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BCG Alumnae’s Voices of Empowerment


Welcome to International Women’s Day 2024! This is an opportunity to celebrate and honor the voices of BCG alumnae and the diverse paths they have taken to help shape today’s BCG—and continue to push boundaries in their paths beyond the firm. This year’s theme, “Inspiring Inclusion,” resonates deeply with the ethos of empowerment and diversity that defines the BCG community.

We had the privilege of engaging with a handful of remarkable BCG alumnae from around the globe who shared their profound wisdom and memorable experiences, embodying the spirit of inclusion and resilience. Join us in celebrating not only their achievements but also their commitment to fostering inclusivity and equity in the workplace and beyond.

Who is a woman who has been a role model or mentor in your career and in what ways did they shape your approach to leadership?

Sandy Moose has been with me since my first year as a consultant at BCG, and now as an alumna too, giving me guidance on things like how to be a great board member. Sandy has taught me so much and has given me bite-sized leadership advice constantly throughout my career. I’d like to share some of my favorite tips from her.

She always reinforced the importance of spending time outside with clients in the market and not over-invest in internal processes. In the end, both are important but as a young partner it was important advice for me to always keep the external perspective.

A key rule I imbibed from her has been “no typos, even in footnotes.” It’s a reminder of the professionalism and perfection in what we deliver to clients. As a young consultant, she reminded me that each slide was worth X number of dollars to the client—and she was a master at catching these typos too.

I learned to take control of my calendar. Time is the most precious resource we must manage. Ruthless discipline needs to be practiced on where you need to be, with whom, and for how long. Make sure to make time for life, and not just work.

Another key lesson was to always “call out the moose on the table” (funny, given her last name!), but a reminder to speak up, and speak the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable. That’s the perspective we should always bring to every leadership setting to move things aggressively forward.

We’ve all heard her interview story with Bruce Henderson. Upon reflection, how bold it was to debate, using a black board, on the fundamentals of business economics. That boldness and braveness has been inked in my mind: to debate with passion and facts as you know them.”

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Miki Tsusaka
President, Microsoft Japan
CVP, Microsoft Corp
BCG New York & Tokyo, 1984-1986, 1988-2023

Anita Zaidi is a pediatrician, a mother, and the President of the Gender Equality division at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In many corners of global health where you see a woman in charge and thriving, she seems to have had a hand in helping that person get there. She showed me the power of having a very wide circle of care and defying the normal ‘this or that’ kind of thinking. She cares about big ambition and ruthless prioritization. She cares about overarching strategies and detailed execution. She leads with both heart and head. She’s comfortable being vulnerable while also taking a lot of risks.”

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Janet Zhou
Director, Foundation Strategy Office and Director, Gender Impact Accelerators
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
BCG San Francisco, 2006-2013

At BCG, I was lucky to work as a consultant and project leader with Christine Barton as a partner. She inspired creativity in her teams and also led with a high-quality bar. Most importantly, she did this while also holding herself accountable and always being prepared. The ‘shadow of a leader’ is important, by role modelling what you want to see in the team.

At my previous role at Yum! Brands, I was given an opportunity to take on a VP Finance & Strategy role working for Melissa Lora. At that point, I’d had no experience with Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) or Franchise Finance. Melissa was great in believing in young talent, knowing that curious leaders would rise to the occasion. She gave me an opportunity and took a risk. I have done this many times as a leader, where I believe in someone and know they can figure out a new role. It’s so gratifying to see the risk pay off.”

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Liz Williams
Chief Executive Officer
El Pollo Loco
BCG Dallas, 2004–2010

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What is the best piece of advice you have ever received that you’d like to share with other women?

One of my very early bosses at BCG spoke to me about leading with compassion. By leading with empathy and kindness, you create and foster a culture of support within your team and organization. I believe that compassionate leaders will understand the need to create an environment where staff feel valued, and most importantly, they understand that they are people first before they are staff. I’ve seen over my years in HR that compassion and kindness lead to better staff retention, improving job satisfaction and creating a happier and more motivated workforce. I’ve now been with Blackstone for almost 17 years and really value the quality and commitment to this in our leadership team. I valued this approach from my time at BCG as well.”

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Anna Mignot
Managing Director, Head of Human Resources for EMEA
BCG London, 1999–2006

The best advice that I have received is, ‘You cannot do it alone.’ What is great about this advice is that there are built-in support systems within every professional space that I have had the privilege of being a part of—some more structured than others. Nonetheless, it is my responsibility to recognize these structures and utilize them to the best of my ability. Yet, somehow this is an area where I can still get stuck in tunnel vision and be so determined to lean on my own strengths instead of sharing the load and asking for help. I am grateful to God for constantly reminding me of this truth in my daily life and placing people around me to support my journey of growth and remind me that I don’t need to do it alone and that, in fact, I cannot do it alone.”

