Umbrex is pleased to welcome Xavier Lederer with Ambrose Growth. Xavier was a strategy consultant with Bain & Company for 4 years in Europe (Brussels & Amsterdam office). He is now a business coach, helping CEOs of mid-market companies, who are frustrated by the way their company is growing, redefine their growth strategy/execution and their management approach, so they can get back on track to profitable growth.
Prior to starting his own practice Xavier was the President of a chocolate manufacturer in NYC. Xavier has particular expertise in helping leadership teams define an actionable growth strategy, establish an execution discipline to hold people accountable, and build stronger, more cohesive leadership teams. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and three elementary-school age children. He is a trained chocolatier and a hobbyist beekeeper. Xavier is happy to collaborate on projects in North America and across Europe to help mid-market companies redefine their growth strategy/execution and their management approach to grow faster and with less pain.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Rahul Bhargava with PurpleCrest. Rahul was a management consultant at McKinsey for 6 years, and has been running his own consulting firm since 2012. PurpleCrest, his firm, focuses on strategy consulting and high-performance business coaching to mid-market organisations in India and Canada. After leaving McKinsey, Rahul also led the operations for one of the United Nations offices in India, focusing on accelerating the achievement of health related millennium development goals (MDG-4 & 5). He is an advisory board member in few non-profits and startups.
Rahul lives in Oakville, Greater Toronto Area (Canada) along with his wife and 2 sons. Rahul is excited to be part of the Umbrex community, and is looking to collaborate on projects requiring digital solutions for impact creation.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Matthew James with Materia Consultancy Ltd. Matt was an Engagement Manager the McKinsey London office from ’98 to ’02 before joining the Mining & Metal industry in Australia, growing Lynas Corporation from a start-up to a $3 billion market cap ASX 100 company. In 2014 Matt returned to the UK and started Materia Consultancy Limited and worked as a freelance consultant, with a focus on industrial growth strategy projects, programme management and due diligence studies.
In 2017 Matt joined the global Executive Leadership Team of Harsco Corporation to implement the Environmental Services division growth strategy designed by Materia Consultancy. As VP Strategy, Business Development and Innovation, Matt was responsible for divisional strategy, acquisitions, strategic investments, and development of an innovation team.
Matt lives in Guildford, just outside London and has two children just starting high school.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Francesca Muller with Francesca Muller Ltd. Francesca started her career as a senior associate at McKinsey, where she worked in the media practice in New York and then London. She has been working as an independent consultant since 2004, leading growth strategy and transformation projects across a range of sectors including healthcare, financial services, environmental, B2B and industrial services.
She has a BA and JD from Harvard University and currently lives in London with her husband and two children.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Pontus Kristiansson with Altaverita. Pontus spent his early career with McKinsey & Co and Procter & Gamble. Then went on to spend 20+ years as serial entrepreneur and tech CEO before going back to management strategy consulting through his independent practice Altaverita, while also chairing his family office Realinvest.se.
Believes in saving the world through climate impact investing and scaling technological climate solutions. Thrives on helping others succeed. Secret super power: Strong problem solver, with an uncanny ability to explain complex problems and solutions in easy-to-understand yet highly engaging ways. Pontus is happy to collaborate on projects involving new product positioning strategies, business growth strategies and financial market communications – particularly if relating to projects or businesses with a positive climate impact opportunity.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Wayne Patten with Innovation Strategies. Wayne has over 30 years of experience in consulting to senior leadership in companies of all sizes. In 2000, Mr. Patten founded Innovation Strategies, LLC to focus on helping clients achieve significant organic growth and operational excellence. Prior to founding Innovation Strategies, he co-founded Prism Consulting International, and helped grow the firm to over 25 consultants. He also worked as a strategy consultant for Booz-Allen & Hamilton.
