When planting a seed, most times, you don’t know exactly how it will grow. But the hope is that the work and commitment you invest into that seed can produce something great for years to come! That’s exactly what the leaders we’re featuring in today’s blog post did when they signed on to take the first steps of their career journey with Protiviti.

Today, you’ll meet three of our Managing Directors (MDs) at Protiviti – each who started with Protiviti as interns.

This exciting decision years ago has led to a long and fruitful career, thanks to the ways they, and the teams around them, watered that very first seed.

Each path is unique, and each experience is different, so we’ll let these great leaders tell you about their own journey from Intern to MD.

Tricia is an MD in our Technology Consulting solution. When looking back, she notes that her internship experience began in 2007 with a whole lot of fun. From remembering a scavenger hunt where they rented busses and drove around Dallas tracking down clues to the work she was able to be a part of, it all led to where she is today. Now, the inspiring advice she gives for a resilient career offers many takeaways that we can all benefit from.

On her internship: “I had an amazing time at Intern School (the precursor to The Intern Challenge) meeting interns from all over the country. And some of the people I worked with during my internship in Dallas I still work with to this day! It’s been amazing to see consultants, seniors, and managers grow into leaders in our firm.”

On growing her consulting career: “I thought at some point in my career, my role would turn into a sales job, and I just didn’t think that would be for me. So, in the early years, I always had it in the back of my mind that there would be an expiration date on my time in consulting. Of course, business development is part of my role, but I’ve learned that developing business is so much more about authentic relationships and helping people solve real problems that they are facing, and not just selling.”

The people I’ve been able to work with and the relationships I’ve made are a big part of what has kept me here. The other thing is that I’ve felt like I’ve been able to grow my career in the direction I want it to go. As I’ve discovered new interests, I’ve been able to move my career in that direction. I definitely didn’t start out knowing exactly where I wanted to end up, so I’ve appreciated being somewhere I can grow.”

On her advice: “My advice to people would be to speak up and keep a long-term mindset! No one is able to care about your career as much as you do, so you should share those goals and express what you want for your career. That said, change doesn’t always happen overnight. Something like six months can feel like a long time early in your career, but I would encourage people to not make long-term decisions based on short-term issues. Obviously, your career is very personal, but I know I’ve always benefited from a long-term mindset.”

On being a leader: “I hope that I’m the kind of leader that makes things easier and helps to enable the people around me. Supporting people during difficult times personally or professionally, helping solve problems, remove obstacles, and being a strong coach, mentor, and advocate.”

Patrick is an MD in Technology Consulting, who started his internship in 2007 and came back to Protiviti full time in 2008, just as the recession hit. Those tough times taught him a lot, and the unique challenges he faced on his path to MD have shaped the way he leads his teams and our business.

On his internship: “My internship was a really fun experience. Some friends I made as interns, I still get to work with today. During our Intern School, we only had one open night, and almost all of the Houston interns rode the train to the outskirts of Chicago to go to a White Sox baseball game and get pizza. This was before smartphones, so it was quite an adventure getting there and back!”

On starting his career during a recession: “In those early years, our solution offerings were not as robust as they are now, and as a firm, we were fighting hard through the recession and trying to evolve our portfolio at the same time, so we had to be creative in our delivery and we had to work together as a team. We always said, “no job is too big or too small”, and our adaptability was strengthened by that.”

Our teams made sure our people were working and taken care of. It all came back to what’s best for our people then, and that’s how I like to lead now. Empathy matters – I know what it’s like to be on a project and tasked with something you may not know how to do. I know what it is to figure things out for the first time. I strive to lead by example, and I really, really value teaming and building on people’s strengths. I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and step in to help where I can.”

On the value he finds in his work: “Intentional work doesn’t only happen within our teams, but also outside of them. When working with our clients, our solutions are exceptional. We don’t focus on finding just a right answer. We not only focus on finding the right answer for each client, but also look at exploring the why behind that. We really customize our service delivery and solution for each individual client.”

His advice on building a successful career: “A piece of advice that has done me well is to be curious to new experiences, new work, new industries… Being open to new opportunities and feedback was important to me then and now and has been very helpful in forming my career. Besides that – this goes back to the lessons that built my foundation – surround yourself with others. Rising tides lift all ships, so make an investment in people, have pride and take ownership of your work, and take initiative with the people around you. We collaborate and support each other here at Protiviti better than anybody. I truly believe that.”

Sharon is an MD in our Internal Audit and Financial Advisory solution. She is also the Market Lead for the Protiviti Miami office, which is a role she truly enjoys as she serves the local practice with a deep focus on people and culture.  Relationships have really driven her path, and her passion for people is tangible as she talks about watering the seeds she’s planted throughout the years. She likes that there’s so much support for career growth here, and the constant opportunities for learning keeps her intrigued and plugged in. You’ll see that her involvement has led Sharon to some pretty amazing places!

Looking back on her internship: “When I was an intern (in 2008), we had roommates at The Intern Challenge. My roommate became one of my best friends at Protiviti. Fast forward many years later, we facilitated a Challenge school in Milan together. My mom ended up coming along for the adventure, and the three of us rented a car after our facilitating duties were complete and took a road trip through Italy! It was incredible, and it all started with a friendship that bloomed at my internship Day 1.”

On growth opportunity: “On this journey, I’ve learned that every success and challenges provided an opportunity for personal and professional growth in my career, and the exciting part is there are many still to come! Some of the biggest growth opportunities have been learning to find my voice to be a strong advocate for myself and my career. I’ve also learned to not stress the complications that arise, or tight deadlines, because although they can be very challenging and not to detract from that, I’ve learned that they will always get resolved and completed.  So, it’s a matter of finding the best path to execution, raising your hand to ask for guidance or help when needed, and then following at full speed ahead.”

On leadership: “I think we are all both leaders and followers at the same time in many different ways in this organization.  But ultimately, I want to be known as someone who is fun, trustworthy, hard-working, innovative, supportive, inspiring, and caring. I want my team to know that I will advocate for them, give them honest feedback, and always try to make a fun environment for us.”

Her advice: “If you want something, ask for it. If you aren’t happy with something, talk about it. Again, it’s really important to find your voice and advocate for your career or your personal needs in a way that also aligns with the overall organization as well.  And if would like to see something changed, don’t just focus the discussion on the problem, but also bring your solutions of what will move the pendulum for you to drive it towards a better outcome.  That is where the magic will really start to happen.”

Something I’ve learned and hope to pass on is that networking is critical.  Attend (or facilitate) Challenge schools, be that one person on video on every call, introduce yourself to new people at clients or within Protiviti (and keep in touch with them!), and be present in person with a purpose.”

On work life balance: “Besides the relationships that have been so important to my career, working at Protiviti is special in many other ways, too. Flexibility is critical to me. I’m a mom of three boys (ages 7, 5.5 and 3), and I don’t miss anything in their lives. I take them to doctor appointments, chaperone their field trips, cheer them on at field days at school, and cook dinner every night. #Flex for hybrid! I’m so thankful for the ways Protiviti supports my whole life, both in the office and out of it.”

Each journey has its own unique challenges, experiences, and relationships that come together to water the seeds you plant and lead towards growth. We hope that through the paths of these three Interns turned Managing Directors, you’re inspired to take a chance, say yes, and plant a new seed. You never know where it could grow!

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