Spotlight: Erin Smith, interviewed by Kristy Jordan.

Q: What brought you to Jabian?

I was interested in growing and didn’t see the direction I wanted to pursue at my previous job. In search of a change of scenery, I heard about Jabian through a previous project I had worked on. Having met with people on the project (Taylor, Todd, Kristy, Jen, Ashley) and meeting more in the Atlanta area (Jeff, Ariel), I experienced a very warm and welcoming feeling. Ultimately, it was the recruiting social that sealed the deal. I was on the fence before the event but having met so many super cool people I knew where my next step should be. 

Q: What level were you when you started at Jabian and what was your career progression?

I joined as a senior manager and knew that I wanted to understand Jabian’s culture and how to survive/thrive here. The transition has been a journey and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Sometimes I needed people to push me to step outside my comfort zone which served as a catalyst for the next step in my career. When I first joined, I was more reserved and somewhat timid. I credit the boost in my career to good mentors along the way pushing and challenging me and highlighting the skills I already have. I enjoy client work and delivering value for my clients. 

Q: Were there any life events that affected your career journey?

Before Jabian I loved living in Washington D.C. and was comfortable, but I eventually wanted to buy a house in Atlanta to be closer to family. I knew I needed to be here and enjoy the moments with them. However, that also put me on the road for traveling. Traveling started to wear on me, which sparked an interest in local consulting companies. 

Q: Are there meaningful people, moments, or advice that have influenced your experience at Jabian?

So many people at Jabian have pushed me out of my comfort zone, putting me in rooms and places where I wouldn’t have gotten without a Jabian colleague making it happen. To name a few instances:

  • Amber Baird lit a fire under me, “just do it!” She was one of the first people that I met that knew how to celebrate people and motivate them, make their voices heard.   
  • Dan Gordon made introductions that I would never have had, invited me to events with people there that you read about in the news, and highlighted me in an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle celebrating him. 
  • Kristy Jordan was my career developer and opened ideas for me to consider which I hadn’t previously thought about.
  • Many Jabian people have served as a better, truer mirror of who I really am and can be. They got me “unstuck” and took a custom approach to find unique ways that I could blossom as a consultant. 

Q: Is there any relevant generational history to highlight?

Growing up, both of my parents instilled in me the importance of knowing where I came from and hearing the stories of those around me. My dad was in the military, so we moved around a lot, which exposed me to many different people and cultures. Moving to DC and going to an HBCU really opened me to a whole new world of diverse cultures. I am naturally passionate about the DEI work I support today because I’ve always yearned to know more about the people I’ve met and how I can bring different people together.

Spotlight: Courtney Ramey, interviewed by Kristy Jordan.

Q: What brought you to Jabian?

I was at my previous employer when Brian Betkowski and I were neighbors. We had dinner several times and eventually I met Chris Reinking and Nigel Zelcer during that time. The Partners espoused the importance of building and fostering long-term relationships which brought me to Jabian. 

Q: What level were you when you started at Jabian and what was your career progression?

When I first joined, the highest-level role was a director role (two years in ATL), then three years as executive director in Atlanta, transitioned to Charlotte for eight years, and I am currently the OED. 

Q: Were there any life events that affected your career journey?

I got married a few years before joining Jabian and had two kids. There was an opportunity for Jabian to expand into Charlotte which created an opportunity for me to lead an office (a new challenge at the time!) and be closer to my alma mater (University of North Carolina) and family.

Q: Are there moments when someone helped you navigate the male-majority field of consulting that come to mind?

I stayed in touch with a former client throughout the years. The relationship evolved from a client-consultant solutioning basis into a mentoring relationship. My mentor had a lot of experience navigating a male-dominated field. Since college, I have always been in the minority, therefore I developed some skills in working with everyone and found joy in working to everyone’s strengths. I highly recommend The Confidence Code book for professional women at all levels of their career (now and re-read later). 

Q: Are there meaningful people, moments, or advice that have influenced your experience at Jabian?


  • Steve Cashwell was a great mentor in ATL and especially his “circles of influence” point. 
  • David Hand and the platinum rule – really focusing on treating others the way they want to be treated from a client perspective and a team-based dynamic. 
  • Fred Jewell – The Engagement Model & his book – he articulates all dimensions people think about every day and when encountering change. It is the ultimate “Swiss army knife”. 
  • Jenni Crenshaw – early on at Jabian there wasn’t a defined BD process or tool. I asked whether it would be perceived as overstepping to the proposed one. Jenni reiterated the importance of me proposing and leading the improvement. One of the reasons people join Jabian is to make an impact on the firm. These are the type of people Jabian hires – ones that make a difference.       

Q: Any relevant generational history to highlight?

My mother was a non-profit director and music teacher, a very different career progression than what I was pursuing out of college. Other women in my family were in traditional nursing and teaching jobs, and I was the first woman in my direct family that worked outside the teaching profession. I recall a college roommate whose mother and father were both CEOs so there was a bit of a head-start to understanding how business works. Ultimately, everyone has their own squiggly path or perhaps a more direct straight-line path throughout their career. I emphasize the importance of enjoying your unique career path, growing from the ups and downs, and making the career fulfilling. It is key to find your personal purpose and how it aligns with your work and life, something I learned from a leadership training program many years ago. My purpose is “to illuminate, connect, and grow to strengthen communities.”

