Chicago GM Carrie Steyer talks about scaling one of Slalom's largest offices, driving breakthrough impact for clients, and wearing your Chicago pride on your sleeve.
You're a long-time Chicagoan. What do you love about the city?
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 makes the Chicago business community unique?
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.
As you think about the next five or ten years here in the Chicago market, what are you most excited about?
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.
We’re also so excited to be the Official Advisory and Consulting Services Partner of the Chicago Cubs, a storied organization in our community. This means a lot to me, not only because I’m a lifelong Cubs fan, but because the Cubs mean so much to the city. Together, we’re going to have an amazing impact, not only on their organization but on our neighbors, fans, and employees.
What have you been hearing from clients lately? Any overarching themes or emerging trends?
Top of mind for our clients is finding and retaining talent, so they can build strong teams and set their organizations up for success in the future. They're also looking to create value with the modern and emerging technology that allows them to transform how they deliver impact for their clients. 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.
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 our AWS | Slalom Launch Centers, where we'll work even more closely with our clients to drive accelerated transformation.
Slalom Chicago is growing fast. How will we continue to enrich our culture as we get bigger?
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?
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.
How do you envision Slalom's promise to "love your future" evolving as we grow?
What's love got to do with it? I think it's everything. Our promise has evolved into the vision to help everybody "love their work and their life." This is what makes us different than most organizations. The statement is not just for our people, but for our clients, our partners, and our communities. We continue to make progress on this vision—and I believe how that shows up as we grow will continue to evolve, and still remain a constant vision.
What’s your favorite Slalom core value and why?
My favorite Slalom core value is “Do what is right, always,” 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.