- Jessica Chen
Part 2: Joining the 180 Degrees Consulting Executive Team
By Hamish McLean
With executive recruitment coming up, it's a perfect time to demystify each of the executive roles. As I soon found out, hidden behind each of the executive portfolios is a busy schedule aimed at improving the lives of 180DCers and advancing the interests of the overall club. In a succession of Zoom calls, I sat down with our Director of Consulting, our Director of Events, our Director of Marketing and finally our Director of People and Culture, asking each about their 180DC legacy and what’s next for their role.
Director of Consulting - Calum McConville
Cal started his 180DC journey as a team leader and after a successful project, sought to become more involved in the club as the new Director of Consulting. What drew him to the Club was his interest in serving NFPs as part of a consulting role. However, he noted that what motivated him to continue through the club is the community: “the people that get involved with 180 are really like minded people… and that’s really infectious.”
Discussing his Director of Consulting role, he broadly defined his function as “ensuring the club produces great outcomes for our clients.” As he quickly elaborated, this is achieved through a number of formal and informal strategies: from coffee catch-ups to mid-cycle presentations. All of these are designed to ensure that each engagement is on track and each consultant feels confident in their work.
With the new recruitment season coming up, he reflected that the main challenge of the role is meeting the expectations of the club. With such a competitive application process, everyone wants to make 180DC the best it can be and you’re always surrounded by very high performing people. Looking forward, he still sees room for improvement. The Melbourne Branch has been gradually increasing the number of projects it takes on and this growth will need to be managed in a sustainable way. Equally, the Club is constantly producing a number of insights for clients and these, he suggests, could be captured as part of a broader IP database to assist future projects.
Director of Events - Adon Ewing
Adon is one of the few Med students amongst us who decided that studying one of the University's most demanding courses wasn’t quite enough. Serving as a Team Leader for a Semester, Adon then took on the newly established Director of Events role. As part of his legacy, he sought to achieve two aims. First, continue to raise 180DC’s campus profile through interesting and engaging events. Second, engage with the broader student community outside of 180DC consultants and team leaders.
Reflecting on his performance, Adon remarked that the switch to a virtual campus brought a number of challenges. However, the club was able to quickly pivot its engagement strategy and in fact the online transition made time for the launch of the Club’s new publications team.
As part of his role, he’s found the Executive-Buddy system to be most personally rewarding. For him, the Executive position provided great insight into the higher level operations of the club. Yet, the buddy system has kept him in touch with the direct work and purpose of the organisation - in fact it’s been rewarding to mentor one of his former consultants as they transition to the team leader role.
Looking forward, Adon similarly predicted a number of growth areas in his portfolio. He envisioned a larger publication team with well developed thought leadership pieces. Similarly, he floated the idea of stronger cross-club collaboration and continued growth in the number of joint events run during the University term.
Director of Marketing - Jess Chen
Jess is the current 180DC Director of Marketing - a newly established portfolio that was once combined with the Events role. Working closely with Adon, Jess seeks to promote the activities of the branch through a number of social media channels.
As Jess explained, the role provides the platform to take charge of the entire vertical workflow. Her main objective has been to develop a consistent 180DC brand that is instantly recognisable regardless of the social platform. From Facebook to LinkedIn, the Director of Marketing position is in charge of generating University-wide interest in the activities of the club.
What she recognises as her legacy is being able to run targeted promotions to maximise the reach of the branch. After experimenting with different post-types, she’s been able to target the promotion to match the objectives of the particular event. Similar to Adon, she envisages a number of advancements in her portfolio for the future Executives to work on. Again, she sees the development of a 180DC publication as a new means to organically attract interest in the club. As Jess suggests, this could expand to include open submissions from the wider University community.
Closing out on our discussion, Jess articulated the value of belonging to such a high-performing Executive team. First is the opportunity to understand the higher level operations of running a NFP consulting club. This means working on attracting suitable clients and recruiting high calibre consultants. Second, is the opportunity to brainstorm an idea and run with it. Being part of the Executive means having the flexibility to implement any Club wide improvements you may envisage. With the support of such a committed team, the 180DC Executive is the perfect platform to realise a meaningful impact.
Director of People and Culture - Jamie Waters
Finally, Jamie is currently a Masters of Management student focusing on HR, and so she is a very fitting Director of People and Culture. As she explained, her role is split into two main components. At the start of each semester she defines the selection criteria for new consultants and works on constructing teams with complementary skills. Throughout the semester on the culture side of the role, she works to ensure that members are engaged and enjoying their time with 180.
She reflected that the recruitment season is one of the most demanding couple of weeks for her role and this means that the portfolio really requires being able to prioritise and balance a number of different tasks. Despite this busy period, she was able to successfully incorporate a new personality questionnaire into the recruitment process, allowing the Executives to match complementary portfolios when selecting each project team.
Given the unusual year, one of the major challenges of her role has been maintaining engagement despite having to pivot to an online-only experience. However, through the use of tools such as Slack, she has been able to support a number of interest groups within the broader branch community. As she suggested, building upon this online community is a core area for her portfolio’s development and she envisaged the potential for interest group specific events once in-person meetings can resume (read: 180 pub crawl inbound).
Overall, as part of her value proposition of taking on such an important role, she noted that 180 is truly a group of passionate and dedicated individuals. This means that talking to members of the branch each day is actually really inspiring and it's encouraging to work with a group of such supportive people. For those looking to apply, she suggested brainstorming a number of new ideas for the portfolio and using those as talking points for the application process.
If you’re interested in applying for any of the Executive positions, each member is more than happy for you to reach out to them with any questions.
Jeffrey Xia, President:
Will Henderson, Vice-President:
Natasha Kennedy-Read, Partnerships Director:
Calum McConville, Consulting Director:
Jessica Chen, Marketing Director:
Adon Ewing, Events Director:
Jamie Waters, People and Culture Director: