the average user.

How has the way you deliver work changed?
When I started out, 100% of my work had to be performed onsite at the client’s location. Nowadays, we have the technology to work effectively from anywhere, although some clients still prefer a majority of face time. Twenty years ago, home internet access speeds were much too slow to be able to work remotely, let alone have video conferences. Remote work, while wonderful, has its challenges too and requires a different mindset and skills that companies are still learning to develop and harness.

Advice for Experienced Professionals:
I was pretty far along in my career when I joined Clarkston and had already been in consulting for about a year, so I figured it would probably last for a few years and I’d be back in industry. But the allure of having new assignments and new clients and traveling to different locations really appealed to my sense of adventure and need for new experiences.

Buckle up – it’s going to be an exhilarating ride!