4 minute read 8 Jul. 2022
Women in Consulting - Kirsten Tisdale

Exploring the endless growth opportunities of a consulting career

By Kirsten Tisdale

EY Canada Managing Partner, Government and Public Sector

Trusted advisor in supporting governments and public entities through complex reform and transformation. Passion for road biking, hiking and keeping up with my two very active young boys.

4 minute read 8 Jul. 2022
Related topics Consulting

Building an impactful career in consulting as a single, working mother can be a challenging yet very rewarding act. 

In brief
  • The challenge of building a career in consulting paired with the daily balancing act of raising a family is real, but it offers many avenues to unlock value and create lasting impact.
  • There are many opportunities and rewards in consulting roles to drive growth for the business, secure growth avenues for clients and advance personal development.

Whether at the federal, provincial or municipal level, what inspires me most about supporting government and public sector clients is the ability to unlock value for all Canadians. Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of teams that are transforming services, modernizing procurement, and enhancing health care delivery for better outcomes for citizens — at EY and beyond.

Like many others, I returned to EY after some time away. Earlier in my career, I was part of EY’s Consulting team, which was sold to Cap Gemini, and then in 2003, I left EY to take an executive role in government, where I had the opportunity to drive change from the inside. After this great experience, I returned to the firm 10 years later to help rebuild our Consulting practice.

My career has been rewarding, challenging and, at times, surprising. But if there’s one word I’d use to describe my journey in consulting to date it’d be impact. Impact on our firm’s growth, on our teams’ development, in our communities and across this great country. And all while rarely missing a critical soccer game or school play of my two boys. Being a single, working mother is a daily juggling act, with some days easier than others. But leading a national team of amazing professionals having impact every day with great clients makes it worth it for me. Here’s why.

Driving growth for the business 

My decision to rejoin EY in 2014 was a thought-out and conscious choice. I chose EY over the other firms because of the people and culture, which was by far the best fit for me. While an intimidating mandate at first, it was an opportunity to build the firm’s Canadian Consulting arm and soon after lead the Global Government and Public Sector Consulting practice, supporting my partners working for government in over 100 countries.

This global leadership role provided me with the opportunity to gain client and leading practice insights from across the world, as well as a deeper understanding on how the organization operates at a truly global level. I balanced this will maintaining my Canadian client serving role and portfolio, which I never wanted to give up. It allowed me to diversify my portfolio, gain new perspectives and bring leading practices from around the world back to Canada. Our Canadian Government and Public Sector practice has grown to over 500 bold and curious professionals serving every level of government, and we continue to expand exponentially. 

Securing growth avenues for clients

What energizes me the most about a career in consulting is working with teams and clients to crack the code on tough problems and finding solutions that have a lasting impact. Government has always been my area of focus, but EY has given me many opportunities to push the boundaries and go beyond my comfort zone. Through the years, I’ve helped clients across industries, from mining and metals to financial services, secure new growth while honing my unique strengths and experience base.

One of those opportunities was to work with a provincial Crown corporation to drive legislative reform and digital transformation across the province. We took a concept that others had tried for more than 30 years to change, bringing in advisors from Australia and working through complex political systems — even through a change in government — to help deliver a model that resulted in billions in savings and a more sustainable insurance system for the citizens of British Columbia. Projects like these, where we have an opportunity to influence policy at the highest level and see it all the way through to successful implementation, are what inspire and excite me to get up for work every morning. 

Advancing growth for personal development 

What sets a professional services firm apart is that you’re not just joining a Canadian practice, but a globally connected village operating as one team. At EY, we have a strong community supporting and collaborating across borders to enable personal and professional growth, while connecting the dots to fuel innovation for our clients.

And we’re not limited by hierarchies either. Regardless of level or rank, everyone is encouraged to collaborate, share ideas and have a seat at the table. In fact, some of my best learning was early in my career when I got to work directly with some of the firm’s senior partners, allowing me to step up and take on new clients and projects.

This investment in people is what gives us the chance and autonomy to lead, and builds bold, passionate and creative teams in the process. The practical, hands-on experiences I’ve had have helped me accelerate personal learning and development across sectors, geographies and functions, giving me the chance to identify strengths and abilities to reach my full potential.

My advice for anyone looking to pursue a role in consulting is take the leap. One thing is for sure, you will never be bored. There are endless challenges that create new opportunities to contribute to something meaningful and create lasting impact. I cannot imagine a better place to have a career. 

Summary

Building an impactful career in consulting as a single, working mother is a challenge, but it offers many avenues to unlock value and create lasting impact. Driving growth for the business, securing growth avenues for clients and advancing personal development are some of the rewards of the consulting journey.

About this article

By Kirsten Tisdale

EY Canada Managing Partner, Government and Public Sector

Trusted advisor in supporting governments and public entities through complex reform and transformation. Passion for road biking, hiking and keeping up with my two very active young boys.

Related topics Consulting