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Cindy Garrett

Cindy Garrett

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I am a director in West Monroe Partners’ Customer Experience practice, with over 25 years of experience in contact center and customer experience. I’m based in Denver, Colorado but travel often to meet my clients, speak at conferences, and visit other company offices to collaborate with different teams and practices. I have always been driven by creating personalized customer experiences which is how I came to lead the contact center practice for West Monroe, overseeing delivery of innovative strategies that apply leading technologies to drive optimal performance and competitive advantage for my clients.

How would you define your professional mission?

My focus is on driving value for my clients through change, transformation, developing competitive differentiation, and implementing cost-effective solutions while enhancing customer experience. I get the opportunity to work with clients who are facing many different challenges. I love the variety and the ability to deliver high value to our clients by focusing on their issues and leveraging our uncommon blend of business and technology expertise. Another key area of focus for me is developing our next generation of leaders by mentoring them, providing objective coaching and feedback, and exposing them to new opportunities that help them reach their maximum potential.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

As a management consultant, the value I provide my clients lies in my expertise. As such, consultants need to excel in many areas, the following are three key qualities that fuel success as a consultant: Communication– being able to articulate an idea in person, over email, and over the phone. The teams and clients I work with have very different personalities, being able to pivot to align your message with your audience requires heightened communication skills. Listening – the art of active listening isn’t as easy as some people think. I need to ensure the strategies I put in place respond to the needs of my clients and my team. I’ve been more effective in my role when I take the time to really listen to other perspectives and ideas. Time management – at any one time I can be working on several client projects, traveling across the country, interviewing with reporters, all while making time for my family. I live by my calendar to make sure I get my work done so I can prioritize time with my family.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

I was recently recognized as a leading ‘woman in consulting’ by Consulting Magazine. It was very meaningful to me because I was proud to celebrate alongside other women like me who are incredibly blessed and thankful for our opportunities to do work we love with people that we respect and to have a true impact on our clients’ and colleagues’ success. I encourage all women to find a career that makes them as happy as I am.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

One project I’ve been working on that stands out is a current multi-year partnership with a large healthcare provider. We are working with the client to develop and implement a customer experience strategy for delivering a consistently positive patient experience across all touch points. What makes this project unique and notable is the client’s commitment to invest in customer experience from the ground up and be willing to do everything necessary to truly transform customer experience—for example, engaging all of its functional leaders in designing and building the solution. It takes time—but we are already seeing that commitment begin to pay off. Not only is this effort driving a better and more consistent patient experience that will have a tangible impact on revenue; it is accomplishing that while also driving down costs. As a partner and adviser, it is a great feeling to see this type of long-term, strategic initiative begin to deliver quantifiable success.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

During college, I had a part-time job working in the customer service department at a Telecommunications company. I love interacting with clients and implementing solutions that were driven by the business needs. After college, I worked for a large healthcare payer overseeing national customer service operations. I was always passionate about customer experience and realized how many companies could benefit by truly making it a priority. West Monroe Partners was the perfect fit for me as I get to help clients define and implement their customer experience strategy.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Working with passionate, sharp, and diverse people who push and encourage me to continue learning and develop my skills and knowledge, even after 32 years in business.

Who are your role models?

I’m always inspired by people who value happiness and chase their passions even when they don’t align with ‘social norms’. Women and men who change careers in their 40s, professionals who take a leave of absence to support a nonprofit (Fischer Fellowship Program), or even a father who takes the decision to stay at home with his children. Defying social norms can be tough, but people that do so are strong and confident individuals that I think we can all learn from.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

It is not a problem for me because I make it a priority and West Monroe supports it. I am very focused when I work, so I maximize the time I spend at work. Before I end each day, I review my priorities for the next day and glance at my schedule for the week to see if anything needs to be adjusted. This allows me to leave the work day knowing that I can relax and enjoy personal time. My no-fail tactic is all about planning and organization. I block time on my calendar as needed and prioritize work and personal time appropriately.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

One of my early mentors shared two quotes with me that influenced how I deal with risks and how I prefer to “show up” in my personal and professional life. The first one was by John F. Kennedy, “There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” The second one was by Charles Swindoll, “Attitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, money, circumstances, than failures and success, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, ability, or skill. It will make or break a business, a home, a friendship, an organization.” The remarkable thing is I have a choice every day of what my attitude will be. I cannot change my past. I cannot change the actions of others. I cannot change the inevitable. The only thing I can change is my attitude. Life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Be proud of your decision to have a career and raise a family. It’s not a piece of cake, but you can do it. I went back to work after each of my children were born. You need to make the most of your time at work and at home. You can do this by organizing and prioritizing how you spend your time in both places. You also need a strong support system. At work, make sure you have someone who can assist you if you need to take your child to the doctor or stay home because he/she is sick. Also, let your colleagues understand your priorities and why they are important to you. At home, make sure you share responsibilities with your significant other. Don’t worry about everything being perfect; it rarely will be, but make it a priority to spend quality time with your family.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

My firm, West Monroe, invested in a Corporate membership for the women in our firm. I’ve been a member since March 2017 and still have more I’d like to learn from the community and give back as an Executive Council member – possibly become a mentor at an upcoming mentor meet up to start.

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