Mr. Patten has served clients in a wide range of industries, including industrial and building product manufacturers, financial services companies, and healthcare service providers. His expertise includes growth and technology strategy planning, strategy implementation, and business process redesign / re-engineering to improve operations, product development, and pricing. Prior to his consulting career, he worked as an electrical design engineer for a contractor to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Mr. Patten is married with three adult children and lives in Northern Virginia. He would welcome the opportunity to collaborate on projects where his expertise and experience can add value to clients large or small.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Andrew McKee with Headland Strategy Group. Andrew has 15 years’ experience in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and other healthcare sectors. In his health care work, he specializes in consulting projects for healthcare executives that combine disruptive growth strategy expertise (e.g., disease area strategy, pipeline marketing/commercial evaluations, novel disruptive technologies) with distinctive consulting offerings (e.g., strategic decision-making workshop design and facilitation; qualitative market research with thought leaders). These projects necessarily require Andrew and his team to be multi-disciplinary problem-solvers and top-notch communicators.
Since 2012, Andrew has supervised 60+ projects on growth strategy and commercial strategy for executives from Fierce 15 biotechs to Top 5 pharma and across a wide range of therapeutic areas. His background includes having worked for McKinsey and Company, Google, and Genentech in roles of increasing responsibility, and having trained and performed as a professional saxophonist. He holds BSE and MD degrees from Duke University, and is the lead author of scientific publications and is co-inventor on several patents that have been licensed by industry. He is married and active with his family of three children. He has a dedicated hobby of writing novels. He also enjoys playing music (guitar, piano, drums, saxophones), hiking, camping, and sports with his family.
David Burnie shares a post that explains why now is the time to refresh your growth strategy.
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted businesses worldwide. Globally, governments have put economies on pause, and businesses have shuttered their doors to try and limit the virus’ spread. Factories have idled, and customers have sheltered in place as the world weathers the storm. Whether or not this strict response was necessary, or an overreaction, is a side debate – it happened. As we move from the frenetic pace of survival into recovery, businesses now need to seize the opportunity that has been presented.
Deloitte Canada’s recent September 2020 Economic Outlook noted that Canada’s economic activity is not expected to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels until the second half of 2021. Businesses still operating have withstood the immediate shock to revenues and survived the initial downturn; now they need to leverage this recovery period and set the foundations for future growth.
There are 5 key reasons outlined within this article as to why businesses need to invest now in refreshing their growth strategy:
To convert crisis urgency into future momentum
To gain first-mover advantage on emerging trends
To adapt to a technology-focused market
To take advantage of the robust talent pool
To build resiliency into their strategy
By heeding to these reasons and acting to refresh growth strategy, businesses can position themselves for success in the recovery and post-pandemic world. They will better understand their customers’ problems and what they as a business can do to solve them, thus working towards increasing market share, entering new markets, and growing revenues.
