Honoring Our Heroes this Veterans Day (and Every Day)
On a day when we honor our veterans, we want to take the opportunity to highlight those within ScottMadden who have served and continue to serve our nation.
We have the privilege to work among America’s veterans, each bringing with them a unique perspective and discipline from their time of service. They bring a wealth of experience and a global outlook that is undeniable.
Our veteran employees understand the dynamics of leadership, teamwork, efficiency, and accountability. Their awareness and understanding of these key principles translates to their work with clients and the firm. It is what sets them apart.
When we recruit new consultants and staff, we consider their values, integrity, and principles. We will not compromise on these qualities. We measure our success by our clients’ success, and we put their needs first, every time. When they work with us, they know that they are going to work with genuine people who have integrity, tenacity, and a genuine passion for the work. Our veterans help us to achieve this mission, bringing forward their versatility developed from experience during their military service.
David Israel Mendez
David Israel Mendez joined ScottMadden in 2015 as an associate after completing his MBA at Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Within the firm, David is a member of the supply chain, human resources, and regulatory communities of practice. Outside of ScottMadden, David is a member of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and High Museum Young Professionals.
David recalls his top work experience thus far. “I worked with the World Bank Group where, for the most part, I was the only consultant on site. It provided me the opportunity to learn and grow as a consultant in a quick timeframe. It also afforded me the opportunity to connect with the client and become part of their team, all while delivering on their expectations.”
What is David passionate about? Traveling and history. “I enjoy going to new places—immersing myself in cultures as the locals do and standing where famous history figures once stood. I like the concept of being ‘lost’ in a place where I am completely unfamiliar. It’s scary and intimidating, yet there is a beauty in those moments. I see the same connection in consulting. Sometimes you are stretched beyond your comfort zone.”
It’s easy to see where David’s passion for travel stems from. David explains, “I moved away from home (Guatemala) when I was eight years old. Since then, I have lived in six states and three countries. I have picked cherries and apples in Washington State, frozen on a fishing boat in the Gulf of Alaska, served my country in the Middle East, studied abroad in China and Israel, and now work for ScottMadden in the Atlanta office.”
David continues, “My ultimate dream job is be to be a writer for Lonely Planet or Frommer’s travel books. I love traveling and journaling, so why not combine the two? I’d also like to become a history teacher at a local high school, teaching about places I’ve visited and connecting the history of those places to today.”
While he cannot pinpoint his best piece of advice, here are a few principles that have shaped him into the person he is today—all thanks to his mother. “These foundational life reminders guide me both personally and professionally, keeping me grounded,” said David.
- Always be on time
- Your word is your honor. Therefore when you say something, do it
- Do not be afraid to love God, others, and yourself
- Live life
- Treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of their status
So, what’s next for David? More traveling, of course. Up next is Croatia.
Kate Breen joined ScottMadden in 2011, fresh out of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and has been a valued team member ever since. She initially joined as an associate and quickly progressed to manager gaining experience in finance and HR shared services along the way. From brief assessments to lengthier implementations, Kate has expanded her breadth of knowledge while also fulfilling her deep-seated interest in working with others to make clients shine.
“I was drawn to our firm because of the people,” said Kate. “I knew I wanted to be a consultant, yet I also wanted to work with people who challenge and support me, respect their clients, and actually enjoy their jobs and each other.” Working with ScottMadden enhances her natural tendency to encourage both individual and team professional growth and also satisfies her desire to work collaboratively in teams.
When asked what she likes to do in her spare time Kate replied, “I really enjoy Broadway. Each year, I see several shows—including some repeats. Broadway performers often say that each show is different based largely on the audience and how the cast responds to its reaction. Experiencing it first-hand is powerful. Audiences laugh when they’re not supposed to or they fall asleep and don’t give any response. As in consulting—where even the most researched and well-laid plans must be adjusted, often on the spot during presentations or when clients present unexpected challenges—live theater embraces the unexpected and favors those with strong senses of humor and improvisational skills.”
Consulting also allows Kate to travel often, bringing her closer to another passion—aviation. “There’s such a great team effort required to get someone and her bags from point A to B,” Kate explained. “Without everyone working together, both airline employees and travelers alike, a flight can really get off track. Quick and effective communication is vital to a successful flight and I enjoy observing others’ skills, or lack thereof, in stressful situations. Communication is a compulsory skill of the job at ScottMadden and we strive to improve our methods and tailor delivery to the specific person to whom we’re speaking. There’s always more to learn from each other.”
Kate continued, “The innate nature of our jobs and the requisite travel provides countless learning opportunities, both professional and personal. I’ve been sorted by the Harry Potter sorting hat, seen A- to D-listers on the streets of Los Angeles, and am looking forward to experiencing my first winter in sub-zero temperatures!”
