Rising star of the profession
Michelle Dennen awarded Consulting Magazine’s Rising Star of the Profession recognition
March 6, 2015
Consulting Magazine’s annual Rising Star awards, given to 35 consultants under the age of 35, recognize motivated young professionals who are changing the face of the consulting industry.
This year, Michelle Dennen, client service partner in our San Francisco market, took home a Rising Star award in the Retail category.
The award is a testament to Dennen’s leadership potential—in the retail sector and beyond.
“She’s very much the epitome of a leader,” said Ron Synn, managing director in retail for Slalom San Francisco and Silicon Valley. “She always looks for opportunities to help lead.”
Though she’s “wickedly smart and hard working,” Synn attributes Dennen’s success to her ability to form genuine, meaningful relationships with clients and colleagues alike.
Dennen echoes that people-first approach.
“I’ve never really thought of myself as a sales person,” said Dennen. “Selling and growing our accounts has been all about helping people, connecting people, and listening to people. Relationships are the foundation of sales for me.”
Dennen loves the tangible nature of the retail industry.
“There’s something so great about knowing how I’m moving the needle on the back end and the way that can delight customers on the front end,” said Dennen.
Synn applauds Dennen’s eagerness to stay relevant in her field, supplementing her natural curiosity with industry events, conferences, and educational opportunities.
“I continue to learn and grow on the job,” said Dennen. “Retailers are always trying to keep pace with customers, so the landscape of retail is constantly changing, which keeps me on my toes.”
Dennen also plays a leadership role in Slalom San Francisco’s Women's Leadership Network (WLN).
She’s been pleased to see the group evolve into an organization that’s part education, part mentorship and coaching, and part networking.
She and other WLN leaders are helping to foster relationship building through informal “circles”—small, member-driven networking groups that allow women to find common themes to support each other professionally and personally.
Synn recognizes Dennen’s ability to marry the traditional consulting model with newer, creative methods.
“She’s someone who understands what’s made consulting successful to date, but who’s also open and willing to take chances,” Synn said.
When asked about her generation, Dennen replied within the context of the retail industry.
“We’re changing things up. Game changing and disruptive technologies and innovation—I would use all of those words as associated with my generation,” Dennen said. “We’re essentially changing the face of commerce.”
Focus on the future
Dennen has grown up with Slalom. During her six plus years with the company, she’s advanced from a consultant to a range of leadership positions in the San Francisco market. Most recently, Dennen was promoted to client service partner.
“She’s living proof of that Slalom experience,” Synn said.
Synn believes that Dennen will continue to grow her impact on Slalom’s retail practice.
“Beyond that, she could do whatever she wants,” said Synn. “She has so many opportunities in front of her, it’s really going to come down to what she has the most passion for.”