Employee Appreciation Day Q&A

Just in time for Employee Appreciation Day (March 6), we sat down with North Highlanders to discuss some of their proudest moments at work and in their communities.

  • Blake Koch (Manager, Minneapolis)
  • Amy Lyster (Associate Vice President, Houston)
  • Elizabeth Lloyd (Principal, Portland)
  • Patti Siegel (Associate Vice President, Atlanta)
  • John Fraser (Lead Business Analyst, Washington, D.C.)
  • Chelsey Dudash (Principal, St. Louis)

Q: What is one thing you are proud of outside of work?

Blake: While marrying my amazing wife is my greatest achievement, an easy second is how awesome my dog Millie is. I have the most photogenic hound dog in the world – anyone on our Pets channel in Microsoft Teams can attest!

Amy: Our teenagers, and what interesting, challenging, thoughtful, and independent humans they have become, and are still becoming.

Elizabeth: I am proud of my family. This may sound strange, but they are just all amazing humans. When I look across my 11 nieces and nephews, 10 siblings, two parents, and one amazing husband, I just have so much respect for them all. I’m proud that we all work to get along, respect, and love each other.

Patti: My family—my husband is a noted photographer whose work “About the South” is now in the collections of 14 museums and he also has two books. My son is an actor who, after eight years in NYC, has relocated back home to Atlanta, making his mother very happy.  

John: My family. They keep me grounded and energized daily. You think I have energy? Meet my two boys (Mason and Micah) – they give my wife and I a run for our money. Recently, I coached my oldest son’s basketball team, and watching the kids learn to trust each other and become leaders was beautiful to witness. 

Chelsey: I’m very proud of my new five-month-old son—watching him learn and grow each day is such a pleasure and my new role as his mama has given me a completely different perspective. I’m proud of learning how to balance a career I’m passionate about with prioritizing the family my husband and I are building.

Q: What are you passionate about?

Blake: I’ve always loved being outside. I’m at my best while camping, hiking, or getting lost on a bicycle with friends or family. I’m much more excited about the many nights I slept under the stars last year than the frequent flier miles I earned!

Amy: Working with others to help meet a need – specifically supporting the homeless to be fully integrated in our communities.

Elizabeth: I love learning about other people, their lives, their passions. I think that is why I love North Highland – our product is people! We help our clients (people) solve tough problems.

Patti: I’m passionate about the arts. I serve on the Board of Trustees for Theatrical Outfit, Atlanta’s second oldest professional theatre company built on the site of the old Herren’s restaurant in downtown Atlanta. It was the first restaurant to voluntarily desegregate and that permeates the values of the theatre company, which is important to me.

John: I’m passionate about my career, and all things Business Analysis. Through my career, I have also developed a passion of seeing my colleagues have success growing into leaders within the firm. I become re-energized at every opportunity I’m afforded to collaborate with great people across the US and the UK.

Chelsey: Cooking (and eating)! I’m obsessed with eating, cooking and baking delicious food. If you look at my Instagram feed, and the accounts I follow, it’s mostly food-related accounts —bloggers, critics, restaurants and chefs. Well, now my feed is about 80 percent my son and 20 percent food, but it used to be 95 percent about the food I was either making and/or eating.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment in your North Highland career?

Blake: I’ll always remember leading my first customer-centric transformation engagement. Despite a challenging and dynamic client environment, our team delivered incredible work and learned a lot through the process.

Amy: All accomplishments are team-based, and the team accomplishment I am most proud of is how we work in our global client teams. We work seamlessly across our North Highland capabilities, time zones, geographies, clients and personalities. With our disparate expertise and experience, we collaborate with each other and with our clients to bring and deliver the most innovative and valuable solutions.

Elizabeth: Taking one of our client websites live. It was a huge go-live with a lot of moving parts. It was exhausting but so rewarding to see all the pieces come together and all the people that worked together to make it happen.

Patti: My favorite day at North Highland so far was when I had the opportunity to meet two of the founders of the firm during orientation. It was incredibly special. It’s rare to get a chance to hear how an organization was founded and to hear the “why.”

John: Over the past two years with the firm, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great people. I will highlight two things that instantly come to mind. First, being selected to take part in our firm’s Success Makers leadership development program in 2019. Second, helping with efforts to build camaraderie with my colleagues as we build an enviable culture together.

Chelsey: Helping to grow and cultivate the St. Louis office over the past five years. When I started with North Highland, the office had no more than 10 consultants. We have seen a great deal of change over the last five years. It has been a privilege working alongside such dedicated and talented consultants, both in St. Louis and from around the firm, as we have grown the market and the portfolio of business we support today.

Q: What has been your most memorable moment at North Highland?

Blake: Most of those moments come from connecting with colleagues in different parts of our firm. If I had to choose, it might be wrapping up our first CX boot camp. Completing such an intense and rewarding training felt great!

Elizabeth: I’m torn between two moments. The first was participating in a colleague’s flash-mob proposal (along with 50 other people) during a work event was epic. The second was coming home for the last time from Boston, exhausted, emotional, and not knowing how the transition was going to go – seeing my team waiting for me (with the hubby) at the airport with flowers, signs and cucumbers. Amazing.

John: Winning the 2019 Day of Giving Back contest against NYC, Houston, Tallahassee and Philadelphia! Winning offices in four categories shared in a grand total of $20,000 to be donated to a charity of their choice aligned with economic empowerment. We donated our share to developing three college scholarships and then assisted with updating an elementary school in Washington D.C. which serves a sizeable low-income community.

Chelsey: Taking on the Client Lead role for the first time. That initial feeling of pressure taking on that responsibility is fresh in my mind and I used that feeling as motivation when dealing with challenges in those first few weeks and months. It was daunting and in retrospect, the experience taught me more about our business and myself than any other experience I’ve had at North Highland.