Key points covered include:
- Converting crisis urgency into future momentum
- Gaining first-mover advantage on emerging trends
- Adapting to a technology-focused market
Read the full article, Why Now is the Time to Refresh Your Growth Strategy, on BurnieGroup.com.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Peter Hsia with CH Consulting Advisors. Peter is one of the founders of CH Consulting Advisors, a strategy consulting firm focused on consumer and retail. He has over 30 years of consulting experience with Accenture, Kurt Salmon, Swander Pace and McKinsey. CH Consulting focuses on serving the private equity community with due diligence and portfolio strategy as well as working with mid-cap companies on growth strategy. CH Consulting is based in the San Francisco Bay area and serves a national client base.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Matthew Kien-Meng Ly. Matthew spent four years at Bain & Company helping companies understand market insights and develop growth strategies. Prior to Bain, Matthew was a software engineer and technology professional. Matthew has particular expertise in identifying customer / competitive insights and new markets, assessing policy / regulatory impact on markets, and developing growth strategies / plans. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with his fiancée and enjoys woodworking in his spare time. He holds a JD from Harvard and a BASc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Matthew is happy to collaborate on projects in US and Canada.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Rashay Jethalal. Rashay has over 20 years of experience in North American financial services and a deep passion for scaling modern businesses. He had led businesses in asset management (Purpose Investments) and transaction banking (CIBC) and a proven track record of providing strategic advice in both capital markets and retail banking. He enjoys working with early stage and rapidly scaling new ventures, particularly in the fintech space. Rashay has deep acumen in growth strategy and transformation. He lives in Toronto, with his wife and two daughters, and is an avid basketball fan. In his spare time, he also enjoys angel investing.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome James Agres with 2nd St Strategy. James is a Senior Management Consultant with 10+ years of strategic consulting experience. His work focuses on sell-side and buy-side commercial due diligence for Private Equity and Investment Banking clients. James possesses deep expertise in developing and executing organic and M&A driven growth strategies for mid-market clients. He also has extensive experience in operational performance improvement, value creation, and transformation initiatives across diverse industries including industrials, healthcare, consumer products, ecommerce, retail, media, high-tech and financial services. James is a proven team leader experienced in delivering multiple concurrent complex, ambiguous, and data-driven projects in rigorous and fast-paced environments, consistently addressing the most challenging strategic issues facing my clients and delivered distinctive solutions.
James has received an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business with a specialization in Strategy and Finance and a BS in Computer Science from DePaul University.
His specialties are:
• Commercial due diligence
• Primary market research
• Growth strategy development and execution
• Post M&A integration and synergy capture
• Advanced problem structuring, problem solving and data analysis
James is looking to collaborate on lower middle market due diligence and growth strategy engagements, particularly where extensive primary market research is needed.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Christopher Rischard. Christopher Rischard spent eight years as Digital Leader in the TMT practice at Booz & Company based in Paris and Madrid focused on digitalization, data and tech-enabled growth strategy. After several years as a Principal, he set off as an independent consultant in London in 2014. Prior to Booz and his MBA at INSEAD, Christopher lived in Washington DC where he was raised and he worked for 8 years in enterprise solutions sales at MCI Telecommunications. Christopher would be delighted to collaborate on digital strategy, digital transformation and digital value creation engagements for both corporate and private equity clients.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Amit Bhagat. Amit Bhagat brings together a combination of corporate and consulting experience. In the corporate world, he was General Manager of a $300M business unit of a public consumer goods company. In addition, he was Head of Strategy and M&A. Within his portfolio of responsibility, Amit led teams in each of corporate strategy; M&A and post-merger integration, business insights and analytics; and transformation. In the consulting world, Amit was Managing Director at PwC Strategy& focusing largely on M&A related engagements – post-merger integration planning and execution as well as post-merger growth strategy. Amit is based in Toronto.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Yi-Hsin Chang with Chang Unlimited. The secret to Yi-Hsin Chang’s success, no matter the industry, company or situation, is her creativity, tenacity and hard work. She is single-mindedly driven by a need to succeed and to make a positive impact on everything she does.
Yi-Hsin has developed and implemented growth strategies, and led transformational change in companies small and large. She is particularly adept at assessing and adapting to new situations, and managing challenging personalities.
After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar, Yi-Hsin started her career as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal and then as a writer for The Motley Fool at the height of the dot.com era. When she decided she wanted to run businesses, not just write about them, she went to business school at NYU Stern.
Yi-Hsin’s business career started at McKinsey & Company and Goldman Sachs. She later transitioned to industry so she could have direct, hands-on impact on businesses, including The Kessler Group, Hanover Insurance, and DTN (Data Transmission Network).
Most recently for nearly a decade, Yi-Hsin worked alongside The Kessler Group’s highly successful Founder, Chairman and CEO Howard Kessler(inventor of the affinity credit card) as Chief of Staff/COO, and was instrumental in running the credit card advisory firm, developing creative solutions for major bank clients and their cobrand partners.
