Learn about how family has inspired Heather Peacock from our Boston office to be a bold, courageous, and authentic female technology leader with a passion to drive inclusion and diversity.
Tell us about your journey to Slalom.
I spent my career in the insurance industry and realized what I loved was technology, so I quit my job to join a tech startup. I had a blast being part of the startup culture, working crazy long hours, and focusing on changing the world with a committed and passionate group of people. When I joined my next insurance technology startup, I had an opportunity to play a variety of roles — everything from a product manager for a new platform all the way to the EVP of Operations.
What drew me to Slalom was a desire to broaden my experience into consulting and keep a pulse on the latest technology in the industry. I found Slalom through a good friend of mine, Carl Newton, who happens to be a Managing Director for Slalom Atlanta. I asked him to review my resume before I started looking for a new opportunity and Carl said, “Stop — don’t go anywhere else. You should come to Slalom!” The rest is history.
We’d love to hear more about your role today. How was your transition coming from industry and product into consulting?
When I first joined Slalom, I felt like a fish out of water. Part of that was because I had grown up with startups, so I knew everything about that business and was used to being in that position. The biggest struggle I had making the shift to consulting was being okay with not knowing everything. I didn’t have to be an expert. I just had to be a good listener so that I could ask questions to better understand what we were trying to do. It took me a few months before I understood what makes a great consultant: great listening skills, sincere curiosity, and knowing how to bring the right people together to deliver — especially in my role as a Client Service Partner.
You have had tremendous success so far at Slalom. How can we think differently about the skill sets were hiring for to ensure every person at Slalom has a successful experience?
When I first joined, we didn’t have a new hire on-boarding program. We didn’t have anything that helped people coming from industry understand how to jump into consulting and engage with our customers. This was something I ended up championing as part of our focus on inclusion and diversity. I was six months into my tenure at Slalom when our General Manager wanted to create an Inclusion and Diversity Council. I immediately volunteered because I understood what it was like to join Slalom, feeling like I didn’t initially fit in, and figuring out my place. I also volunteered because I have a daughter with medical disabilities and have witnessed firsthand the importance of inclusion.
What can Slalom do to build a more diverse and inclusive work environment?
We’ve been working hard to diversify the candidates that are coming in the door by supporting our talent acquisition team to recruit various backgrounds and experiences. In addition to new employees, we’re also asking ourselves, “How does the current office enable inclusion and diversity?” We’re building programs including on-boarding training, new hire buddy systems, ongoing mentorship matching, and more. All these programs drive a sense of inclusivity and allows our people to pursue their passions to improve our culture. We look to measure ourselves by soliciting feedback from our employees in an annual survey. What’s most important to us is that these initiatives come from a place of authenticity and feels organic. We’re lucky because we have a large population of people that wake up every day wanting to make this a better place to work.
How would your coworkers describe you?
I would hope that they would say I’m authentic in my interactions with them. I think I’m a good listener — that’s one of the strengths I believe I bring to my clients and I hope my coworkers feel the same way! And I think people would say I care a lot about inclusion and diversity in our office.
Is there a time in your life that changed your world view or helped shape your personal values?
I think the two most impactful things that happened to me in my life were both personal. I lost my father when I was in my early 20’s and I think as a result of that I started practicing gratitude for life.
The second one was the birth of my daughter; I see the world through a totally different lens thanks to her. She is the boldest person I know and will literally try anything! She has taught me that it’s okay to be brave at times when I maybe would be afraid.
Who are you inspired by?
Besides my super cool daughter, it would be a female leader in our office, Carol McMullen. What I love about Carol is she’s bold. She is very comfortable voicing her point of view, always solicits input from others, and excels at making decisive decisions. I’ve found her to be incredibly refreshing. She doesn’t try to fit any mold. Earlier in my career, I would try to fit in with the “guys” and I wanted them to be comfortable around me. I think it wasn’t until a little bit later in my career that I realized I didn’t have to do that. I could just be myself and bring my own leadership style.
How have you grown professionally and how has Slalom helped you realize some of that growth?
I think I’ve had the most personal growth in my career since joining Slalom. Slalom encourages people to have a growth mindset and to be everyday learners. The other thing that I’ve noticed here is it is an incredibly supportive environment. Together we’re accountable to each other.
Why do you stay at Slalom?
I love everybody that I work with and I want all our consultants to feel like they have the same opportunities that I’ve had. Some of that means reaching out, being a connector, and helping support people to be bold and courageous.