And her best piece of advice? Her mother’s words, “It’s nice to be nice.” Kate explains, “When you’re younger, you repeat the phrase because that’s what you’ve been told. Then one day it finally clicks and you experience the joy that you feel when you’re nice to others and it’s reciprocated or simply acknowledged with a smile or a laugh. It also may result in a “paid-forward” biscuit from Bojangles’ and that’s a nice bonus as well.”
Freedom David joined ScottMadden in 2014 after completing her MBA at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School with honors. She received the Entrepreneurship Award, the Organization and Management Faculty Award, and the Core Value Award in Integrity. She initially joined as an associate, but later progressed to her current role as senior associate. Within the firm, she serves on the Sustainability tower in the Clean Tech & Sustainability practice, contributing to the Clean Tech & Sustainability Minute, acting as overall coordinator, and participating in a knowledge management power-user group.
“The thing I love most about ScottMadden is the client-focused approach. It is all about helping the client,” said Freedom. “Nothing lights me up more than seeing how my work has helped a client—from something as simple as teaching them an Excel shortcut that saves them hours of work to presenting data in such a way that makes it easier for the client to make a complex and difficult decision. As consultants, we often have to recommend solutions that require change within the client organization. Most people often have mixed emotions about change. Part of our role as consultants is to be a safe space for them to share concerns and frustrations, so they can ultimately move beyond the change curve. It’s neat to see your encouragement support them through the process.”
Outside of ScottMadden, Freedom enjoys cooking, fishing, reading, baking, and decorating cakes. She even makes things from scratch such as ice cream and pasta. “Developing something from nothing and being hands-on is something I enjoy,” said Freedom. “I like taking things from inception to implementation, even in my spare time. One thing I love about cooking is seeing other people enjoy my work. I see the same connection in consulting. When I can produce tangible results for clients, I feel fulfilled and nourished (pun intended).”
Freedom is a unique name with a bold backstory. She was born in the Philippines during the time of the Marcos dictatorship. People who spoke against the regime were persecuted. Her father was one of those detained for his views. As activists fighting this tyranny, Freedom’s parents felt that it was a fitting name for their daughter.
And her best piece of advice? It comes from her mother: “Whatever you choose to spend your time on, do it to the best of your ability.” Freedom explains, “Although sometimes hard to follow, especially when you have very limited time to accomplish every task and need to prioritize, this piece of advice has been useful in every aspect of my life, especially professionally. It’s about pride in your output. I hold myself to a certain standard. Even without external factors, I try to produce the best output that I can. It’s time you’re spending. Don’t let it be wasted.”
Titilayo “Titi” Ellis joined ScottMadden in September 2014 as a marketing strategist. This was a new position at the firm and she quickly jumped in to develop a robust marketing plan for the coming year. Since the completion of the planning process, she has been leading key marketing initiatives for the firm and interfacing with ScottMadden’s practice areas and communities of practice to guide and support these groups with their marketing strategies. Titi shared, “Working at ScottMadden has given me the opportunity to work with people who have a deep understanding and vested interest in their client’s needs. It’s great to see partners, directors, and managers alike all working toward one common goal, and that is the long-term success of their client’s businesses.”
Outside of work, Titi is currently pursuing her M.B.A., which makes for a very busy schedule. As a result, the last book she read was “The Manager’s Guide to Statistics” – just some light reading in the evenings! In addition, Titi is a certified SCRUM Master and is certified in the Product Management Fast Track approach.
Prior to joining ScottMadden, Titi lived in Washington, D.C. and was the director of product marketing & strategy at The Chronicle for Higher Education. While in D.C., she enjoyed jogging and exercising and has a favorite six-mile run across the Wilson Bridge near the National Harbor. Even though she has relocated to Raleigh, she makes frequent trips to D.C. to visit family and friends. Titi brings a lot of creativity to the firm and some of this may have stemmed from a musical background. Titi grew up surrounded by music and musicians. She listens to a wide array of music from classical to Latin jazz to R&B. “One of my favorite things to do is go to shows with live musicians and see the magic that takes place between artist and audience. No matter the genre—it’s an awesome thing to witness,” said Titi.
Titi has quickly immersed herself in firm activities and taken part in various firm and office events. She particularly enjoyed volunteering with her colleagues and family members this fall as ScottMadden worked with Trees Across Raleigh to plant 52 trees at a new Raleigh Boys & Girls Club facility.
“Having Titi join our team has made a big impact in the firm’s strategic marketing capabilities. She has been able to get up to speed quickly across a diverse set of practice area needs and marketing activities and make an immediate impact,” shared Karen Hilton, partner in charge of marketing at ScottMadden.
What’s next? Titi looks forward to completing her M.B.A. and hopes to travel to Italy one day. In the meantime, she will be continuing to advance ScottMadden through her marketing expertise.
