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Trade Consultant Career Q&A with Megan

Megan shares her trade consultant career story at Clarkston Consulting and how she’s prioritizing connection post-Covid and continually working to build her expertise.

How long have you been with Clarkston?

I’ve been at Clarkston for a little over 3 years as a consultant (since July 2019). I was also an intern the summer of 2018 while in college.

What is your role at Clarkston?

I’m a consultant with our Consumer Products Sales & Marketing community (typically say I’m a ‘trade consultant’ to clients). I work with our clients to improve how they sell to their customers, how they promote their products and how they forecast/actualize sales.

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

Though I’m a trade consultant, I come from a supply chain/logistics background, so the intersection where supply meets demand in a CPG organization is a passion area for me. I’ve recently been working to build my expertise around demand planning. The better we can advise and train our sales teams around forecasting demand, the easier it will be to reach a consensus forecast with supply planning teams.

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

I would have to say ‘initiative’: proactively seeking out opportunities to positively impact the individual, firm and client – simply because I believe that this is a prerequisite to many of our other core values, such as brilliant client service, differentiated performance and entrepreneurial spirit. Here at Clarkston, we’re empowered to take the initiative and chase after what we feel is best for our clients, to collaborate with them and to truly serve as a trusted advisor. It’s a privilege to work alongside others who also pride themselves on taking the initiative to build a better tomorrow.

How has your work changed post-COVID?

In the past, there were stronger boundaries between client work and internal work. Physically traveling to the client site each week naturally created a boundary: you’d fully focus on your client while there Monday-Thursday, then do a bit of client work on Fridays, but dedicate portions of that day to being involved internally in areas you’re passionate about. Now the lines have blurred. On one hand, this is great – we have a lot more flexibility. On the other hand, it can be harder to manage competing priorities and ‘turn off’.  For me personally, nothing can replace the feeling of connection from being in-person. I currently travel to my client ~one week a month (as opposed to 3 weeks a month). I really enjoy working with and building relationship with my clients and I look forward to doing smaller, more social activities like grabbing dinner together after a productive day again in the future.

Which internal initiatives, communities, or projects are you involved in at Clarkston?

I’m involved in quite a few internal initiatives and communities at Clarkston (most of us are!) that span my various interests – building up my subject matter knowledge through the Supply Chain community, connecting with local stewards as one of the RDU regional office leads, recruiting new stewards from my alma mater. I also serve as the Professional Development lead for our CP Sales & Marketing services. I would say that this is the internal initiative I am most proud of, because it involves bringing together our experienced stewards/SMEs and connecting them with our less-experienced, newer stewards for mentorship and growth opportunities. When I first joined Clarkston, I benefitted tremendously from this structure. Not only can you learn so much from folks that were in your position years ago but being given the opportunity to form close relationships with these experts has been invaluable to me in my career. Now, serving as the lead, it means a lot to me to be a significant part of ensuring that others have the same (if not better) opportunities that I have. A rising tide lifts all ships.

What drove you to accept Clarkston’s employment offer?

I first worked at Clarkston as an intern while in college. The reason I chose Clarkston for my internship over another consulting firm was because of how hands-on I’d heard the internship was. For 8 weeks one summer, I was actually staffed on a client, traveling to their site with my team, conducting analysis and reporting on findings. I even was given the opportunity to present part of our findings to the client’s VP of finance. The trust and support that Clarkston showed me as an unexperienced student was really impactful to me. My team was dedicated to making sure that I grew and got the most experience possible out of those 8 weeks. The way that they empowered me to be more than I thought I could be at the time convinced me that this was where I wanted to build my career. I knew that Clarkston was a positive environment where I could flourish and others would champion my growth. At Clarkston, we really are all one team, working to better ourselves and our clients daily.

Learn how you can develop your trade consultant career at Clarkston here