Heather McGlinn Hansma, SVP, Wells Fargo Virtual Channels
As the Head of Strategy Development and Planning for Wells Fargo’s Virtual Channels (over 26 million customers and 5 billion interactions annually), Heather leads corporate strategy and strategic planning for the consumer, small business, internet, mobile, social, and contact center teams. Responsible for breakthrough strategies to deliver the next stage of financial services, she has over 12 years of innovation-focused experience in the financial services industry. Heather holds both an MBA in Business and an A.B. in Economics from Harvard where she currently serves as an advisor to the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs at the university’s Innovation Lab. Heather started her career as a consultant at Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman) in Washington, DC and then in San Francisco.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career path since you left Oliver Wyman.
I am currently a Senior Vice President and head of strategic planning for the Virtual Channels Group (online, mobile, social, and contact center for consumer and small business) at Wells Fargo. I joined Wells Fargo after I left Mercer/Oliver Wyman and, while I have been here for over 10 years, I’ve held a variety of positions. I started when the internet group was pretty new so my role was an “everything” role in marketing, product management, technology, and strategy. Over time, as the importance of Wells Fargo and virtual channels grew, I found a lot of opportunities for new challenges and roles. I am also a mom to two wonderful girls, 8 and 5. They are eager to grow up and follow in my husband’s and my footsteps and “attend a lot meetings” which is what they primarily think we do.
How is what you’re doing now similar to what you did at Oliver Wyman? How is it different?
One of the reasons I left consulting was the fact that a lot of what I worked on never got implemented. So, while much the work I do at Wells Fargo is similar to what I did as a consultant, it’s different in that most of my time is spent on getting strategies implemented. I think I am so much better at strategy development now I understand the complexity of implementation. I also get to see the results and, honestly, since I am also a customer of Wells Fargo, I get to enjoy the new products and services.
What skills did you acquire at Oliver Wyman that have helped you throughout your career?
Honestly, it is the PowerPoint/presentation skills. My mom was a writer and she liked to quote that good writing is good thinking. In the strategy world, good PowerPoint is good strategy.
What was one of your most important experiences at Oliver Wyman?
I can’t say that I have one most important experience at Oliver Wyman. I think I had a few of the rites of passage: building a large model (my macro skills have since declined); doing project work in adverse conditions- no internet, no heat or no color printer for 60 miles; and working on a large project with 15+ consultants (project for Nations Bank in Charlotte and I still stay at the Marriot there for my current work).I will say that I found consulting interesting in that it can be the tales of two projects: great projects you never want to end and bad projects that you pray will end.
What do you miss most about being at Oliver Wyman?
The key to a great experience is great people. And I worked with a lot of great people at Oliver Wyman. I often run into folks I worked with and I'm always happy to chat and catch up. Sometimes we even get the opportunity to work together again, which is the best.
What are you reading?
I actually just finished reading "The Mathematics of Love" by Hannah Fry. I would recommend it to others, especially those who are highly analytical and like applying models to the real world (which I think describes a lot of consultants and former consultants).
What advice do you have for former and/or current consultants and staff?
I would suggest having a great skill set and hiring yourself for life strategies like work/life balance, finding the right place to live, figuring out what job is the right one for you, and how to negotiate for whatever these things turn out to be. While a lawyer who works for himself has a fool for a client, a consultant who hires himself/herself finally gets the dream client he/she always wanted.