Spotlight: Brittany Christian, interviewed by Alex Daly.

Q: When did you join Jabian and what brought you here?

I joined Jabian in late 2018. I primarily joined Jabian for the opportunity to improve my work-life balance, but more specifically to be more connected with the community in DFW, in particular Fort Worth, a city I’m very passionate about. Jabian gave me a greater opportunity to live an integrated life between my work, my family, and my community through our local market focus.

Q: How has Jabian helped you to grow as a leader in consulting?

I wanted to do really exciting consulting work, partner directly with our clients, and manage the life/community balance I wanted. I didn’t want to have to shift to an internal role to find this balance. During the past three years, I’ve also had more opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone in consulting, learn and stretch my skillset, and “color outside the lines” a bit more than I previously had. I’ve become more comfortable with ambiguity, and with helping my project teams to embrace the same, encouraging people to try new things.

We don’t have to be constrained at Jabian by the past or what exists today. We have a strong foundation and 15 years of firm experience, but our growth potential is limitless, and it’s exciting that we can all help define where we want our office to go and what we want our roles to be.

Q: You’re very passionate about the city of Fort Worth and expanding Jabian’s presence across the DFW metroplex. What does that look like for you?

Absolutely. I do enjoy having the opportunity and support from my fellow leaders to build up clients and accounts across the metroplex. The most important thing is identifying accounts that are aligned to our growth profile and office objectives while continuing to diversify our pipeline – but if we can also do this while finding clients that are more geographically distributed where our team members live and engage in the local community, then that’s even better.

Q: Are there any life events that affected your journey in Consulting?

I actually lost my father in 2015 while I was with my previous employer, and this really changed my perspective on the relative importance of work vs family, and how I define that balance in my life. A fulfilling career is obviously important to me, but it doesn’t define me.

Q: How do you manage the demands as a Consulting leader with two young children at home?

It’s hard, there are no two ways about it. But having a clear perspective on your core values and priorities is critical. There’s certainly still more to be done in consulting as an industry to better support women, and we all continue to learn on this journey.

One thing I appreciate at Jabian is the ability to create the flexibility that each of us needs in our life. When I joined, another senior female leader in the firm (Courtney Ramey) encouraged me to be very intentional in defining this balance and very discerning about how I spend my time. So as one small example, while networking is critical to our success, I rarely commit to evening events or 1-to-1 dinners, because that’s my time with my family. I instead focus my networking time on breakfast or lunch meetings and really consider those best points of leverage that connect my personal passions, my relationships, and our opportunities for growth.

Q: Tell us a bit about what the mission of Girls Inc means to you, and how that community involvement is a key part of your career with Jabian?

The mission of Girls Inc is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. This really inspired me the first time I heard it, and I continue to love seeing people’s faces light up when I describe the mission.

Nobody gets where they are on their own, and people have certainly invested in me throughout my education and career. This is an opportunity to help girls who may otherwise not have the same level of opportunity and exposure and are at risk of falling behind simply because of the location and/or circumstances where they’re born.

Jabian has really brought the talent of our team and firm-wide support to make a huge impact with Girls Inc of Tarrant County in the past few years, and now we’re also connecting some of our key clients to develop new programs and initiatives for girls in our community. It’s exciting to combine my client consulting work at Jabian with my community passion to really multiply our impact in this way.

Spotlight: Stephanie Noland, interviewed by Vibhesh Patel.

Q: What brought you to Jabian?

After 13 years with my previous employer, I took the opportunity to join Jabian just as the Chicago office was opening – I wanted to be a part of building a team and spending more time focused on my local market.

Q: What level were you when you started and what has your career progression looked like? 

I joined the Chicago office as a director back in February 2019 when it was just Dan Hickey and me. I had an opportunity to grow the office by headcount and develop careers, establish new client relationships, and launch multiple new accounts. Fostering those client relationships has led my path to become an account director.

Q: Were there any life events that affected your journey?

My growing family was a consideration in my career path and decision to join Jabian. At that time, my son was 18 months old, and my daughter was three and a half years old. Those were busy and precious times that I didn’t want to miss by traveling three to four days a week.

Q: Are there moments when someone helped you navigate the male-majority field of consulting that come to mind?

As a female in management consulting, I’ve run across multiple barriers and biases based on my gender such as people assuming I was the team member instead of the team leader, my skillset being diminished because it was assumed I couldn’t succeed in the boys’ club that is often “senior corporate leadership”, and seeing work preference assumptions placed on me or other female working mothers instead of asking us what we wanted. I’ve had to speak up in a variety of these moments to make sure my voice, and those of women in my teams, are heard. It can be exhausting but I’m a relatively lucky one; when you add intersectionality to the mix, the weight they bare is even heavier – that is why we must continue to break the bias.    

Q: Are there any meaningful people, moments, or advice that have influenced your experience at Jabian?

Someone that I admire is Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision here in Chicago. I met her during a brainstorming session with a group of senior women in tech where we were figuring out solutions to increase the number of women on corporate boards. She runs a successful tech company that wins numerous workplace awards, and she shares her expertise abundantly with startups and organizations through her board leadership. She is a shining example of someone paying it forward to create positive momentum in the lives of many and someone I met through Jabian-related involvement. As I seek opportunities to share my own expertise through non-profit board leadership, she is always in the back of my mind!