Portfolio Careers are Booming

Highly regarded business journals and magazines have been writing about the rise in portfolio careers for the past couple of years. Now others are picking up on this booming career trend. We were intrigued to read a newly published article in Harper’s Bazaar that makes a case for why professionals may want to consider a portfolio career.

A portfolio career comprises a variety of roles rather than one job at a single organization. It is a career strategy that is crafted with care and intentionality where professionals combine multiple streams of income to create a mix of either full or part-time employment. A large percentage of Croixstone’s consultants have successfully constructed portfolio careers that deliver variety, challenge, great income, and the professional satisfaction that so many highly experienced professionals are seeking.

The Harper’s Bazaar article spotlights recent research from the Department of Education in the UK that found that 63% of adults in England have multiple roles, or plan to, in the future. The study, conducted in November of 2021, also found that 37% more people have a portfolio career than before the global pandemic.

Read the Harper’s Bazaar article here.


What’s the Future of Consulting?

As we count down the final days of 2021 and look forward to the shiny new year ahead, Croixstone is celebrating a record year of revenues and client growth.

Croixstone sees a very bright future ahead for both the consulting industry and our firm. That said, the pathway to the future must be navigated amidst the powerful forces of disruption that are igniting rapid transformation in the consulting industry.

We were curious to learn how other thought leaders in our industry are seeing the future of consulting. We came across an interesting online article published by Future of Everything that features fascinating insights into the future from 14 consulting industry experts. Click here to learn their thoughts.


The Fast Five: Croixstone CEO Patti Weber and the NAWBO Accelerated Growth Program

In January of 2021, Croixstone Consulting announced that our CEO, Patti Weber, was one of 25 women across the USA accepted into the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Accelerated Growth Program.  Sponsored by Wells Fargo, the program featured a premier suite of learning modules, high-level education and mentorship to help participants increase their market competitiveness and to position them to achieve the next stage of growth and expansion.  Patti completed her participation in the program in October 2021.  We caught up with her to ask five fast questions pertaining to her experience. 

For people who aren’t familiar with it, what is the NAWBO Accelerated Growth Program? 

An opportunity to collaborate and share best practices with other women-owned businesses. 

Why did you participate in the program? 

At Croixstone Consulting, we are always seeking to operate with excellence and part of that is to always continuously learn.  How can we do things in a different way as we seek the path to excellence? 

Tell us about the other women who participated in the program. 

The women who participated were from across the USA and ranged from an Alaska-based owner of a touring company (Seward Tours LLC dba Sunny Cove Kayaking) to a former broadcaster with a production company based in California (WorldWise Productions LLC) to an attorney based in Pennsylvania (ND Galli Law LLC). 

What was the most unique company who participated in the program? 

There was a wine club based in Portland, Oregon named Upstream Wine Club that was launched during the global pandemic.  The company makes it easy to discover great Oregon wines. 

What’s the best piece of advice that you received? 

Trust your gut…those feelings of intuition.  Following your instinct can direct you toward the best path for you and your company. 


International Fraud Awareness Week

International Fraud Awareness Week is November 14-20, 2021, and Croixstone Consulting is once again joining the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), businesses, government entities, and agencies from across the world as a supporting organization to promote anti-fraud awareness and eduction.

Companies lose an estimated 5% of their revenue annually due to fraud, according to the 2020 ACFE Report to the Nations. Fraud takes many shapes and forms, among them corporate fraud, consumer fraud, tax fraud, identity theft and many others.

Read the 2020 ACFE Report to the Nations to learn more.


What’s Top of Mind for CEOs

Fortune Magazine and Deloitte have partnered to track the perspectives and actions of CEOs from the world’s largest and most influential companies. Every 4 months, the duo gathers key insights into CEOs’ priorities, challenges, and expectations across 15 industries, including finance, health care, and technology.

At the end of last month, Fortune/Deloitte shared the results of their latest survey that revealed that a growing number of chief executives expect pandemic disruptions to continue. Additionally, they remain bullish about growth while they are focused on talent, and taking action on climate change.

Our key takeaway from the latest survey?

Talent remains a top priority for CEOs.

