Each month we will be highlighting a different Dare to be Great employee who embodies the Uncommon Blend or Challenge Accepted attitude that makes West Monroe Partners and everyone that works here so unique! This month, meet Benjamin W. Baenen, a Senior Manager in our Healthcare practice, based in Chicago.
How did you get started at West Monroe?
I’ll go waaaay back for this, but I was actually in the first internship class at West Monroe back in 2007. I interned with the Operations Excellence (formally known as Enterprise) class. There is a picture of our internship class (matter of fact, we all still work at WMP) floating around somewhere, with my untucked polo shirt. Looking WAY too cool for work. Please don’t go find that picture.
What is your proudest/coolest accomplishment at WMP?
Firm wide, I think my proudest accomplishment has been growing with our Healthcare Team from the very beginning. I like to joke with Will that I’ve been at the firm longer than he has, but we had a key client back in 2010 that was kind of a launchpad for our practice and, to be honest, my career. Since then, I’ve worked really closely with the Healthcare Leadership Team, formed some amazing relationships, and developed as both a consultant and leader. From a people perspective, without a doubt…the best part of my job is watching young folks grow, learn, and lead. I’d like to think that I bring a unique perspective on consulting, having started as an intern and progressing through the career model. I try to bring the “I’ve been in your shoes, here’s what worked for me” mentality to my project teams.
How do you identify as part of the Uncommon Blend? How have you seen this come to life? How would you explain the Uncommon Blend at West Monroe?
I’ll take a stab at this from the business side. Being involved in growing and mentoring our team’s consultant-level resources, we pull in a lot of people with very little technical background. We were all Business, Economics, Marketing, and Psychology majors. The “uncommon blend” for me is not having a deep technical background, but (1) learning the impacts that technology can have on a business, (2) not being afraid to roll up our sleeves and get into the “weeds” by applying problem solving skills to technical problems, and (3) surrounding ourselves with other deep technologists who can teach us along the way. WMP can be dangerous in a lot of different ways, it’s remarkable.
What is your Challenge Accepted moment? How has West Monroe challenged you?
West Monroe challenges me every single day. Literally, every day. This isn’t a “sit back and relax” type of place. Over the past eight years, I can point to a handful of client examples with incredibly difficult, complex, and challenging situations. Our job is to solve problems, challenge the ‘status quo’, and make our clients look good. With those three things in mind, I can honestly say that every single day presents a new set of challenges.
To give a more specific example, one very large client handed me the reigns of a 65 person program that was failing. There was no program-level communication, the team wasn’t working together, vendors were managing themselves, and the program was over-budget. We had a small “SWAT Team” of WMP resources, and we worked tirelessly to put the right controls and measures in place to deliver, and the appropriate communication cadence to keep the Steering Committee informed to make the right strategic decisions. It’s was incredibly difficult, but I’m proud of the work our team did to course-correct the program.
How would you describe West Monroe in two words?
If you were trapped on a deserted island, who from West Monroe would you bring and why?
Oh wow, couple different approaches on this. Probably Keith Campbell because he would know all the hot restaurants on the deserted island (and Bookmarked on Yelp). More practically, Mani Kumar would be great because he’s fun, sharp, and…….a doctor.