At what point in your career did you join Castalia?
After 2 years at the Commerce Commission and 3 years working for Vector (New Zealand) I was thinking of taking an overseas experience (OE) year, and going to the UK or Australia to do regulatory economics.
What motivated you to join Castalia?
During this period, looking for an OE opportunity, I considered doing economic consulting. I happened upon the Castalia website and was both impressed and intimidated by the team biographies, I also thought the work looked cool.
What has your career at Castalia looked like so far?
My career at Castalia is best described as Phase I and Phase II
In Phase I, I was hired as a co-manager of the New Zealand Energy practice. I had targets for winning new business and to deliver gross margin. I was able to get involved with staff development; working with, developing, and mentoring staff, designing the graduate recruitment program, and designing writing materials. I was also given the opportunity to learn new skills in development economics.
It was around this time that I absolutely fell in love with Melbourne, and when given a great opportunity I headed over with my family. I left Castalia for 9 years.
Phase II of my career at Castalia started when I was offered an opportunity to run the entire New Zealand and Pacific Practice, and head up business development efforts. Although I knew it would be challenging to manage areas where I’m not the subject expert, I felt confident that I could make an impact in developing and retaining analysts and managers. Being a Practice Leader is totally different from being an analyst or manager. I have more opportunities to develop and mentor other staff and collaborate with our other offices globally. I also have relative freedom to decide what initiatives and projects are prioritized.
Why did you decide to come back?
After working in a large corporate, I wanted to get back to consulting, where the challenges are almost always highly complex and the people you are working with are always at the top of their game.
I also wanted to be part of developing and growing an international team that has a unique take on problem solving. Through my own example, I know what analysts and managers experience, and believe that I can leverage that knowledge to help them develop faster and enjoy their work more. Hopefully this will lead to staff progressing further in the organization and staying longer. I also aim to ensure that those leaving Castalia, do so with a positive mindset and with a view to coming back later into a more senior role.
What about working at Castalia is unique?
The variety of problems we get at Castalia and the flexibility to solve them is a differentiator. I also appreciate the support from my colleagues, it’s unlike anything I have experienced before. In most jobs you have the fluff you just have to do, and then the stuff you get excited about. At Castalia the fluff is minimal, we spend most of our time solving problems and honing our solutions to be the best.
I like that we work together, with little to no politics, and we help each other. We’re a group of people with our own targets and responsibilities who cooperate, work hard, and try to have fun together along the way. What I’ve enjoyed most since returning is being back in a team where no one will accept anything less than excellence, and everyone is willing to work hard to achieve it.