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Unleashed: How to Thrive as an Independent Professional-logo

Unleashed: How to Thrive as an Independent Professional

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44. Jennifer Hartz on corporate and personal philanthropy

Our guest today is Jennifer Hartz, a McKinsey alum and the founder of Corporate Hartz. Jennifer has several focus areas including business-driven community relations strategies, nonprofit strategic planning, and personal philanthropy. Her philosophy is that generosity and profitability can, and should, go hand-in-hand. Her lessons learned from helping families take a strategic approach to philanthropy can be useful to all of us – you don’t need to have a $100 million fund to start a family...

Duration: 00:43:02

43. John Dranow on anthropological market research

Our guest today is John Dranow, the CEO of Smart Revenue. John’s firm has hundreds of trained, vetted field researchers available around the world, and his firm can help you fill in the data white spaces. Big data can help us analyze in exquisite detail what is happening, but it is hard to know from the data what isn’t happening. How many people walk by a store but don’t look at the window display? How many people look at the window display but don’t enter the store? How many people...

Duration: 00:48:58

42. Will Bachman on DocuSign Expensify ScannerPro and

In this in-between-isode, Will Bachman shares four tools useful for any independent professional: 1) DocuSign - to avoid the need to print/sign/scan/email 2) Expensify - to keep track of your expenses. 3) ScannerPro - to create multipage PDFs with your phone 4) - quick and affordable transcripts

Duration: 00:08:30

41. Sinisa Slijepcevic on machine learning

Sinisa Slijepcevic studied with Stephen Hawking, among other professors, while earning his PhD in applied mathematics at Cambridge University. Sinisa is a McK alum and independent consultant and runs a firm called Cantab Analytica, which is based in the UK and Croatia. Sinisa’s firm leverages machine learning to help clients make better decisions and to focus energy on the right decisions. In our discussion, Sinisa provides several case examples to illustrate how machine learning can help...

Duration: 00:54:03

40. Karen McGrath on virtual assistants

Our guest today is Karen McGrath, who runs a firm of virtual assistants called Awan’s Assisting. If you are an independent professional and feel crunched for time, this episode is for you. Karen and I discuss why an independent professional should consider hiring a virtual assistant (a VA), the types of tasks that VAs are most commonly asked to do, how to find and screen a VA, and some tips on how to build an effective working relationship with a VA. Karen clearly knows her business, and...

Duration: 00:45:13

39. Kenny Jahng on content marketing

Our guest today is Kenny Jahng, the founder of Big Click Syndicate LLC, a strategic positioning agency offering content marketing consulting & advisory to nonprofit, cause-driven & faith-based organizations and churches across the country. Kenny has an amazing list of clients that includes the Princeton Theological Seminary, California Baptist University, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, The United Methodist Church, & Wesleyan Investment Foundation, among many others. In our discussion,...

Duration: 00:54:06

38. Sri Kaza on building a SaaS company while consulting

Sri Kaza, a former McKinsey partner who specializes in sales and service, left the firm to put his sales expertise to work as the SVP of Commercial Operations at Viking Cruises, and subsequently led sales for a company offering a SaaS-based solution to obtaining tax credits. Sri is now running his own independent consulting practice while also developing two separate SaaS startups. One of them is a tool to help companies hire the employees most likely to perform well and stick around,...

Duration: 00:57:49

37. Jason Korman on consulting through art

Our guest today is Jason Korman, who entered the world of consulting via the wine industry. Jason is the founder of Stormhoek Winery, a South African wine label. While running that label, he retained Hugh MacLeod to blog and draw for Stormhoek, creating one of the the web’s earlier social media campaigns. Even if you don’t recognize the name Hugh MacLeod, you have probably seen his cartoons, which are absolutely distinctive. Hugh’s cartoons are generally about the world of work and...

Duration: 00:43:34

36. Amad Munawar shares five steps to build your marketing plan

Our guest today is Ahmad Munawar, who helps boutique professional services firms build actionable marketing plans that generate more leads so they can win more business. He’s got a podcast that I encourage you to check out called “Forecast – Marketing for Boutique Professional Services & Consulting Firms” He’s also got a free video course on lead generation that you can take at In our discussion, Ahmad walks me through the five steps that he suggests we take to build a...

Duration: 00:54:21

35. Sophia Dai interviews Will Bachman on the decision to go independent

On today’s episode, the tables are turned, and our guest, Sophia Dai, interviews Will Bachman. Sophia received her MBA from Kellogg and then spent the past two years at Boston Consulting Group. Now a Senior Associate, she’s decided to leave BCG, and independent consulting is one path that she is considering. Two or three or four times a week Will Bachman has a conversation with a top tier management consultant considering this option. This episode captures one such discussion. In...

