Name:  Kristine Mackey

Age:  59

Job title:  Vice President

Time in current role: 7 years

Kristine Mackey is a Vice President at law and finance consulting firm Charles River Associates. She’s based in Chicago.

How did you land your current job?

Prior to this I was COO (chief operating officer) of a small consulting firm. We prepared ourselves for sale in 2007 and sold in 2008. When our obligation under contract was complete in 2013 we sold again and since then I have been VP (vice president) at Charles River Associates.

One of the hallmarks of my career progression is my education. I’ve continued to go to school, attend training and work on self-study projects throughout. In today’s market I don’t know if it’s possible to progress without continual learning.

What are the key functions of your role?

My primary focused is strategic growth – that is, building the business – and most of what I do relates to people. I research people that might be a good fit for our business and I meet people to try and develop relationships. I also work closely with my colleagues so I know what projects they’re involved in so I can discuss our work with external organisations.

All of these activities are focused on getting people to join us and creating opportunities for prospective clients to familiarise themselves with our work so that when the opportunity arises they think of us first.

Talk us through your typical day at work

I’m an early riser and in the morning before I leave home I do two things. First I tend to social media and check emails as well as scan news sources which often leads to noting down ‘to-dos’.  Then I review my calendar and organise my day.

After I shower and dress, I’m off.  My entire wardrobe is some variation of black – so dressing is no hassle.  I arrive at work anytime between 7:30am and 9:00am depending on any stops I make (Starbucks) or breakfast meetings I have scheduled.

During the day my work flows from my calendar and my notes. Nevertheless there are always unforeseen siutations that pop up and people that stop by.

At lunch, unless I have a meeting, I will eat at my desk or eat with a colleague. I tend to leave work around 5pm. Often I leave work to attend an event or meet someone for a drink, usually related to business.

How would your colleagues describe you in three words?

Optimistic, diligent and creative.

Your favourite part of the job?

I love to win. When a connection is made or a project is won I’m ecstatic for weeks. Part of it is that I’m genuinely happy for the outcome because I know the lengthy and arduous work that’s gone into that one moment, and part of it is raw competitive nature.

…and the part you could do without?

Drama. Life is too short. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and most people have earned their place and deserve my best attention but sometimes unnecessary politics and drama get in the way and burden my psyche.

Plans for the future? 

I love my team and what I’m doing so I would only leave if an opportunity arose that contributed directly to endeavours I’m passionate about, primarily related to education or non-profit work.

Do you have any advice for others aspiring to break into your field?

Consulting is a knowledge business. Never stop working on building your own skills and knowledge and never stop cultivating relationships (not to be confused with acquaintances). Relationships usually bloom out of your contribution to another’s situation without any expectation of quid pro quo. Those are real relationships, and they often result in a benefit to you. LLY

The views expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not reflect or represent the views of Charles River Associates or any of the organizations with which the author is affiliated.

Posted by:Carly Lewis-Oduntan

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