Nearly three-quarters of CEOs say they expect labor and skills shortages to in influence or disrupt their strategy over the next 12 months. When asked about the biggest challenge they face, nearly 50% of CEOs name challenges related to talent – up from a 25% in the Fortune/Deloitte summer survey.

Asked separately about the top three challenges to their organization’s talent and workforce goals, the major of CEOs named attracting and recruiting talent (57%), designing a post-pandemic workplace (53%), and retaining talent (51%). Building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce is also high on the list of challenges for 43% of CEOs.

Click here to read the full report.


McKinsey & Company: Women in the Workplace 2021 Survey

Women in the Workplace is the largest comprehensive study on the state of women in corporate America, with data from 423 companies employing 12M people. Following are a few key take-aways from the study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org.

Women are now significantly more burned out than they were last year, and increasingly more so than men. Women are, however, rising to the challenge as stronger leaders and taking on the extra work to support the wellbeing of all employees while also advancing DE&I efforts. That being said, companies are not recognizing and rewarding their efforts, and they are at risk of losing the very leaders they need right now.

While companies are embracing flexibility and not anticipating going back to pre-pandemic norms, the one thing most are missing is clear boundaries so that employees don’t have to feel like they need to be “always on” 24/7. Only 1 in 5 employees stated that they received guidelines for responding to non-urgent requests after traditional work hours. Establishing or reinforcing boundaries will go a long way in addressing burnout.

Representation by women at all levels of leadership has increased modestly, but women of color remain underrepresented, face more challenges and get less support. Allyship is critical in the workplace, and when employees have strong allies, they are more likely to have positive work experiences and less likely to be burned out and consider leaving their company.

To learn more, read the full study: Women in the Workplace 2021


We Have a Passion for Purple!

In addition to sharing a mutual passion for consulting, our three senior leaders (Patti Weber, Grace Lynch, and Mark Weber) are known for their passion for creating awareness for pancreatic cancer.

Purple is the official color that represents pancreatic cancer, and the trio is known across the greater Charlotte region and beyond for their long-term advocacy for the the disease. In fact, their passion runs so deep that Patti, Grace, and Mark launched the nonprofit Charlotte Pancreatic Cancer Alliance community group last year to amplify their voices.

Shortly after forming the group, the trio wasted no time in joining the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, a consortium of nearly 100 advocacy groups from 33 countries on 6 continents.

The World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition spotlighted the work of Patti, Grace and Mark in the October 2021 issue of its global newsletter. Learn more here.


Know How Your Resume Differs From Your LinkedIn Profile

Your resume and LinkedIn profile are two foundational tools that support your personal brand.  While each plays a role in communicating your professional background and expertise, they serve slightly different purposes.  And because of this fact, your resume and LinkedIn profile should be different.

So just how should they be different?

We leveraged the expertise from the team at Vault to answer this question.

  • Customization. Many experts recommend that you customize your resume for each job to meet the relevant needs of a specific position and the hiring manager.  Your LinkedIn profile, on the other hand, does the broad job of presenting your professional persona.  While it may require some tweaking, you typically don’t tailor it to the same degree as your resume to fit the requirements of a role.
  • Length & Level of Detail. You don’t have the luxury of space with your resume.  The document is designed to be scanned so that recruiters and hiring managers can quickly understand your career narrative and qualifications.  Your LinkedIn profile offers the luxury of space to communicate a full and colorful story.  Use it to your advantage and be certain to include information about involvement with professional associations, nonprofit organizations, etc.
  • Supplementary Proof. Your resume is typically a 1-2 page stand alone document.  LinkedIn offers features for you to add attachments, hyperlinks, videos, skill endorsements, recommendations and more.  We recommend that you take full advantage of these features to shape your colorful story on LinkedIn.
  • Privacy. Since LinkedIn is a public platform, you need to be careful about listing confidential business metrics or sensitive personal information.  Since your resume is a private document to be selectively shared, there is more opportunity to include specific facts and figures that build a strong case for you to be hired.
  • Tone of Voice. While professionalism is a must on both your resume and LinkedIn, your tone can differ.  Your resume should prioritize formal wording over colloquial phrasings, and you should avoid using first-person pronouns.  Since LinkedIn exists as a networking site and social platform, a degree of informality is allowed to the extent that you should feel at liberty to showcase your personality (within the boundaries of professionalism, of course). 
  • Imagery. For the vast majority of job seekers, your resume should never include your photo.  On LinkedIn, a professional profile picture is essential to sharing the story of you.  

