Consultant Profile – Baye Tilson

Management Consultant, Accenture

I have the privilege of having Baye as a great friend – she came into my life about a year and a half ago through another one of my dear friends, and I’m so grateful for it. With similar interests, and perspectives, (including a very congruent sense of style) we became pals fast.

Baye has been extremely supportive of The Consultant’s Closet since before it launched, so when she heard I was planning a photoshoot in Chicago, she made it a priority to fly into town to be a part of it, and to help make it a reality.  All my thanks to Baye for her continuous support, her constant positive mindset, which is a joy to be around, her enthusiasm for hopping on a plane to be a part of something she knew was important to me, and her willingness to be interviewed and featured on the site.

I’m thrilled to be able to share her background in consulting, how she balances her other entrepreneurial efforts, and the emphasis she places on her workforce wardrobe.

Q: Baye, consulting is only one component of your career – tell us about your career path, and the other ventures you’re passionate about.

 A: After graduating from Duke University with a degree in women’s studies, and public policy Baye joined Teach for America for several years – which took her to New Orleans where she taught high school math and served as a head cheerleading coach. While teaching was rewarding and in her first year there was an 800% improvement in the percentage of students in her classes who achieved a proficient level on their end of course exams – Baye was always far more drawn to the data behind how to continuously improve students’ learning rather than specifically the teaching side.

So, after a year and a half, she joined the consulting firm Access Sciences in a data analyst consulting role focused on info and data management. This career move took her from New Orleans to Houston.

While interested in the data, it became apparent that Baye really preferred the change management side of client engagements and gravitated towards the people side of consulting – she enjoyed focusing on helping organizations get from point a to point b effectively.

This focus on change management consulting took Baye to Accenture, after which she was recruited to join Entergy’s change management in house team – back in New Orleans.

Baye has now boomeranged back to Accenture (and to Houston) where she works with a large Oil and Gas organization to support their long-term change initiatives.

What prompted a return to Accenture? While with ACN initially it didn’t fully feel like the role aligned with interests – she felt detached from the job; liked the company, but at the time it was really just a job. However, upon moving back to Houston from Nola, she really evaluated how to be back in change management.

After spending time working an in-house role, she recognized that she enjoyed the consulting perspective and felt strongly that it was time to evaluate all possible firms. Upon review, felt that Accenture offered an opportunity that most closely aligned with her career interests – plus, there would be a learning curve either way – but she already knew Accenture.

As a result, Baye is now in a position where she enjoys her project team, her client, and her manager – which has made a significant difference in the overall job satisfaction. Consulting can be fun and interesting, but on some days it’s really neither here nor there – it’s the team that you work with that makes the huge difference, and it’s on those days that she is thankful for those she works with.

Not only is Baye a consultant, she is also a yoga teacher and entrepreneur. She teaches classes around Houston several times a week (and was just invited to teach for the recent Michelob Ultra Movement Festival), and she co-owns a pop-up yoga company (Nola Tribe Yoga & Bride Tribe Yoga – formed in 2016) that offers concierge yoga classes across New Orleans, Austin, Houston, Baton Rouge, Charleston and Miami.  This fall Baye and her business partner will grow the business to include destination-based yoga retreats.

And if you’re not up for breaking out a mat for a yoga class, should you need to buy or sell a home in Houston – Baye can help.  She has always loved real estate investing but grew frustrated working with less than stellar realtors. As a result, she obtained her Real Estate license earlier this year, and now works with Houston based clients to help them buy and sell their homes.

Q: How do you balance career growth with personal growth?

A: It’s a lot of waking up early and going to sleep late – but focus on bookending days with things that are personally fulfilling. Work very hard not to open laptop after 5 on Friday until 8 on Monday – will maybe check emails Sunday morning – just to avoid feeling overwhelmed Monday. But believe that honoring time for self is paramount.

Don’t currently have to travel – which makes the consulting lifestyle and balance viable. But recognize that it is very difficult to have a passion, a profession and a personal life – and as a result, feel very fortunate that all three are currently working well together.

Baye is currently teaching yoga 4 days a week (typically early mornings – she’s always promoting 6 am yoga!) and then uses her evenings to work out / play tennis / or have dinner with her spouse – Martin.

Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?

A: Working in Change Management and supporting large scale organizational transformations is tough, because clients are often very resistant to adapt and receive necessary changes. As a result, knowing how to toe the line between challenging a client’s status quo, and making them feel uncomfortable with change. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one back, others it’s one step forward and two back, and sometimes things come to a dead halt – which isn’t a consistent pace for growth. Learning to be patient in the process of change adoption when it’s not linear and not always forward moving is a challenge – especially when patience doesn’t come naturally, but accepting that it’s ok as long as the organizational adoption of the new process is headed in the right direction.

Q: What do you most look forward to with your work?

A: Enjoy building a network of people – have always loved connecting with people and feel very fortunate that the job provides the opportunity to meet other smart, motivated consultants and clients.

Q: What would you tell consulting analysts just starting out to help them enter the workforce effectively?

A: Get comfortable being uncomfortable and put yourself out there. There was a great article recently in the Harvard Business Review – that the role of a consultant when new in their career – needs to quickly act like a sponge and absorb and synthesize all of the information. While you don’t know the business yet, you can learn, so learn all that you can rapidly.

Q: What would you tell new managing directors to help them know what to look out for in the teams they manage?  

A: In big firms, there is often a perception that roles can be filled interchangeably – but in reality, that doesn’t create a sustainable career for individuals. It’s important for leadership to align people with the right role, so that they and the project / client can be successful.

Q: What role has your wardrobe played in your career growth and advancement?

A: A significant one – have always been very intentional about being put together and polished. And as a result, always try to be one step more formal than the clients that she is working with – that lends itself to being a credible, trusted professional when approaching them. In consulting, you are offering thought leadership to clients, how can a client trust you to care about their needs if you can’t even make the effort to dress like you care about your job?

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What about the worst?

A: Best – Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Received coaching once to try giving 10 seconds of pause before moving forward after asking a question – thus providing enough time for a response. Hating dead space, this is super tough, but have found that it really makes a difference in client discussions.

Worst – (Disclaimer – Baye loves her Dad, but…) one time she was in salary negotiations for a new job, and she shared with him what they had offered, and talked with him about wanting to counter for more – his direction, it’s a good offer, don’t get greedy. Being a women’s studies and public policy major in college she knew women don’t ask for what they deserve or what they are worth, and decided there was no way she was going to contribute to the wage gap because of her own negligence – and as a result, has always felt comfortable asking for what she feels she is worth, the worst they can do is say no.

Q: Favorite city to travel to?

A: Chicago, NYC, and New Orleans – fortunately though, Baye’s been working with primarily local clients since she began consulting, so she hasn’t had to be on the road regularly. She does however travel a fair bit in support of her yoga business to teach classes.

Q: What are you currently reading?

A: Brené Brown – Dare to Lead. Not only is Baye reading it, but she also has the audio book, and is in a book club at work where it’s the current book of discussion – in her words, she’s really ‘fan girling’ over Brené’s content right now.

Q: Any other fun facts?

A: Baye took Chinese throughout school, loves her dog Isaac, and crushes on the slopes while rocking awesome retro onesie ski suits.

 

Outfit Details – BlazerReiss Blouse: Theory Pants: Theory ShoesCalvin Klein Sunglasses: Rag & Bone and Krewe Bag: Chanel Perfume: Memo

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