Chicago GMs Ali Minnick and Carrie Steyer talk about partnering to scale one of Slalom's largest offices, driving breakthrough impact for clients, and wearing your Chicago pride on your sleeve.
What do you each admire most about the other as a leader?
Carrie: Ali sees the best in everyone, and her belief in people helps bring out their true potential. Her creativity and willingness to push the boundaries inspire me to see what's possible for all of us. I could not be more excited to partner with her as we lead one of Slalom’s largest markets.
Ali: I learn something new from and about Carrie every day. What I admire most is Carrie’s courage. She is never afraid to challenge anyone or anything in the pursuit of ‘better.’ I’m so grateful to partner with her moving forward as I know we will challenge each other in pursuit of bigger and better impacts for our people, clients, and communities.
As you think about the next five or ten years here in the Chicago market, what are you most excited about?
Ali: Breakthrough impact. The passion and talent of our team is unbelievable. The impact we're going to make across Chicagoland with our clients, partners, and community will grow exponentially in the next 10 years.
Because we work where we live, we have the opportunity to become an even bigger part of the fabric of our hometown. Our people are passionate about youth education, health, and wellness in our community, so our first focus will be to drive system-level change for Chicago's disconnected youth.
What have you been hearing from clients lately? Any overarching themes or emerging trends?
Carrie: Top of mind for our clients is creating value with the modern and emerging technology that allows them to transform how they deliver impact for their clients. There is also growing importance for our clients to attract, grow, and retain talent that can be a catalyst for their transformation and growth. And almost every client we talk to is exploring how data and information could be an asset, and how they enable their entire organization to utilize that asset for impact.
Ali: We want to address those needs today, and we also have big plans for breakthrough impacts with our clients. Our clients are concerned with growth, financial performance, stakeholder expectations, being relevant tomorrow, risk, and competing efficiently. For them, having breakthrough impact means bringing solutions that accelerate their most important outcomes—and getting real results.
Over the next 10 years, in partnership with our clients, we're committed to driving a ‘billion dollar bump’ in our clients’ businesses—meaning one billion dollars of positive impact to our clients’ business per year. You can also expect to see us continue investing in more innovative and immersive approaches like the recent AWS | Slalom Launch Center partnership, where we'll work even more closely with our clients to drive accelerated transformation.
What makes the Chicago business community unique?
Carrie: So many things. Chicago is a global hub for business, home to both Chicago-based enterprises and over 1,800 globally based companies. Those Chicago-based companies have a strong presence abroad, too, with more than 8,000 locations in 170 countries. And the talent pool in Chicago is unrivaled thanks to our outstanding educational institutions.
Slalom Chicago is growing fast. How will we continue to enrich our culture as we get bigger?
Ali: When I joined Slalom nine years ago, our Chicago office had about 240 people. The best way to describe it is that it felt like getting to go play with Legos and build amazing things with your friends or what many of us here call our Slalom family.
As we continue to grow, we’ve been talking about how to maintain our 'soul with scale.' We want to unlock the same pride within each Slalom team member so they feel empowered to create a future where they can see themselves. We look forward to a future built by each and every Slalom Chicago family member.
What does it take to build a diverse and inclusive team?
Carrie: Our plan is to welcome 300+ new team members this year alone. We're committed to creating an inclusive environment where everyone is inspired and empowered to make their unique impact. It’s not just about growing our team in the next decade but growing the diversity of our team. We live in a richly diverse community and know that a more diverse team is a stronger team. We're committed to achieving diversity that is representative of the Chicagoland population.
Ali, you’ve spoken before about how Slalom’s promise to “love your future” resonates with you. How do you imagine that vision of “love” evolving as we grow?
Ali: What’s love got to do with it? I think it’s everything!
I know it sounds surprising to talk about “love” at work—but, honestly, I don’t think we're talking about it enough. If we rethought every process, every interaction, every decision, and asked ourselves, “What would ‘love’ look like here?” we would undoubtedly change lives.
What if, when people retire from Slalom, they become mentors to our consultants? What if our alumni were as engaged as the day they left? I want our communities to look to us to lead system-level changes and our partners to help us redefine what’s possible, together.
Carrie, you are a long-time Chicagoan. What do you love about the city?
Carrie: I moved to Chicago when I was four years old, and it has always been home to me. After a short 15-year stint in southern California, we returned to Sweet Home Chicago to join Slalom and raise my kids (Nate and Jazzy) in the Midwest close to family.
Chicago is a unique for a lot of reasons—the amazing food, bluest waters outside of the Caribbean (even though much colder), incredible art, and Chicago Pride. True Chicagoans wear their pride on their sleeves—sometimes even with a tattoo of the city flag!
What’s your favorite Slalom core value and why?
Ali: That’s an easy one: "Do what is right, always.” It's profoundly simple and yet incredibly powerful.
Carrie: My favorite Slalom core value is “Do what is right, always” too, followed closely by “Stay humble and curious.” When I'm curious and ask questions to learn more, seeking others’ input and perspective, the right thing to do becomes clear.