Click here to learn more


Personal Branding & Job Seeking Tips for Older Professionals

Last week the folks at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas issued a press release to promote the benefits of companies hiring workers over the age of 55.  Having recently conducted a national survey where 81% of respondents cited difficulty in filling roles, the outplacement firm is wisely touting the advantages of hiring experience.

That said, employers continue to deal with the misguided bias in perceiving that the over 55 age group can’t use technology well or work remotely.  As a consulting firm built squarely on the foundation of highly experienced professionals, the Croixstone team appreciates the following tips that Challenger, Gray & Christmas shared to combat this issue. 

  • Update your resume. Be sure your resume is up to date and emphasizes the accomplishments you achieved in your most recent positions. Do not go into great detail about things you did more than 10 or 15 years ago. Let your expertise shine, but trim the resume to keep it to two or three pages. Consider leaving off your earliest positions if they are no longer relevant. 
  • Don’t apologize for your age. Never be untruthful about how old you are and don’t apologize for it. Be confident and have a positive attitude about all you have to offer. Your age reflects years of valuable experience that can translate into impactful contributions to a company.
  • Stay current. Make sure technology has not passed you by. Do you know what software is being used in your field? Are you comfortable using video platforms for interviews or meetings? If not, learn. Take courses. Seek out tutoring. Practice. Gain new credentials and list them on your resume. Read job descriptions to find out what employers are seeking. Get a new personal, professional email address (e.g.,xxxjones@gmail.com versus ChessAce1@aol.com).
  • Embrace LinkedIn. Once you update your resume, be sure to put the same information on your LinkedIn profile. Learn how to use LinkedIn to network and to learn about job opportunities. Add a professional headshot.
  • Check your attitude. Even if you have to stifle it, do not come across as annoyed by being interviewed by someone half your age. Do not be condescending. 
  • Be active on social media. Your social media presence will be checked by recruiters and potential employers. Being active on social media shows you are current. This is a way to market your brand. You may be “older,” but if your online presence shows you as active, vibrant, and healthy (cycling on Facebook, running a 5K on Instagram), it helps counteract any preconceived negative notions of how “older” is defined.
  • Network. Reach out to your relationships you have spent a career building. Let them help spread the word that you are ready, willing, and able to find a new role.
  • Be open and be positive. Explore positions that may offer less money and a lower title than in your past. Think about safer roles during the pandemic, such as jobs you can do online from your home. It may take time to find the position for you, but with over 10 million open positions in June, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, there are plenty available.

Click here to learn more.


Consulting Industry Factoids

How is the consulting industry faring amidst the global pandemic?

Thanks to the hard work of our talented consultants, Croixstone Consulting celebrated a record revenue year in 2020 (and 2021 is proving to be even better)!  In light of our firm’s success, we decided to dive into Statista’s latest published consulting industry research over the weekend to see how the rest of the industry is faring.

Here are 5 fast facts about the management consulting industry.

  • Industry Size:  The global consulting market delivers $132B in annual revenues while the USA market produces $64.4B.  The USA is the world’s largest management consulting market.
  • COVID Impact:  After experiencing continuous growth between 2015 and 2019, the consulting industry saw a significant revenue loss (-12.5%) across all markets and segments in 2020.
  • Number of Businesses:  In 2020, the number of consulting businesses in the USA reached 831,621, a slight increase over 2019.  It is estimated that this number will increase by 30,000 units in 2021.
  • Number of Consultants:  Since 2012, the number of management consultants in the USA has increased every year, reaching 734,000 consultants in 2020.
  • Revenue Per Consultant:  The average annual revenue per consultant of management consultancies worldwide decreased overall between 2015 and 2020.  During a 2020 survey, respondents reported an average annual revenue per consultant of $208K.

Click here to read more highlights from Statista’s latest research on the consulting services industry.