Sri Krishnan, an associate at ScottMadden, joined the firm in December 2016 after receiving an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Previous to ScottMadden, Sri had quite the journey—from immigrating to the United States and later joining the military to attending business school and becoming an F-15E flight instructor.
In the Business of Serving
In hopes of providing better opportunities and education, Sri’s parents moved the family to the United States from India when he was 10 years old. They arrived in New Jersey, the place he calls “home.”
His career in the Air Force started upon his high school graduation, in California, when he was awarded the Air Force ROTC scholarship to attend Georgia Tech. Upon graduation from the Aerospace Engineering program, he was selected to attend a Joint Flight Training program with the United States Navy. Sri completed the 18-month program where he was selected to fly the very prestigious F-15E strike fighter jet. Sri was tasked to the Middle East and the Pacific Theatre on multiple deployments.
Sri then transitioned to a new role in the Air Force, serving as an instructor. This position allowed him to teach new aircrew how to fly F-15Es in its myriad missions. In 2012, he married his wife and three years later, they welcomed a beautiful daughter. After 10 years of active duty, and wanting to decrease time away from home, Sri became a full-time reservist. With his new-found “extra time,” he graduated from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and quickly joined the ScottMadden team. “I could not have accomplished any of this without the support of my family, especially my wife who has been a rock star,” he says.
TOP FLYBY: 9/11 Memorial
Although he has many memorable experiences while flying and serving his country, the most pronounced remains flying over the U.S. Open during a September 11th weekend—an event which called him into service. “It was a very emotional experience to fly in an F-15E 1,000 ft. above the Hudson River on that weekend,” he recalls.
What’s Sri up to Today?
Sri remains a Traditional Reservist serving in the Air Force, ready to serve his country. Sri explains, “Wearing a uniform and serving is truly a humbling experience.” When asked what keeps him in the military, he says, “I came for the jet, but stayed for the people. Similarly, with ScottMadden, I came for the consulting, but stayed for the people.”
When he’s not working, Sri enjoys playing tennis, running with his wife, spending time with his daughter, and traveling both by air and under water. Sri has more than 550 scuba dives from the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Red Sea. Sri also enjoys partnering with Habitat for Humanity for local volunteer work. He routinely takes part in community work as another outlet to serve. Sri explains, “Giving back is a critical part of growing—it grounds you and provides a good perspective on life.”
The Data Guru
Min Qin joined ScottMadden in March 2014, following completion of her graduate degree in economics at North Carolina State University. She supports ScottMadden’s Corporate & Shared Services practice area and is an involved member of the firm’s human capital management, finance and accounting, supply chain, and tech communities of practice. With a deep interest in data analytics, Min has become the resident expert—hence her nickname: “the Data Guru.” Due to her invaluable skills and contributions to ScottMadden, Min was recently awarded Support Staff MVP during the firm’s annual meeting. It was certainly well deserved!
The Outdoor Enthusiast
Following her undergraduate studies in economics and political science, Min left her home in central China to attend graduate school at North Carolina State University. Coming from such a densely populated country, she immediately noticed America’s abundance of space and quickly developed a great appreciation for the environment. Since her 2012 arrival, Min has visited the Great Smokey Mountains, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Arches—camping and hiking along the way. And, fun fact: Min’s visit to North Carolina’s Outer Banks was her first time to ever see the ocean or beach. As part of her day-to-day routine, Min enjoys jogging around the lakes in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and dog.
The Global Traveler
As a child, Min traveled with her parents to many provinces within China. Even at a young age, Min was fascinated by the cultural differences among regions and countries. Min recalls her father’s advice, “You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery. Always remain respectful and appreciative of all the differences and similarities you might encounter along the journey.” She traveled outside of China for the first time in college. This trip to Russia set in motion Min’s desire to see the world. Since this trip, she has visited New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Canada. Her newfound goal is to travel outside the United States each year, alternating between China, where her family still lives, and a new country. Soon, she will be choosing a new place to visit in 2018. Perhaps, this vacation will include bungee jumping, as Min has been twice before!
The Ultimate Animal Lover
Min’s animal family includes a golden retriever, a cat, and 11 tropical fish—all rescued near her home in Raleigh. Yes, this even includes the tropical fish! Anyone who knows Min knows how deeply she loves her dog, Pipi. Pipi is Chinese for “very, very bad dog,” a fitting name for anyone who’s heard the stories of Pipi swallowing a sewing needle or being attacked by a squirrel. Pipi was even flown to China to partake in Min and her husband’s wedding ceremony. Min’s cat, Mellow, was introduced into the home to pacify this crazy pup and the fish to entertain Mellow. Today, Pipi is just as “bad,” Mellow is staying amused, and the fish are keeping their flippers strong.
Min serves as a great reminder to go about life with a sense of adventure and humility. We should all be so lucky to live out this attitude. The sky’s the limit for this one!