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The women at SSA & Company provide incredible value to our firm and clients every day. In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked a few of them to reflect on their biggest accomplishments and share their favorite piece of career advice. Included below are some reflections shared with us over the past month.
Deb Henretta: I often tell young women just starting out— use the dictionary don’t be one. You don’t need to know every little fact about every little thing, you just need to know where to find them. In this day of information overload, this is a good reminder for all of us. As my grandmother used to say, ‘The art of being wise, is knowing what to overlook.’
Throughout my career, I’ve learned that above all things, passion for what you do will be your greatest strength. It gives you the power to stay positive and persistent and will drive you to make a difference.
Kathy Pangier: The best advice that I have received throughout my career is to define your metric of success, believe in your worth first, and always strive to be your authentic self. My metric of success is how I have impacted client success or changed the lives of others. I chose a path of consulting because it gave me the opportunity to help clients with their businesses and to mentor individuals on their career journey. It is extremely rewarding to receive thank-you letters from those who tell me they changed their career because they love what I do or that I played a significant role in their promotion. I remind myself that a strong woman stands up for herself, but a stronger woman stands up for everyone else.
Cathy Polaneczky: The most important thing I’ve learned throughout my career is to be the most prepared individual in the room. Come prepared with questions, know your audience, listen, and don’t be afraid to voice your recommendations.
My advice for women earlier in their career journeys is to always be proactive in taking on new challenges—these are opportunities for you to develop professionally and broaden your skillset. Learn to identify opportunities for you to grow and develop–-aspiring to tackle new challenges or learning from past mistakes will make you a more well-rounded professional.
Dena Tenteromano: The most important advice I received early in my career was to speak up and ask for what I want and deserve, specifically when it comes to increased responsibilities, promotions, etc. This simple lesson taught me that I should fight for my career and reach to achieve goals that may not be immediately presented to me.
When reflecting on my career I can attribute a lot of my success to the guidance and support from women in leadership positions. At my first internship, in 2009, I worked for a female financial advisor who was hard-working and generous when it came to her time and advice. I still consider her a mentor and am in awe of her drive and success. I now work for our Head of HR, Tricia Madden, who is extremely supportive, especially as I recently became a working mother. As a working mom herself, she is a great example of how to find success at home and in your career.
Stephanie Loutsenko: While I am still relatively early in my career, a defining moment for me was when a mentor of mine told me ‘never pass good on the way to great.’ This has stuck with me and really impacts the way in which I approach my work and career—every decision I have made has been guided by this effort to not cut corners or try to take the easy road by bypassing something. It’s helped me focus on not only delivering good work to the clients I serve but also on making sure I am continuing to take advantage of opportunities to grow as a professional.
Brittany LaMantia: One piece of advice that has proven beneficial for me is to focus on what you can control. Like life, work is made up of known and unknown events. By focusing on, and preparing myself for the known, I am able to stay ready for anything and keep a calm and clear mind to successfully navigate when the inevitable unknown shows up. It’s something I’ve been able to apply to jobs across various industries and has helped me become the professional I am today.
Kathy Pangier: One of the most memorable moments during my time at SSA & Company was when I led an initiative to optimize the Field Technician Operating Model for a Warranty Service Private Equity firm. Using data visualization techniques, labor modeling, and a robust competitive analysis, a solution package was delivered within a matter of weeks. The CEO called me to personally thank me. He was specifically pleased with the thoroughness of the analysis, clear execution plan, and a detailed competitive analysis that he had never seen before. The CEO also called our Managing Director to tell him that I have set the bar high as we continue our partnership on subsequent initiatives.
Cathy Polaneczky: One of my biggest accomplishments during my time at SSA & Company was managing the global Front Office Operating Model Re-Design and Transformation for a Top 5 Property & Casualty Commercial Insurance firm. This ‘re-design blueprint’ became the backbone for our client’s current multi-year transformation globally, and we are still engaged as a key change advisor to drive success for our client’s global transformation.
Beryl Wang: As a new member of the SSA team, getting the opportunity to dive in and make an immediate impact on a client project was incredibly exciting. Alongside my team, we were able to find new areas and channels in which our multi-national e-commerce client could further develop their business. Through in-depth qualitative and quantitative research, paired with countless team brainstorming sessions and expert interviews, we created innovative solutions to support our client in growing their share of the market. The greatest project win was meeting with the client to present our findings and hearing their excitement around our discoveries. Our client’s enthusiasm around going forward with implementing our suggestions was a clear indicator that we had succeeded in creating a tailored solution that will deliver fast and lasting results for them, the ultimate project win for my team and me.
Juliette Rolnick: A great project “win” occurred when our large, multinational e-commerce client expressed the great value they saw in the way that we sought to change their value proposition to properly address the effects of COVID-19 on their business. Our solution was socially-responsible, involving sustainability and the environment, in addition to forward-thinking, addressing the very real concerns and needs of younger generations. The ability to tangibly impact not only this large client’s business but shopping patterns of generations to come, in setting a tone for the future of e-commerce, was rewarding and made me proud as a consultant. As exciting as this endeavor was, I ended up writing an article about it.
Thank you to all of these amazing women for the work you do and the incredible value you provide to our firm and clients every day!