Duration: 00:43:03

34. Lisa Overton on customer intercept interviews

Our guest today is Lisa Overton, a McKinsey alum and an expert on market research. Today Lisa is an independent consultant working on a range of strategy, marketing, and communications issues. Previously, Lisa ran a boutique qualitative market research firm that offered traditional services such as focus groups as well as more innovative services including customer intercept interviews. In our discussion today we focus in on how to do those customer intercept interviews, and Lisa shares...

Duration: 00:42:22

33. Geoff Wilson on business unit and corporate strategy

Our guest today is Geoff Wilson, a McKinsey alum who subsequently served as the SVP of Corporate Strategy and Development at Milliken & Company, a privately-held, diversified manufacturing company headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina with 7,000 employees worldwide. Geoff left Millikin in 2014 and started his own consulting firm. Geoff wanted to keep living in South Carolina and keep long-distance travel to a minimum, so he has taken an intentionally geographically-focused approach...

Duration: 00:52:35

32. Amanda Setili on her new book Fearless Growth

Our guest today is Umbrex member Amanda Setili, and we discuss her new book that is being published today: Fearless Growth: The New Rules to Stay Competitive, Foster Innovation, and Dominate Your Markets Amanda has been a guest on the show before, on episode 8, when we spoke about the Strategic Agility Think Tank which she established, and her first book, The Agility Advantage. In today’s discussion we dive deep into the content of her new book. In the first half of the show we discuss...

Duration: 00:49:03

31. Alexander Petersen on getting known in your industry

Our guest today is Alexander Petersen. He is a McKinsey alum and a successful entrepreneur, having started a pet care business called Wagly. After starting Wagly, he was able to attract private equity funding to grow the company and hire a strong full time leadership team. He is now the owner of a boutique consulting firm focused on animal health, which I learned in this episode is a $50 billion dollar industry. Alexander has built a thriving firm by tightly focusing on an industry where...

Duration: 00:34:12

30. Larry Oglesby on the importance of speed in lean transformations

Larry Oglesby has been a close friend and mentor of mine for over a decade. I first got to know Larry when he was my Engagement Manager at McKinsey on a manufacturing lean operations project back in 2005, and we bonded over our shared service in the U.S. submarine force. Larry is a deep expert on operational transformation – after spending time in the Ops practice at McKinsey he joined the George Group – a boutique consulting firm focused on operations. After the George Group was...

Duration: 01:01:31

29. Mike Figliuolo on running a successful training firm

Our guest today is Mike Figliuolo, a McKinsey alum and West Point graduate. Mike is the founder and Managing Director of ThoughtLeadersLLC, which provides training to corporations that is inspired by the types of internal training that consultants receive at McKinsey and other top firms. He is also the author of three books One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get it...

Duration: 00:49:21

28. Ravi Rao on customer experience

Our guest today is Ravi Rao, a McKinsey alum and neuroscientist who is the author of Emotional Business. Ravi has led sessions at several professional development events for consultants that I’ve organized, and he always gets fantastic reviews. Ravi was my guest on the second episode of this show, and it remains one of the most downloaded episodes, so if you like this episode, go back and check out Episode 2. In this episode, we talk about one really creative framework that Ravi has...

Duration: 00:53:45

27. Vivek Soman on tech industry due diligence

Our guest today is Vivek Soman, a former McKinsey Engagement Manager who is the founder and Managing Director of The Ananya Group, which has completed over 300 projects since it was founded in 2008. Ananya is a Bengali word meaning “unparalled.” Vivek’s firm has a very clear focus: the client focus is large $1 billion revenue and up tech, media, telecom, and professional services companies The service offering includes three types of projects: 1) competitive intelligence 2) customer...

Duration: 00:51:47

26. Lauren Cole on media and entertainment consulting

Lauren Cole runs a boutique consulting firm specializing in strategy and operations for media-related businesses. Lauren got her start in consulting at Bain & Co. After getting her MBA at Stanford she entered the world of media and entertainment with a strategy role at Warner Brothers, where she worked for Umbrex member Steven Koltai, who has also been a guest on this show. She had an impressive career in the media world, which included launching, investing in, and/or overseeing 35 cable...

Duration: 00:31:33

25. Josh Spodek on leadership step by step

Our guest today is Josh Spodek, the author of Leadership Step by Step. Josh is an independent professional who For the show we met at Josh’s apartment in Greenwich Village, and in the first part of our conversation we discuss the blackboard in his room and the new course he is currently developing, which is sketched out in chalk. We also talk about what Josh has learned from blogging every single day since 2011, the impact on his fitness from doing 90,000 burpees over the past few...

Duration: 01:00:40

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