Sylvia is a Director at Level5, where she spearheads the Transformation practice and Level5’s Women in Consulting initiative. With a hybrid background of Brand Strategy and Organizational Transformation, Sylvia partners with clients across a range of industries to understand and define their Promise, co-build customer-focused strategies, and then help with implementation through organization design and transformation. Prior to joining Level5 in June 2014 as a Consultant, Sylvia earned her MBA from Schulich School of Business, and prior to that, worked at Scotiabank for over 5 years in various customer service, people management, and communications roles.
I went into consulting because… it’s an industry that challenges you from day 1. Given the pace of change in today’s world, as consultants, we are continuously evolving how we work and look at our clients’ diverse business challenges so that we can continue to deliver value to them.
I love working at Level5 because… it’s an incredible place to learn and grow among some of the best and brightest people. After 5 years, I still come into work every day knowing that I will laugh and learn – two key ingredients that underpin Level5’s culture. Our culture is not only something that’s internal to our firm… it also inspires how we engage and work side-by-side with our clients to define and implement strategies that tackle their biggest challenges and deliver sustainable results.
I think the most important quality of a good consultant is… curiosity and passion for continuous learning and personal growth. You learn a lot very quickly as a consultant – almost by necessity. The learning never stops.
My proudest personal accomplishment was… finding my authentic voice and overcoming my fears around being too vocal, or wrong, and perfection procrastination, which was beginning to hinder my career growth and opportunities. I can pinpoint the exact presentation that I first delivered in “my voice”. By letting myself become comfortable with the uncomfortable, my focus shifted from having to say the “perfect” things or deliver the “perfect” presentations to the impact I want to create and how I want people to feel when they leave the room. Not only has this overhauled my presentation and facilitation style, it’s helped me build deeper and more impactful connections with colleagues, clients and people in general. Finding your authentic voice and feeling empowered to use it will help you excel in any career.
My boldest move to date was… deciding to quit my job at a Big 5 bank after over 5 years of “climbing the corporate ladder” so that I can pursue my MBA and reset my career path. I knew I needed a change and the career path that I was pursuing no longer excited me. During my MBA, I was able to focus on my professional development, explore my interests, and think through what I wanted to do long-term. That’s how I got exposed to the world of consulting.
I stay inspired/ motivated by… the new and unexpected opportunities that each day brings, and my husband, who is my number one cheerleader and partner in life.
My biggest setback has been… there are so many. Life is a series of setbacks and failures. No meaningful success was ever achieved without failure.
I overcame it by… looking at failure differently. Failure is delay, not defeat. It’s a temporary detour, not a dead end.
Being a woman in consulting is… awesome! There’s a shift happening in the industry. There are more women applying to consulting firms, and consulting firms are not only making efforts to recruit more women, but also making meaningful efforts to develop and retain them.
My best advice to aspiring consultants is… beyond case and interview prep, do some soul searching to figure out what type of culture is a good fit for you. If there’s a firm you’re really interested in working for, take the time to get to know some if its people, how you would fit in at the firm, and if the culture is one that you would thrive in. Culture fit is critical for long-term growth and success at any firm… and you’ll love going into work every day.