The sense of community at Berkeley is really quite unique. I’ve worked on individual teams where there was a similar feeling before, but I didn’t think it was possible to achieve across an entire organization. People take a genuine interest in each other, and enjoy spending time together. This isn’t just about the social side of office life though – it’s reflected in client work too.
One of my earliest “a-ha” moments at Berkeley was when I sent out an all-hands email asking for some content for a proposal, very early on in my career here. I’d sent so many of these emails in the past in other organizations, and inevitably received a lacklustre response, so I wasn’t expecting much. Berkeley was completely different – I received so many replies from people offering advice, sending previous examples, asking if I’d like to discuss face to face. People really look out for each other at Berkeley.
The extent to which core consulting skills truly are transferrable across different project disciplines. I came to Berkeley keen to enjoy more variety in my project work, and fairly convinced that my skills could comfortably translate to more types of roles than previous organizations would allow. This was proven to be even more true than I imagined – given the opportunity, I have been able to adapt and build on my existing capabilities by stretching them in new directions.
I have worked on a far broader variety of engagements than most organizations feel is possible at Berkeley, across strategy, organization design and operating model work, change, supplier negotiation and program management, to name only a few. In most consulting organizations, these are all entirely different departments that never cross paths, when in reality, working across different disciplines allows consultants to build and expand their skillsets. The most important thing I have learned at Berkeley is the incredible benefit to be taken from moving outside your comfort zone and pushing the boundaries of your capabilities.
I’ve never seen myself as much of a “hobbies” person, but I’ve now played the piano for over 26 years, so I suppose it counts! I’ve recently been inducted into the “Berkeley Band”, which has been a great experience. Outside of work, I’m typically spending time with friends, walking in the Surrey hills, or trying out some new recipes (currently going through a bit of an Ottolenghi phase). One of my favorite things to do is try new restaurants in London, particularly if they happen to be Japanese.
To counteract all the babaganoush and nigiri, I also acquired a Peloton in lockdown, which was supposed to be a way to keep fit while we weren’t allowed outside, but has turned into a bit of an obsession – I recently moved house so it could have its own room… which in turn has led to a bit of a passion for interior design.