In our Centered on Your Success blog series, get to know our experts and how they measure success for clients. In this installment, meet Natalie Bullock.
What’s your story?
I’ve always had a heart for adventure and helping the underdog. Growing up, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. At some point, I pivoted and decided I wanted to be a bush pilot taking supplies to missionaries in remote places around the world.
In the course of pursuing that, I decided to instead focus on education as a way to help people in remote areas and ended up working in US public schools as well as overseas teaching English literature and English as a second language to seventh – 12th graders in international schools.
I made a major career switch in 2015 when I left K-12 education and went into business. What’s intriguing is to see the parallels between planning and executing on lessons for an English class and project management. Or the parallels between classroom management with high schoolers and working with diverse teams at a client. Nothing has been wasted in my path to this point in life.
I am currently a Manager in our Cincinnati and Louisville People and Change Practice. I stumbled into Centric in 2015 after participating in a case competition Centric sponsored at the University of Cincinnati while I was getting my MBA. I joke (although it’s true) that I didn’t even know consulting was a career until Centric offered me an internship.
Why did you decide to become part of your field?
Becoming part of our People and Change practice was not so much a decision as a series of events that led to this field. While working as a project manager on my first client with Centric, I was asked to lead a change management workstream for one of our projects. This was new to me, but I liked it and soon moved to a full-time change management project for a different client.
I quickly realized I enjoyed working on the people side of delivery work because of the more direct, positive impact you can have on people’s lives. I am encouraged and delighted each time I can walk beside someone going through change and help them traverse some of the hardest times in their career.
How are you working to guide your clients to success right now?
The work we do here inherently creates change for companies. Whether it’s building out a new data strategy, implementing a new technology solution, executing on a major project or helping the client navigate the aftermath of a merger, there will be change involved. In my role, I can come alongside any of the work we are doing and provide support, so the client has a greater chance of immediate success and long-term sustainability.
What does the success of your clients mean to you?
The success of our clients is the reason we come to work each day. We show up not to do an OK job but to provide an absolutely unmatched experience. My client’s success means I did my job well and provided a valuable service to them during a time that they were in need. When our clients are successful, then their employees and clients are successful, which benefits the entire community. We are all in this together.
What, in your opinion, do companies need the most help with right now?
With the rise of hybrid and remote work, employers are trying to find the right solutions to fight the war for talent. While many companies are willing to make the move to a hybrid work model, the normalization of remote workforces has given job seekers the opportunity to work for companies across the world without uprooting their families and leaving their existing support systems behind. Because of this, employers need help finding ways to attract and retain talent who have more options available to them than ever before.
What do you think they should be thinking about next?
The pandemic opened up entirely new ways of thinking and operating. And for better or for worse, we will likely never go back to the good ol’ days of 2019. So, as we continue to open up post-COVID in the United States and return to normal in some ways, it’s important we don’t focus our efforts on “getting back to normal” as much as redefining what we want normal to be. We have an unprecedented opportunity to redefine what we want our work to look like. Companies need to take advantage of this and design their future rather than try to return to what worked before.
What are you looking forward to in your industry?
I think more and more companies are viewing change management as a necessity rather than a nice-to-have. I look forward to seeing the people and change industry grow and more companies realize sustained change through properly applied change tactics.
What piece of advice keeps you passionate and purposeful?
Growing up, my dad always asked me when I got home from school if I was a friend to those who didn’t have friends. The expectation was that I was always on the lookout for someone who seemed lonely. That mentality has stuck with me into adulthood, and I am on the lookout for those who need encouragement and a kind word. It also means I bring 100 percent to the client every day because I want to ensure they know I am in their corner, and they can trust me to get things done. I want to make each person’s day better than it was before they interacted with me. You never know what your colleague or your client is going through, and you could be the reason they have hope that day.
What do you do when you’re not guiding clients?
The bulk of my time outside of work is spent mentoring and discipling young women from high school to recent college grads who want to grow in their walk with Jesus. I have a passion for pouring into these women to help them see they are created in the image of God and have intrinsic value. I wouldn’t be where I am today if people had not invested in me. I also love to run (training for a marathon right now, though after my last one, I promised myself I’d never do that again!), travel (running races internationally is my new tactic to fit everything in!), garden (minus the raccoons and groundhogs), do home construction or renovation projects (YouTube is my friend), and generally spend time outdoors in the sun.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Cincinnati?
I really enjoy being downtown or in Northern, KY, trying out restaurants my foodie friends recommend, walking across the Purple People Bridge and along the Ohio River, taking in the details of the architecture around the city, or going for an early morning run before the city wakes up. If you’re in Cincinnati, you have to check out the truly stunning murals painted all over downtown, try goetta (it’s delicious!), and hike around Devou park to catch the beautiful Cincinnati skyline.