In honor of Women’s History Month, we are recognizing the contributions of the master multi-tasker, Sharlene Evans. Sharlene, Chief People Officer of Myrtle Consulting Group, is also a Director on the Auburn University Foundation Board, a member of the Auburn University Office of Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Council, and a mentor to many.

How would you describe your role as Chief People Officer?

I have both an internal and external focus; I am responsible for our internal people processes to support our employees. Externally, I lead the team responsible for the development and delivery of the people and organization capabilities and service offerings that we provide to our clients.

What do you like about your role?

My role allows me the unique opportunity to impact both our firm and our clients. I love that I can help ensure that we continue to attract great people and to provide them an opportunity for growth in a culture that reinforces our values. On top of that, I get the chance to continue my love of working with clients to assist them in addressing the people and organization levers required to achieve their business objectives and to drive and sustain transformational change.

 What is the most rewarding client experience you have had while working at Myrtle Consulting?

I am currently in the midst of an exciting client experience. We are helping a client who has recently completed a merger integration to transform their combined global manufacturing organization by improving their processes, driving consistency, and building a robust platform for continued growth. Through this effort, we are also helping them to leverage these improvements to capture tangible results to improve their bottom line.

My role in leading the development and implementation of a standard organization structure across all the company’s manufacturing sites globally is a significant responsibility because of the broad impact that it will have on their organization and their people. Through this engagement, I also have the opportunity to see first-hand our values in action through the hard work, dedication, and incredible focus on our client by our people.  There is nothing better than to do great work with great people whom you genuinely enjoy being with.

What in your career are you most proud of?

Throughout my years in consulting, I am very proud of all the relationships I have built and the impact I have left on the people I have mentored and worked with. There has been no better phone call than the one that says, “Hey, I have gotten a promotion, and your suggestions have made a huge difference in my life.”

What challenges have you faced as a woman in consulting?

I think the challenges that I have faced as a woman in consulting are much the same as those faced by women in many professions.  For me, the core focus has always been to work hard, demonstrate my capabilities, and operate with professionalism. On top of that, I think women still have to overcome challenges to get the level of respect and recognition that we often deserve; a key challenge is having our voices heard. There is nothing more frustrating than to present an idea or make a point that is not recognized until it is said by someone else as an example.  My advice to other women is to move beyond your comfort zone and find the voice that you need to advocate for yourself and for your ideas.  Consulting has been a very rewarding career for me, and I am very grateful for both the personal and professional growth that I have experienced.

What is your suggestion to women pursuing a career in consulting?

I think it’s important to understand that a career in consulting is more like adopting a lifestyle than a job. Coordination and taking one day at a time can help you balance it all. I firmly believe in the mantra – Go with the flow. One thing I would like to advise everyone in consulting is – Come in, be flexible, and be open to learn and grow.

Tell us something interesting about you!

I am an avid supporter of my undergraduate alma mater, Auburn University. In addition to being an enthusiastic supporter of Auburn sports, I enjoy serving Auburn as a Director on the Auburn University Foundation Board, and as a member of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Council. Serving Auburn reenergizes me and allows me to leverage my professional skillsets in a different way, pass along some of the insights that I have gained along the way, but mostly to as way to have an impact in an area that means a lot to me—that is education. When not at work or spending my time at Auburn, I love spending time with friends and family, traveling, shopping, or just enjoying walks on the beach. Being close to the beach is one of the best things about living in Jacksonville, FL.