Yi-Hsin founded her own independent consulting firm Chang Unlimited, LLC to partner with clients to do deals, build businesses and maximize value. Leveraging her experience in a wide range of industries, business lines and functions, she is highly versatile and capable of solving complex problems and helping companies grow.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Marla Malluk Gozman. Marla Malluk Gozman spent nearly ten years at Bain & Company in their Boston, London, and New York City offices. Since then, she has been an independent strategy consultant and also spent three years as Sales Strategy Director with Zearn, a nonprofit education technology organization. Marla has expertise in growth strategy and strategic planning, market and competitive analysis, and pricing, as well as advising start-up and nonprofit organizations. She has experience in many sectors, including health care, education, consumer finance, retail, hospitality, and telecommunications. Marla lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and son. She is happy to collaborate on growth strategy and market/competitive analysis projects in the greater New York City area.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Sai Patil. Sai Patil spent seven years as a strategy consultant at Bain & Co and then three years at Mattel leading strategy and marketing teams. Sai has particular expertise in growth strategy for consumer/retail companies as well as retail promotional strategy and marketing optimization. Prior clients include Fortune 500 companies in beauty, fashion, home decor, coffee, printing, pet food and education. Sai is highly strategic with deep expertise in utilizing consumer and market insight. She lives in Manhattan Beach, California with her husband and 3 elementary age children and new dog, Lucky.
Sai is happy to collaborate on projects involving competitive/market analysis and growth strategy in the U.S.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Lawrence E Adjah with Adjah. Lawrence is a community builder and business advisor who began his career as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company in its New York office, helping to serve some of the world’s largest professional sports organizations and media companies. After McKinsey, Lawrence served as the Senior Director of Business Development at a premiere sports and entertainment marketing agency in New York. He later became a direct advisor to some of the world’s leading media & entertainment companies through his own advisory consulting firm, Adjah.
He’s the Founder and Chairman of Family Dinner Foundation, whose mission is to connect the world as a family at and beyond the dinner table. Inspired by the growing epidemic of loneliness and isolation, the foundation launched its first initiative, Our Family Dinner in 2008 which reached nearly 50K people across 35 cities.
Lawrence lives in Jersey City, NJ and is happy to partner on projects in the sports, media & entertainment space, as well as projects across all industries that involve growth strategy or strategic sourcing and procurement
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Surbhee Grover with Steel & Graffiti Strategy consulting. With 18 years experience in consulting and brand management, Surbhee Grover provides growth strategy, innovation, digital and marketing advice to leading companies across consumer oriented industries (incl. food & beverage, beauty/ cosmetics, education, hospitality, luxury and digital media). She gained considerable experience during her six year tenure with Booz & Company (2004-2010). Her work has included projects such as the development of an innovation strategy & processes for a global beverage firm; creating a digital strategy for a leading educational entity focused on its international markets; determining global sales capabilities and Go-To-Market strategies in emerging markets for a leading consumer electronics company; and developing a growth product roadmap for a leading European food player.
In addition to this, Ms. Grover honed her product management expertise with firms such as L’Oreal and Marico Industries (Asia) and Colgate Palmolive (N. America). Finally, in partnering with clients across Asia, North America and Europe (UK, Denmark, Netherlands, and Ireland), Surbhee has developed a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities that confront global businesses. Apart from advising senior leaders at global corporations, Surbhee advises several early stage start-ups. She is also a freelance travel writer for the Forbes (Asia).
James Black shares the first post in a series that explores the development of customer understanding in 2020.
To kick off the new year, I suggested ‘20 Questions to Help Your Brand or Business See 20/20 in 2020.’ To help brands and businesses assess the state of your business and identify opportunities, I wanted to take a closer look at the topic of Customer Understanding.
Developing a deeper Customer Understanding is helpful to identify opportunities to strengthen your business. If you didn’t enter the New Year feeling like you had a deep understanding of your customer, here are some tips on how to quickly build your fact base. At P&G, business understanding always began with a robust “WHO” Understanding – that is, the consumer who used the product and the shopper who bought it.