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Thembelihle Nyembe
Allan Gray Orbis Foundation
BCG Johannesburg, 2020–2021

It was at Christine Lagarde's Davos dinner: Dress, Address, Redress.
Dress: First impressions matter, especially, as you are in the minority in a room. How you take care of yourself and make your presence known is an indication of how important the setting is;
Address: Work never speaks for itself – you do – so, you must be clear and convincing in whatever comes out of you to a group; and
Redress: YOU are responsible to ensure that we move forward fully and inclusively, by making sure you let the small voices be heard in the room, and leaning in to insist on inclusivity, thereby do your part as a female leader. There is no choice here.”

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Miki Tsusaka
President, Microsoft Japan
CVP, Microsoft Corp
BCG New York & Tokyo, 1984-1986, 1988-2023

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What are some learnings you gained from your time at BCG that have been beneficial in your career and/or personal life?

Two of my biggest learnings from BCG are communication and storytelling. Communicating with your teams, clients, and stakeholders in a way that lands with them will amplify your impact. Relatedly, storytelling is the process of going from data to insight and ultimately enabling action. Strong communication and storytelling can be the difference between a good presentation and an engagement that ends up having long-lasting client impact.”

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Chidinma Asonye
S by Serena
BCG New York, 2013–2015

There are so many learnings I gained while at BCG: the urge to never lose sight of the bigger picture, the importance of remaining curious and never stop learning, and resilience to keep pushing until the problem is solved. But I would say that what stood out more to me after leaving BCG—maybe because I hadn’t thought of it before—are the tools to navigate uncertainty, having confidence in the process to arrive at the solution, even if you don’t have a clear answer going in or the context is a changing one.”

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Marta Calvo
Chief Strategy Officer
Vida Security
BCG Santiago, 2011–2021

Most of my learning is about people. With the right team, you can do almost anything you aspire to do. Be it in my personal life or in professional career, whatever I want to do, I must have the right team and partners. So invest in people and relationships. The people I’m surrounding myself with will help me grow beyond my imagination. I was very fortunate to be colleague with many nice, kind, smart people within BCG and in my professional and personal life. I can’t be thankful enough.”

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Tuyet Vu
Advisor, Vertex Ventures SE Asia & India
Senior Advisor to Minister of Planning & Investment, Vietnam National Innovation Center
BCG Ho Chi Minh City, 2013-2019

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This year’s International Women’s Day theme focuses on inspiring inclusion. What are some ways you support, encourage, and/or contribute to inclusivity and equity in your workplace?

I encourage inclusivity by visibly allowing my team’s strengths to show up and celebrating the diversity of my team. When someone joins the team, they participate in StrengthFinders and DiSC assessments (both are visibly mapped on a team board so that everyone can see our strengths and styles covering the map). Then, when they introduce themselves, they share their strengths and one story about a time they were able to use a strength. The team asks questions and celebrates their joining. My goal is to build a team that feels psychologically safe with each other and free to share ideas, building on one another. Freedom to share your ideas, thoughts, and to know they will be respected and valued is inclusivity to me.”

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Amber Murayi
Vice President, Strategy
The Hershey Company
BCG Chicago, 2013–2017

There is incredible work happening to drive equity and inclusivity within the corporate workplace, but I also think thoughtful actions can be so meaningful. For example, ensuring we give space and opportunities for everyone to lean in and have their voices and perspectives heard every day. Advocating strongly for folks from all backgrounds and cultures for recognition, promotion, and career opportunities and highlighting the work and accomplishments that can sometimes go unnoticed or overlooked. And of course, always being accessible, open and willing to listen and be a sounding board in progressing continued inclusion and equity.”

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Hannah Mara
Head of Food & Beverage
BCG Washington DC, 2012–2013

I currently help lead Maisha Meds, an African health care technology company. We are a diverse team of engineers, strategists, operators, and data scientists—diverse along more dimensions than anywhere else I have worked—led by an exceptional CEO who has built an innovative, impactful, and inclusive culture. I deeply admire her. Inspiring inclusion does not look like trying to prove that you are the most important person in the room (you probably are not); rather, it looks like listening to what people are saying and not saying, it looks like cultural and situational awareness, and it looks like debating openly and then committing as a team.”

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Sisi Pan
Chief Strategy Officer
Maisha Meds
BCG Brooklyn, 2016–2023

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