'I Love My Job’: I Found My ‘Forever Home’ at a Firm Where Everyone Truly Supports One Another

Sponsored by West Monroe

Cortnaye Swan. Photo courtesy of West Monroe.

Cortnaye Swan. Photo courtesy of West Monroe.

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Fairygodboss
May 28, 2024 at 11:43AM UTC

Welcome to I Love My Job, the series where we hear from women who really love their jobs. In this edition, we sat down with Cortnaye Swan, a partner in West Monroe’s Healthcare & Life Sciences practice. “I focus on our life sciences segment, and I specialize in patient-centricity and developing programs for our pharmaceutical and medical device clients,” Swan explains. 

Swan has been in management consulting, particularly in the healthcare and life sciences industry for 20 years, ever since she left undergrad. “I gravitated toward the healthcare industry because I'd always wanted to be a healthcare provider, helping people,” she shares. “The firm that I joined experienced tremendous growth in the 20 years that I was there; however, at some point, it felt like it had gotten too big.”

Then, one day, a former mentee reached out to Swan and told her how the company he just joined, West Monroe, would be a great fit for her — exclaiming that West Monroe could be her ‘mothership’. “He went so far as to sit me next to his boss [from West Monroe] at his wedding, so [his boss] could tell me how amazing West Monroe was,” she recalls. And, when Swan eventually made the leap to West Monroe, the firm certainly lived up to the hype. “On my second day, I was calling everybody I'd ever worked with and telling them the same thing about West Monroe,” she tells us. “It's a very special place.”

One of the key reasons that West Monroe is so special to Swan is the bright people that work at the firm. “I get to coach them and help them achieve personal and professional fulfillment to become the next generation of leaders,” she tells us. “I also get to be partners with some of the most inspiring leaders I have ever had the privilege of working with and for. I have a leadership team that challenges me, supports me, and likes to have a whole lot of fun as well.”

And, importantly, Swan emphasizes how she gets to help make a difference in the world of healthcare by working with clients who are curing cancer and rare diseases as well as making healthcare more accessible. In fact, “the very first drug I ever worked on was Herceptin, and that drug ended up saving my sister's life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Swan. “So, it's really personal to me.”

In the video below, Swan tells us more about why she loves working at West Monroe. We also provide lightly edited highlights from the video discussion in the following article.

How would you describe the culture at West Monroe?

At West Monroe, the culture is something that is felt — it is palpable. It is a feeling and atmosphere so intense that it almost seems tangible. It's amazing. 

We just celebrated our 20th anniversary as a firm this year, and we brought everyone together down in San Antonio to celebrate the growth and success. It's a culture of being a family, working hard, having fun, and just really enjoying the people that you work with.

Which of West Monroe’s core values resonates most with you?

West Monroe has 13 core values, but the one that resonates with me the most is: people first.

Earlier this year, my family experienced the unimaginable reality of addiction and mental illness, and I became a single mom to three teenagers. From the very beginning of that tragedy, the leadership team created a safe space for me to share what was going on, and they've supported me through it all

I was in pretty bad shape. I was embarrassed, overwhelmed, and terrified. And I was ready to quit the firm because I had no idea how I was going to move forward. But my boss reminded me that I found my forever home at West Monroe, and that I was part of the West Monroe family. She even got on a plane and showed up at my house to check up on me and my kids because even though I told her I was alright, she knew I wasn't.

People first means showing up. I can't think of a better example of someone who really lives our people-first culture. We make it a priority to give our time and our energy to foster growth in others, and we show up for others. It's more than an employee or employer relationship — it's friendship and it's family.

What advice do you have for other women looking to work at West Monroe?

Don't let anyone else define success for you. Success has taken very different sizes and shapes in my life over my career. Set your own definition and then go after it because it will change. Success when you have small children looks very different from when your children go off to college. Also, not all passions are going to pay the bills. So, when you find what you're going to do and where you're going to define success, make sure that you are passionate about it.



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