Questions asked and explained include:
- Do we have a clearly defined target customer?
- Do we have a clear understanding of the end benefit the customer is seeking?
- Does our offering fit with his/her desired benefit?
- Do we understand the customer’s unmet needs vs. current offerings?
- Are we conducting the right mix of research (qualitative and quantitative)?
- Do we prioritize what we do (and don’t do) and what we invest in (and not in) against customers’ needs?
Read the full article, Seeing 20/20 in 2020: Part 1 – Customer Understanding, on LinkedIn.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Travis McElveen with Matterhorn Advisors. Travis McElveen spent nearly 4 years at McKinsey & Company in a variety of roles, including Engagement Manager, where he served companies in the transportation, aerospace, and basic materials industries across multiple functions, including operations, pricing, advanced analytics, and growth strategy. Additionally, Travis has extensive experience serving organizations in the federal and non-profit sectors.
After starting his career at McKinsey & Company as a Business Analyst, Travis joined the US Navy as a pilot, ultimately becoming a Tailhook qualified aviator landing on aircraft carriers. Travis rejoined McKinsey in the Charlotte office following his military service.
He lives in Charlotte, NC, with his wife and two children and is an avid skier and outdoorsman.
Kaihan Krippendorff asks a most pertinent question to help companies identify a strategy that will improve customer relations and revenue.
The former president of Starbucks, Howard Behar, told me a few months ago that the most important decision Starbucks made, that led to many of the disruptive choices this category-defining company made, was their decision to be “in the people business serving coffee” rather than the “coffee business serving people”.
In other words, Starbucks decided to view their “customer” as the worker in their store serving coffee. Their purpose was to create great jobs and lives for them.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, said, “We were going pretty well as a shoe company but our growth really took off when we realized were a customer service company that happened to sell shoes.”
Hartford Steam Boiler, whose strategy I will dig into in a later post, seems to be an insurance company but actually sees itself as and, more importantly, acts as an engineering company that happens to monetize through insurance.
This article explains how the following questions help define a growth strategy.
- What is our actual business (e.g., consumer electronics and not medical devices)?
- How does that kind of company behave differently?
Read the full article, The Most Important Strategic Question To Ask: What Business Are You In?, on Kaihan’s website.
Eric Hiller’s company blog takes a look at the strategy and growth probability of the Ride-hail market from the perspective of the Lyft CEO.
Summary for Lyft CEO
Ride-hail is not going away, but it must to get profitable. You can try to ‘grow to profitability’, but as we have learned in the past, that is a risky proposition.
Uber is expanding, but it is already bigger than Lyft. Is that strategy profitable, and if it is, is there enough room for two players in it. Simultaneously, the path to profitability is getting harder with cities pushing back on Lyft and Uber, and as Lyft and Uber attract new customers, they may be less profitable riders. Consider another option: an alternative targeted and differentiated strategy:
Lyft should double-down on a long-term strategy of letting Uber attempt to own the market… but in reality, building the interstate for Lyft to toll
Continue to build cultural allegiance driver, rider, and city — which will differentiate and win in a commodity market in the longer-term, as Lyft captures share in an increasingly regulated environment
Follow to profitable geographies
Long term invest in autonomous public transport, leveraging massive experience with app / software and routing vehicles to individuals.
Read the full article, Lyft vs Uber – What if You Are Driving Lyft as a Company?, on the Hiller Associates website.
Jason George uses the evolution of the aviation industry as a means to explore the cost of risk aversion and how it can stymie growth.
Building in every possible contingency as part of a strategy can end up producing something so encrusted with extraneous elements that agility is compromised. Alternatively, it may hew so closely to known and safe paths that it ends up losing the novelty that would make it compelling. If you can’t cut yourself loose from a certain strategy or mental model, your degrees of freedom become limited. In the process new paths are closed off, even though they might unlock a different way of operating. Sometimes caution is a crutch whose real costs are not adequately calculated. A better path might involve getting rid of the safety net.
