Eking the greatest impact out of the number of hours in your work day can feel like a challenge. Being impactful with your time when you’re still getting acclimated to the priorities of a new position can feel even more so.
Luckily for Penny Wand, who recently joined the team at West Monroe, a business and technology consulting firm, the culture she’s entered into is a decidedly supportive one. Women in the FGB community say they’ve felt “very supported here since day one,” and that the firm’s leadership backs their decisions “both as professionals and as mothers.”
As a traveling, horse-owning mom and tech enthusiast, Wand has found an environment at West Monroe that speaks to her need for a work day that’s far from ho-hum. She recently shared with Fairygodboss a day-in-the-life snapshot of what one of her typically dynamic days looks like, from waking up in Chicago and falling asleep in New York to everything in between.
Who: Penny Wand
What: Technology Consulting Director, West Monroe
Where: Greater Chicago area
I wake, happy that I still have more time to sleep but annoyed that this 3:30 am awakening is becoming a habit. Sleep is important to my sanity! I doze back off.
The alarm goes off while I hear my dog, Rose, snoring in my ear. She has wedged herself between my husband and me and is taking far more than her fair share of the bed. Once I’ve gotten myself together, I take her outside for her morning duties. My horse, Charlie, hears the garage door open, whinnies, and comes galloping up to the fence hoping for morning treats and a visit from Rose. I don’t have much time, but I can’t resist him. I finish up the chores, grab a banana and head out the door, then stop in at the local coffee shop before my hour-long train ride into downtown Chicago.
I board the train and set up my “commuter office.” I double-check the day’s calendar and make sure email is current; read some news; check LinkedIn and read a few interesting posts; take my turn on Words with Friends games; work on a deliverable; and text with various family members. Today was a fun text because our daughter is on a vacation in Australia and sent pictures of herself hanging out with a kangaroo and a koala. Our son is planning a last-minute trip to Europe.
Once I get to West Monroe’s office, I have a coffee catch-up to get to know another member of the firm. As a new executive at a fun and nimble consulting firm, I enjoy meeting a diverse group of people from multidisciplinary teams. Afterwards, I refresh myself on my “First 180 Days” plan to ensure I’m focused on my near-term goals.
I present a recommendation to a CEO who is a client and his team on IT Governance, a new concept and process for them. We rock the meeting and the client is pleased. I’ve been working with junior members of our firm on this engagement which gives me energy, as I like delighting clients and mentoring bright professionals at the same time. We do a quick debrief, high-five, and then I catch an Uber to the airport.
My Uber arrives at O’Hare for a flight to New York City to launch a new project with a private equity firm. We are helping the firm use data and analytics more effectively to gain insights that inform their decision-making processes. In preparation for the next day’s meeting, the team already on-site wants to make sure I’m up to speed, so we have a quick call.
On the plane, I take a 20-minute snooze, since I rarely manage to stay awake through take off, then read prep material for the next day.
After airport delays and typical NYC traffic, I check into my hotel, change into comfortable clothes, and head out to meet the team and review the next day’s presentation. It is the first time I’m meeting some of them and I want to invest time to deeply understand the client’s goals to provide the best support to the client and our team.
I leave the meeting impressed by the team and feeling even better about my decision to join the firm. I drift off to sleep in the hotel, soon after my head hits the pillow.
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