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Q&A with Kelly Adkisson: General Manager, Charlotte

Headshot of Kelly Adkisson

Kelly Adkisson is general manager of Slalom’s Charlotte office. She spoke with us about her vision for one of Slalom’s fastest growing markets and about the importance of being bold and taking risks.

Tell us about your professional background.

Before joining Slalom, I spent 16 years at Accenture in the financial services industry. I started as an analyst in the Atlanta office coming out of Furman University, and then moved to Charlotte in 2006.

Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many of the large national and regional banks in North America. I’ve driven initiatives spanning strategy, operational change, technology implementation, and digital innovation. I developed a specialized focus on retail lending and led the overall credit practice for North America, which included mortgage, consumer lending, and commercial credit. I also served in key account leadership roles within Accenture’s banking practice.

I’m passionate about inclusion and diversity in the workplace and was actively involved in Accenture’s diversity initiatives. I ran the Women’s Employee Resource Group in Charlotte for many years and was our leadership sponsor for our local International Women’s Day event.

What attracted you to Slalom?

I wasn't actually looking for a career change when I initially began the conversation with Slalom about the opportunity in Charlotte. However, the chance to build something locally that allowed me to exercise some entrepreneurial muscles within the context of a proven and growing company was appealing.

I also saw first-hand that Slalom puts people first, and that mattered to me. I could see that “love your future” was more than a motto—it’s embodied in everything Slalom does.

Finally, I’m excited about the opportunity to work locally and make an impact on the Charlotte community.

Why is Charlotte key to Slalom’s growth?

Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. and a top-three banking hub. I see it as a critical component to continuing to build out the financial services capabilities for Slalom. Beyond financial services, there is significant diversity of industry in Charlotte—one of the components of this opportunity that excites me the most—including manufacturing, healthcare, utilities, and consumer services.

Many companies are choosing to grow in Charlotte; it’s a popular Southeast hub for corporate and sub-division headquarters.

What kind of impact do you see Slalom having on the Charlotte market?

I’m excited to bring all the capabilities of a full-service consulting firm through a local delivery model. By living and working alongside our clients, we can create a different level of partnership and intimacy in those relationships.

We also have a Slalom Build Center in Charlotte. Slalom Build Centers are locally based engineering hubs where we rapidly create modern technology products alongside our clients. Slalom Build is a key differentiator for Slalom, and I’m excited  to show our Charlotte-based clients how to use Build to unlock their full business potential.

Are there specific types of projects or industries you’ll be pursuing this year?

Slalom will be involved in a range of projects and industries in Charlotte. I anticipate building out our capabilities across high-demand areas, like data and analytics, organizational effectiveness, experience design, and technology enablement. We’ll work across the diverse range of industries that thrive in Charlotte. 

What’s one key trend that’s impacting banks right now?

For a number of years following the 2008 financial crisis, banks were focused on regulatory compliance, safety, and soundness. While that’s still a priority for the C-suite, we’ve seen a shift over the past couple of years to a more transformative, digitally focused strategic agenda. Consumers now expect their financial products to be delivered in the same way they get a product or service from Amazon, Apple, or Facebook. Banks have recognized the need to meet consumers where they are and are investing in designing and creating experiences that enable them to compete more effectively for consumer wallet share.

There’s also tremendous pressure on many of the banks to drive down their efficiency ratios to more sustainable and competitive levels. Banks will continue to invest in opportunities that reduce operating costs while delivering competitive products and services. Unlocking the benefits of the cloud and new technologies—including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and open-banking enrollment through APIs—will be critical to achieving those objectives. And Slalom is the perfect partner to help.

What are the qualities you’re looking for as you’re building your team?

It’s important to me that we build a team of A-level talent with deep industry and functional expertise from the onset of our launch.  I am focused on versatility, looking for team members who can apply deep skills to a variety of industries. Specifically, I’m looking for capabilities within organizational effectiveness, data and analytics, and technology delivery. I’m also looking for team players that want to collaborate and engage in the Slalom office and Charlotte community.

Any favorite tips or life hacks for balancing parenthood with a demanding career?

There are so many life hacks required for managing a demanding career with small kids at home. I do everything via online ordering and delivery. Groceries, dry cleaning, household items, clothing, gifts—you name it, it gets delivered. That way we can focus our downtime on family and friends instead of running errands. I honestly don’t know how people managed life before Amazon Prime.

I’m also big on prioritizing time to exercise. It’s a significant stress relief and makes me feel healthy overall. I enjoy taking the time to run or go to a barre or cycle class—even if that requires an early morning wakeup.

Do you have a mantra or favorite quote?

I’m not big on quotes, but I thought about this concept a lot as I embarked on this new adventure with Slalom: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” from Wayne Gretzky. Leaving Accenture after a long, successful career with the company was not an easy decision, but I felt confident that Slalom was the shot worth taking.

Let’s solve together.