By: Paul Rudeen, Senior Consultant at Twelve Consulting Group
At Twelve Consulting Group, we take pride in hiring people with diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and ways of thinking. This diversity is critical for any company wishing to build and maintain a culture where new ideas are not only welcome, but encouraged – where the status quo is challenged and improved. Our people do just that. Every day, Twelve is pushed from within to evolve and enhance our client offerings: the outcome of diversity drives real change at our firm.
Liz Ward does not have the typical technology consulting background. She uses this background to continuously push people to think differently. After earning an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from a top 10 program globally, what did she do? She did what any true, cold weather-loving, hockey-watching, hotdish-eating Minnesotan does: she took a job at Target.
Target introduced Liz to the complex world of technology. She worked as an Engineer and IT Project Manager (while also attending the University of Minnesota to receive her MBA), and found in tech a perfect match for the problem-solving skills she’d cultivated while wrestling with chemical compounds. Upon completion of her classes in 2016, she explored the industry locally and decided to make the jump to Twelve Consulting Group – going from an organization of 345,000 employees, to under 20 (a >99% reduction in size!). Since her decision, she has served in roles as Senior Consultant, Solution Architect, and Engagement Manager on projects spanning a variety of domains (ex. Finance, Sales Performance Management, Supply Chain) and industries. A year ago, Liz began the transition to leadership as a Managing Consultant, supporting the rapid growth of the Twelve team and our impressive client portfolio. She has lived our firm’s expansion from under 20 to nearly 50 (with no signs of slowing). I recently took some time to ask her about working at Twelve and her experience with Anaplan.
What originally attracted you to Twelve?
“At the time, I was looking to make a change in my career. I was finishing up school at the University of Minnesota and felt that is was a good time to pivot jobs. I met Josh King and Megan Henderson at an event and they spoke about Twelve, the work, and the culture they were building. Culture was really important to me and they were excited talking about their jobs. I wanted to be excited talking about my job.”
Are those the same reasons why you’ve stayed with Twelve?
“Twelve is growing quickly. This has presented me with great opportunities in an accelerated fashion. These opportunities are challenging but have allowed me to grow professionally at a rapid rate. I think this will continue as the company continues to grow.”
What value does Anaplan provide to clients?
“Anaplan makes clients challenge their status quo. It forces a conversation around the current process, handoffs, who is involved and how are they involved. It forces the question of if they are running their business as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
What value does Twelve provide to clients?
“Many consultants at Twelve previously came from roles where they were constrained by the current process or by a large, matrixed organization structure. These constraints slow down one’s ability to effect change. Understanding that side of the business allows our consultants to provide genuine responses, strengthened by our young and fast-moving culture, on how to push organizations to look at their business problems with a fresh perspective.”
I finished by asking Liz some hard-hitting questions in a rapid-fire setting. (Questions asked in order of difficulty)
Favorite sporting event to watch?
Just one? Gopher Hockey, but circa 2007
Favorite after-work activity?
Going to soccer
Favorite trip to date?
Favorite ‘destination’ was the British Virgin Islands
Favorite ‘trip’ was my time living in France
Top destination still to visit?
Best concert you’ve attended?
Favorite former One Direction member?
Niall Horan or Taylor Swift?
Yanney or Laurel?
Was the dress white and gold or black and blue?
Black and Blue
Is a hotdog a sandwich?
Favorite direct report?
*Nervous Laughter* I like you all equally.
Favorite Twelve partner?
*More Nervous Laughter*
In an industry dominated by serious behavior and permeated with business jargon, a light-hearted conversation is a great way to uncover authenticity. Hopefully Liz’s responses have improved your understanding of Anaplan, life at Twelve, and one of our most impactful and tenured Managing Consultants.
Liz started as, and continues to be, a trusted co-worker that I can reach out to about professional development, client interactions, deliverable recommendations and more. She is a consummate professional that consistently lives Twelve’s core values: Well-Being, Collaboration, Personal Growth, and Excellence. I would, without a moment’s hesitation, recommend Liz to any client or prospective employee as she has acted as a model manager, leader and coworker. I look forward to learning from her strong example as I continue to take on new challenges, grow in my career, and develop as a person.