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January 14, 2014

Where Talent Matters | A Bold Faced Blog Series … Meet Terry Theisen

Posted 5 years 37 days ago by Alison Harrison

How long have you been a consultant? Actually about 25 years overall, but the most recent stint since 2001.


Describe what you do. I’m a generalist so the best answer to that is lots of things. I assist clients on complex enterprise-wide change efforts. My sweet spot is contact center optimization but I like general business transformation and process redesign projects. I also get involved in helping new business ventures define their business case and strategy. My clients want to improve the way they deliver services to their customers, mostly in healthcare, high tech and financial services. I don’t have a particular size or industry, but I only work for clients whose values I respect.


What do you most enjoy about being a consultant? I really like the opportunity to help people solve high-risk, high-profile problems.


What did you do before becoming a consultant? I’ve had roles in pretty much every functional area except HR. Right before I became a consultant the second time around in 2001, I was VP Strategy and Business Development for Xpedior, a business system integrator building out complex ecommerce websites.


How was the transition from consultant to client and back to consultant again? Moving from consultant to employee and back again was not really much of an adjustment. In every role the work was interesting and important to the company and I truly enjoyed the people I was working with. When all of those criteria are in place, it really doesn't matter to me if I'm a consultant or an employee.


What was one of your favorite consulting assignments and why? I recently finished a project for a large health insurance provider, helping to transform their customer service function. It meant major changes in their operations through the introduction of new technology, organization and process redesign. On each project, I drive for a commitment on the part of the sponsors and we find a way to define success. At the end of the day, all of their KPIs went up which was very satisfying.


What have you been working on lately? Since May, through a collaboration between Ashton212 and The BAE Company, I’ve been working with OnLok Lifeways. They’re an organization that provides services similar to assisted living, except that people generally don’t stay overnight. I’m program managing three technology implementations.

It’s the first nonprofit I’ve worked with and while the program implementation is pretty much the same, I’m noticing some cultural differences. There isn’t the intense focus on quarterly financial results, which seems to reduce some of that political gamesmanship that is sometimes seen in corporations.


What makes Ashton212 a good fit for you—why did you choose to work with us? This is my first project with Ashton212 and what I like so far is the flexibility to take on multiple roles. When I began working with OnLok they referred me to two other areas inside the company and everything about the process of expanding my project was simple and very low-key.


Where would we find you when you’re not working—what are you passionate about? I love to travel, so you might find me somewhere in Europe or Asia. At home I enjoy playing basketball and cooking.


What’s your favorite bit of advice for young people just graduating from college? This is very timely for me. We have four kids, two still in school and my wife and I always tell them “Once you’re out of college, take risks – you’ll never be in a better position to do it.” Whether it’s travel or a startup job, there are limited repercussions when you’re at that stage of your life.

If you were listening to music right now, who would it be and what song would be playing? I like a lot of different types of music but my favorite band is Radiohead. I’d probably be listening to Black Star.


And finally, what’s the boldest thing you’ve ever done? After ending a consulting project in Chicago, where I grew up, I drove to California. I looked through the want ads, got a job and spent the next 12 years there. The day I left Chicago the wind chill was 90 below, so it was pretty easy not to look back.



Tags: consultant Terry Terry Theisen Theisen

Categories: categoryConsulting categoryWhere Talent Matters

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