Plenty of companies like to talk about the importance of recruiting and hiring women.
But when it comes to actually walking the walk, far fewer companies actually make hiring women a priority. But top global consulting firm Keystone Strategy is the exception to that rule. With offices in Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and New York, the firm has brought on a new coterie of female consultants who are ready to shake up their industry and break boundaries.
Seyla Azoz is a Senior Consultant in Keystone’s San Francisco office. She joined the firm in 2015 after graduating with a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Yale. Over the past two years, she has worked with some of the company’s most impressive clients. She provided expert analysis of technology data during the intellectual property trial between Oracle and Google working with a Keystone client that represented Oracle. She’s also worked with Fortune 500 companies to optimize how they link online and offline information and has provided expert recommendations for how to improve industry best practices for consumer technologies.
“I have been passionate about technology since childhood,” Azoz tells Ivy Exec. “From bacteria detection devices to building solar cells, I believe technology has huge potential to help shape the future for the better. After pursuing a PhD in engineering and co-founding a medical device start-up, I came to realize the impact I could make in a consulting firm where I have a broad range of client experiences and exposure to complex problems. My work now applies new ways of using technology to help my clients see the possibilities and think about the ‘next big thing.’”
Azoz says she knew that she would be happiest at Keystone Strategy from her very first phone interview with the company. Since then, she has been a leader both at the company and in the industry as a rare, female voice in technology—a role that Keystone has consistently supported.
“Despite any road blocks in technology—which is a more male-dominated field—women bring unique values to the tech industry, and consulting in particular,” she says. “We bring creative, instinctive solutions with different approaches. It is therefore very rewarding to work at Keystone which prioritizes a diverse work culture where women perform well.”
Megha Mathur is an Engagement Manager at Keystone’s San Francisco office. She joined the firm after earning her MBA from Harvard Business School in 2014. She now works as a senior consultant on some of Keystone’s most tenured accounts and focuses primarily on the telecommunications, technology and consumer goods industries.
“At Keystone I enjoy working on projects to understand how technology will transform different industries,” Mathur says. “My clients are generally Fortune 500 companies that are being impacted by the rapid adoption of new technologies and access to big data…Recently I worked with a global telecommunication company to evaluate the potential impact of various emerging technologies on how people will communicate in the future, such as block chain, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. Our work identified new business models that our clients could use to define the emerging market. While it was a complicated and ambiguous project because we were creating something new, I found it rewarding, since we were encouraged to think big and envision a different future.”
But when it comes to envisioning a different future for women in her industry, Mathur has been instrumental in driving real change. She co-leads Keystone’s Diversity Initiative and has crafted a rigorous speaker’s series that brings in female executives and thought leaders from the most prestigious institutions in Silicon Valley and the Ivy League to share best practices and understand the data behind bias in the workplace.
“As co-lead of Keystone’s Diversity Initiative, I believe in creating an environment where women will succeed at Keystone and in the consulting industry in general,” she explains. “It is important to capitalize on the unique perspectives and leadership styles that women bring to our clients and to the technology community at large.”
Cultivating female talent often starts well before a firm can hire a full-fledged executive like Mathur or Azoz. To help jumpstart the careers of the up-and-coming female leaders of tomorrow, Keystone offers pre-MBA associate opportunities to rising stars like Alexxis Isaac. She recently graduated from MIT with her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and has already been accepted to Harvard Business School where she plans to start her studies in 2017 or 2018.
As an associate at Keystone Strategy, she has enjoyed real world experience working with brands like Nike. She helped the shoe giant digitize their processes for pricing their products.
“Driving high impact in a small timeframe is so rewarding,” she says of her work for Nike. “The opportunity to transform a company using data is an exciting opportunity for any engineer. I love that I am gaining experience in innovation and in how to help companies improve their products and processes.”
Whether they’re hiring heavy hitters to their team of top consultants or finding fresh talent straight out of college, Keystone Strategy is providing a model for how thriving companies can reach even greater heights by making the hiring of female consultants a priority.