Siobhan, Senior Partner
- B. Sc. in Biotechnology, Dublin City University
- Diploma in Finance, ACCA
- Master in Business Administration, INSEAD
- More than 20 years experience in retail and consumer, including strategic and operational roles with companies including WalMart, KFC, Argos and Mars as well as consulting to leading retailers, consumer goods companies and investors
- Hobbies: Spending time with my family and friends; Cooking healthy and delicious food; Trying to create a English country garden in the London suburbs; Playing the piano; Mentoring start-ups and aspiring young talent; Reading 20th century fiction.
Which advice would you give your younger self?
I think it is a lot about knowing your own strengths. When I was younger, I did not have a lot of benchmarks and I did not have the maturity to realise what I was good at and what I was not good at. I did not really spend much time thinking about how I compared with other people. So, I think maybe a bit more kind of self-belief and a little bit more time reflecting on my own strengths and not being afraid to shout about them.
How do you manage to combine family and career?
I think there is a whole thing about roles in the family. Usually, one of the couple has a successful career and the other one is kind of doing a bit more of the back office role - it should not have to be like that but it often is. The more men taking an equal share of family duties so that you do not get this fix gender gap that creeps up bit by bit through careers, I think the better off we will all be. I have found consulting to be a slightly better environment than industry for that, because of the focus on deliverables rather than on "presentee-ism" – in other words, if you get the work done in consulting, certainly at Roland Berger, it is OK if you did it for example after you had to put the kids to bed or after coming back from the school sports day.
What do you appreciate most about the working environment at Roland Berger?
One of the things I absolutely love about Roland Berger actually is it is very entrepreneurial and there really is space to pursue topics you are interested in. I am doing quite a lot of work in the sustainability space and working on a vegan food strategy right now, and have been doing some work on fashion and sustainability. The business actually has a very big genuine commitment to sustainability and that is something I particularly value.
What's your advice to other women?
Seize every opportunity to learn - that would be my first advice. And the second one is something I really wish people had said to me when I was younger which is networking. There are so many people that I have kind of lost touch with from early in my career. I would say I am pretty good at networking now, but I was not in the beginning of my career. Actually, you all kind of mature together and your peers often end up being successful people who would be really kind of great people to have in your network, so I think networking is always something that is probably a bit undervalued.
How do women support each other at Roland Berger?
We have a lot of different things going on: we just had a great internal session for International Women's Day, we have a lot of internal networking, we did some virtual coffees with women from all parts of the world, that was great. We also have specific training for women. And we are looking at metrics in our recruitment process: what proportion of women apply and get through first interview/second interview. It helps to look back, not to change the decisions but to challenge ourselves and ask ourselves are we giving the same opportunities to women. I am personally leading our diversity and inclusion initiative in London and we are driving a very strong agenda in this area.
To hear more from Siobhan, listen to the podcast she has done for LSE Lean Further.