My Team Consulting Project Experience, Part Three: Calah McQuarters

Calah McQuarters, MBA/MPP '24

October 17, 2023

Calah McQuartersHappy Fall! As the weather begins to chill and the leaves start to change colors, I am joyfully reminded of my early days in Waltham just over a year ago. It is strange how much life can change in a year and how much it can stay the same. As I reflect on my growth over the past year, I can certainly attribute much of it to my experiences at Heller. And now that I’m staying an extra year (that’s a story for another day), I am even more excited to reflect again a year from now and see new areas of growth. Wherever you are and whatever the weather may be, take a moment today to reflect and recognize how far you have come over the past year, few months, or even week. And just know, I’m proud of you. ;)

Hard pivot!

Today, I am going to wrap up my series on the Team Consulting Project. We’ve talked about the project selection and team forming process and how the HOMIES approached and completed the work of the project. But how did it all come together? Each TCP team was tasked with giving a formal presentation and submitting a final report. It was our opportunity to showcase the work we put in over the summer and give our client concrete steps for how to move forward with implementing our recommendations. Now, let me pause and say I have given a number of presentations and written a number of reports while at Heller, but none have quite been this stressful. Fitting 3 months worth of work into a 30 minute presentation is not easy. But! It does force you to get to what I like to call the “so what?”. While putting our presentation together, there were a number of times our group had to take a step back and really ask why we were including certain pieces of information or highlighting processes instead of results and vice versa. Crafting the presentation sharpened our ability to recognize relevant data for relevant audiences and communicate key takeaway messages effectively. I highlight what we learned from creating the presentation rather than the act presenting itself intentionally. While both are important, presenting becomes much easier when you are purposeful in the design process. Fortunately, our work paid off. August 17th at approximately 9 AM the HOMIES successfully delivered our presentation to a very happy client who unexpectedly shed some happy tears (and he wasn’t the only one)! But the work was not done. Our final task was our final report.

Work for the final report was a bit different from the presentation. Instead of consolidating, we needed to expand. The report is meant to detail out each thought, process, and decision, to give our client a comprehensive understanding of our work. It serves as a manual that anyone could pick up and begin to implement. Side note: this is where detailed note taking comes in handy! From personal experience, it can be very difficult to remember what decisions you made three months ago, let alone your reasoning as to why. Thankfully, each team member kept a detailed trail of the work they’d done and we only needed to fill in a few holes!

August 21st at approximately 8:15 AM we submitted all of our materials signaling the end of the longest summer in my life. As I said at the beginning of this post, I can attribute much of my growth to experiences I’ve had at Heller and TCP is one of them. The hard and soft skills, friendships, and professional relationships gained from TCP are things I know I will be using well into my career and I am hopeful about the future of affordable housing in New Bedford.