• Bio: Sherna joined Egremont Group in 2011 and is now a Senior Consultant specialising in people-centered business transformation. She is responsible for running performance improvement programmes in large multi-located organisations and has experience in the retail, leisure, utilities and financial services sectors. Her recent projects have taken her to Europe, Australia and the US.
  • Role: Senior Consultant
  • Location: London

Sherna Bhadresa

I’m a Senior Consultant at Egremont Group based in London. I joined as a Business Analyst in 2011 following the completion of my degree in Economics from Durham University and over the past six years I have worked across the world leading and supporting people-centred business transformation programmes. Now a Senior Consultant, I am responsible for running workstreams on large scale programmes most recently for Walgreens and Snapfish in the US. I am currently working on a European Airport Security project.

Why did you choose a career in the industry?

9-5 office jobs have never appealed to me so I applied for Egremont Group’s assessment centre during the final term of university and I haven’t looked back. Egremont Group offered the perfect cultural fit, great training and a wide client base which I could get stuck into from the start. Starting as a Business Analyst I learnt the core skills of evaluating and diagnosing the problems within an organisation early on. Only once you have this information can you begin to formulate a successful plan for change. Moving on to become a Consultant in 2013, I began to own client relationships and co-create solutions, running problem solving workshops across the business up to Board level. At Egremont Group we transform large multi-located organisations, the work is complex and always challenging but ultimately the work we do is all about people. As a Senior Consultant it is my role to understand and explore how they work together, whether they understand and share common goals and finally to develop solutions for creating better ways of working which will make the business succeed. It is this focus on helping people realise their potential that drives me in my career.

What is a typical day like for you?

I always need to have a bag packed and my passport in my pocket! While working in the US I was based in Denver and responsible for approximately 300 stores in the Colorado area. Working in a team of 16 consultants, I led the roll out of a nationwide retail store transformation programme driving business performance improvement (sales and margin up, cost down) across the region. This comprehensive leadership development programme involved coaching the regional leadership teams to become ‘change agents’ within the business who in turn would train all retail team members within the business right through to frontline shop floor workers. I ran problem solving workshops to co-create the solutions needed and in any one week I would personally develop the capability of hundreds of people across numerous cities.

We had to ensure that all client team members had the capabilities and skills they needed to drive the changes needed in the business. For such a large business, this meant reaching out to all staff and training them to the same level as their counterparts across the country, developing shared goals and targets. Working with them daily, continually developing and coaching them and then seeing them lead the transformation and deliver results has been a highlight of my career so far.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The variety and high energy nature of the work I do is the best part about it, in the last three years I have worked in San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Phoenix, Melbourne, Ireland and the UK! As a management consultant I know I am in a privileged position, analysing and diagnosing the root causes of problems within a business and then working with the client team to find the best solution. I enjoy this problem solving aspect of my role and the need to think on my feet. Working with team members who have carried out their job the same way for many years and then redefining their established practices is always going to be challenging. Getting to know them and working collaboratively to build solutions together is the best way to guarantee success. Egremont Group are passionate about collaborative working, doing away with the ‘us and them’ mentality of consultants and clients. We embed ourselves within our client teams, working closely with team members so they own the solution and it can be sustained when we are no longer there. It is important to me to know that as well as doing an excellent job while on site we leave each client with the skills they need to carry on that work after we have left.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

As the working world becomes ever more virtual and separate, all companies face the challenge of harnessing the talent of their virtual teams. My experience working with a leading online retailer in San Francisco gave me a unique insight into the importance of the virtual team, with a network of essential employees spread across the world from India, Australia and Europe all reporting in to the US. I am keen to explore how we can build and develop team working in this environment. While technology is being developed all the time that can help overcome many of the problems, not enough work is being done to understand how we use technology and time effectively. I’d love to explore the best way of building effective teams with a good leadership structure and better use of technology – it’s a common challenge but few have cracked it.

Finally, here are my top tips for anyone wanting to get into the industry:

  • Be energetic and don’t be afraid to be ambitious.
  • Seek out challenges and use them as a chance to learn and deepen your personal experience.
  • Say yes to travel and working in other countries and industries – take yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Choose a firm that is the best cultural fit for you, it is a people business and it starts with the people you work with.
  • Make sure your employer will help you to develop professionally and understands your need for personal development.
  • Trust your own moral compass and look for a firm that does the best for the client, one that continues to add value in all its work and stays only where they are needed.
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