Women Worth Watching 2015
EY Principal Helps Companies Achieve Healthy Business Transformation Outcomes
Kristen Vennum is a principal in Ernst & Young LLP’s Advisory Services, Performance Improvement–Customer practice, specializing in the health care sector globally. Kristen helps companies achieve profitable growth through business transformation efforts focused on acquiring, developing, and retaining valuable customer relationships. She has extensive experience in customer strategy development, customer experience design and execution, sales and marketing effectiveness, customer-focused process improvement, and the people and organizational change components that support successful business transformation outcomes.
Kristen currently serves as EY’s Global Client Service Partner for a Fortune 100 global health service company.
“Every person, thing, and moment matter.”
“Going from a small consulting company in my hometown to joining EY as a direct admit partner—and then taking on the leadership role of Global Client Service Partner—was a big career leap,” said Kristen. “I thought this large, global firm would overwhelm me, but instead, I was so warmly welcomed and within a few months, EY felt like home. I was able to turn around and offer the same kindness to the next person joining EY. As I look forward to serving global clients in bigger and better ways, I take this experience with me and look forward to helping others feel at home and welcomed, so we can spend our energy worrying about our clients’ problems, instead of about fitting in.”
Kristen speaks at industry conferences on the transformation occurring in the health care industry, and has been published in Forbes, Managed Healthcare Executive, Becker’s Hospital CFO, and CRM Magazine. Her customer transformation work was recognized in an independent case study by Kennedy Information as leading edge for strategy and operations consulting, as clients “grow more with less.” In 2009, she was recognized as one of Consulting Magazine’s “Women Leaders in Consulting.”
In 2015, Kristen and her team coordinated EY’s nationwide support of the March of Dimes Foundation’s March for Babies. She also supports several charities focused on the LGBT community.
Education: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, University of Florida; MBA, Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College
First Job: Landscape Architect
What I’m Reading: Arianna Huffington’s “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder”
Words I live by: Every person, thing, and moment matter.
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
… a clear purpose. Leading from intentionality instead of leading from ego brings meaning to our work and depth to our relationships.
The career advice I’d give my former self:
Always ask for help! I spent the first part of my career attempting to do everything on my own. My career skyrocketed the moment I started asking for help. I was able to deliver better results, with less personal stress. I’m blessed to have a sponsor and many mentors and I consult with them frequently when facing complex decisions. Enroll people in your success by asking them for help!
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
I would make time for joy, creativity and fun. I split the beginning of my career between working intense long hours and completing an evening MBA program. The decade after, I focused on advancing within the corporate ranks. The turning point for me was realizing that working hard could be synonymous with having fun. Sometimes it is okay to choose fun over a bit of extra work, because it makes me a better executive when I return to the office.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…I make sure to be physically present, especially where the important decisions are taking place, even if it is halfway around the world.
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
My biggest career leap was going from a small consulting company in my hometown to joining EY as a direct admit partner and then taking on the leadership role of Global Client Service Partner. I thought this large, global firm would overwhelm me, but instead, I was so warmly welcomed and within a few months, EY felt like home. I was able to turn around and offer the same kindness to the next person joining EY. As I look forward to serving global clients in bigger and better ways, I take this experience with me and look forward to helping others feel at home and welcomed, so we can spend our energy worrying about our clients’ problems, instead of about fitting in.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
Being a woman in my profession has been a responsibility I take seriously. I have received incredible professional support throughout my career and it came with the challenge to take my seat at the table and pay it forward to the next generation of women leaders.
I’ve learned that failure is…
I’ve learned that failure is incredibly important. A great big face plant can be a terrific learning experience. Surround yourself with leaders who support you when you fail, give you space to learn from your mistakes, and help you turn failures into longer-term successes.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
I maintain a healthy personal life by realizing that my energy is my most important resource. I have learned which healthy practices replenish and rebalance me and make them a daily priority.
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when I was a little girl. I’ve always loved solving problems, working with people, learning new things and thinking creatively. I just didn’t know it was called “consulting” until I was much older!