When faced with ambiguity too often we choose the guaranteed loss, which might be greater than the as-yet unknown costs of taking the riskier path. The safe route may be comfortable, but it is costly.
Points explored include:
- Contingency as part of a strategy
- Product cannibalization
- The cost of the safe route
Read the full article, Calculated Risks and the Costly Status Quo, on Jason’s website.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Seline Karakaya with Excelerate Global. Seline Karakaya is Founder and Managing Director of Excelerate Global, a venture capital and private equity advisory group. In this capacity, Seline has worked with closely with companies ranging from start-ups to multi-nationals to support their growth priorities. She works closely with founders, CEOs, and Boards of Directors—often as an interim CXO—on the most pressing issues, from hiring to pricing, strategy to fundraising, organization to business
Prior to founding Excelerate Global, Seline was a Director at American Securities, a New York-based private equity firm with one of the most successful track records in the industry. During her tenure, Seline co-led the development of the Firm’s “Shared Vision” process for value creation and alignment, advised portfolio company CEOs across a variety of industries and business topics, ranging from strategy and growth to talent and change management, and led the execution of a number of high priority initiatives. She also developed and oversaw the Firm’s commercial due diligence efforts.
Prior to American Securities, Seline was a management consultant at Bain & Company, where she spent over 6 years advising Private Equity, Retail, Consumer Products, Tech/Media executives on M&A, corporate strategy, change management, and growth initiatives ranging from product development to new market entry. Seline was among the original members of Bain Los Angeles’s Private Equity Group.
Seline was Chief of Staff at FEI Women’s Health, overseeing all strategic initiatives across the commercial aspects of the business leading up to its strategic sale to Barr Pharmaceuticals. She has also held positions at Amgen, Cerberus Capital Management, and American Express in a variety of capacities.
Seline graduated with the highest honors from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business Honors Program with a B.S. in Business Administration, Strategy & Finance. She is also an active advocate of children’s causes in developing countries and animal welfare around the globe.
Seline is happy to collaborate on growth strategy and commercial value creation projects in the Western U.S.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Katarina Podlesnaya. Katarina spent 8+ years across management consulting at BCG, venturing and blockchain product development at ConsenSys, advising multiple start-ups, and serving as an owner of a retail business.
Katarina’s expertise focuses on growth strategy, procurement and negotiation, technology, operational improvement, and organizational design.
She currently resides in New York City and maintains a strong network and presence in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Dubai, UAE. Katarina is happy to discuss collaboration opportunities irrespective of global location.
Luiz Zorzella explains why non-strategic projects can be a distraction that get in the way of real strategic work and what you can do about it.
When companies define their strategic priorities, it is common to include in this list items that are not building blocks of the company’s strategic goals. At least directly.
Some of these items are extraneous, pet projects and/or impositions from third-party actors or the result of internal politics and accommodations and at best do not add any value and at worst hinder the strategic agenda.
However, there is another type of priority which, if properly managed, can help you break into a vault full of riches that are unreachable to you right now.
Points covered in this article include:
- Three categories of items
- How to prioritize and implement items
Read the full article, Break into the Strategic Treasure Vault, on the Amquant website.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Michael Casaburi with Revulus Growth Partners to our community. Michael Casaburi spent 13 years at Bain and has been running a boutique consulting firm focused on market due diligence for investors and growth strategy for companies since 2013.
Michael brings top tier consulting approaches to investors (e.g., PE firms), the middle market, and BUs of large companies. He’s worked with some of the largest investors/companies globally as well as smaller firms/companies.
Michael lives in a Chicago, Illinois suburb (Naperville) with his wife and children. Michael is happy to collaborate on projects involving market due diligence, growth strategy, and strategic planning.