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Opportunities
The Work Inside

Lorrie-Nicole Wellington brings the Oliver Wyman
way with her wherever she goes —
and learns something new
about our world at every stop.

Lorrie-Nicole

Lorrie-Nicole Wellington describes herself as a quick study, and she arrived at Oliver Wyman in 2012 with a world of skills. By then she had earned a BS in Human Development and Bio-behavioral Health from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA in Financial Management and e-Commerce from Iona College. She’d had five years’ experience in sales and was a Certified Paralegal. Lorrie-Nicole started at Oliver Wyman in New York as a Team Assistant and was promoted within a year. Everywhere she looked she saw more that she could do.

I always had a passion for training and coaching, so when the local training coordinator role became available, I applied. I didn’t get it the first time because I was still too junior, but the opportunity presented itself again in three months. By that time I had proven that I was a fast learner and would be good at training the team on the new streamlined departmental processes. I also decided to take on co-chairing our racial and ethnicity diversity employee resource group (ERG) because I wanted to contribute to the firm that I felt so passionate about.

Lorrie-Nicole began spreading best practices to Oliver Wyman offices in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. She had become what corporate culture experts call a “values carrier.” It wasn’t obvious at first, but she was about to go global. Oliver Wyman needed a trainer in a new office in Warsaw.

There was a certain intrigue for me to “be a part from the start.” I truly love my job and Oliver Wyman, so what better way to pass that on to a new group than by helping to mold their new office culture. Not to mention that it would be a great learning opportunity for me. So I decided, “Why Not?”

Warsaw was a brand new office. It had no legacy people in any department, so not only did colleagues need training on the processes but also on the Oliver Wyman culture. In other offices we have colleagues who have been at Oliver Wyman for a long time who shape the understanding of what we do and how we work. That was missing in Warsaw. So we introduced activities modeled on other offices, like offsite events, summer and holiday parties. We introduced the idea of presentations during happy hours, which have been hugely successful in other offices, so people could hear about different departments and other offices. Not surprisingly, they’re interested in what other offices do so they don’t feel isolated.

As a Support Professional, Lorrie-Nicole’s world is the work inside Oliver Wyman — how we do it and how we work with one another. Every office she visits teaches her something that she can bring to the next. One insight: The Oliver Wyman spirit is forged by individual moments of connection.

Through my work with the diversity ERG, I met a support professional who worked near a consultant for about three months on and off. When the consultant spoke at a Lunch and Learn, he had a British accent. The woman who’d sat next to him all that time had no idea he was from the UK! So that started the “getting to know you” lunches where we’d team up random people who didn’t have the opportunity to work together on a normal basis. We’d send them out to lunch and had each person answer questions from a list that were personal in nature to get to know each other.

Lorrie-Nicole’s parents are from the West Indies and she grew up in Bronx, New York: “Caribbean by practice and American by passport.” The family traveled a lot and exposed Lorrie-Nicole to many cultures; at Oliver Wyman Lorrie-Nicole has keen antennae for how the diversity conversation changes from office to office.

In the US, it’s about racial and ethnic diversity. In Europe, it’s more about cultural diversity. Race is still very uncomfortable for a lot of people to speak about. It takes a little time to get people to understand why this is something we should talk about. Working at Oliver Wyman means bringing your whole self to work and not feeling you have to change to fit in. Not only is it okay to be an apple amongst oranges, but you also want to see that fruit flag being waved.

When we caught up with Lorrie-Nicole Wellington for this article she was in Dubai as the regional executive assistant supervisor for Dubai and Istanbul and training coordinator for executive assistants in Dubai. We can’t wait to hear where she goes next — and the stories that she’ll bring back.

Be prepared. Be open. Be flexible.

  1. I reach out to participants in advance to ask if they have questions on the topic so I can be prepared for those questions. It’s not effective to say, “I’m not sure, let me get back to you.” By asking in advance I can also see where people are: if they’re beginners or if they have some knowledge.
  2. In the session I tell them that if they feel I’m not connecting, speak up. I’m really open in training. I have different plans that I can switch to.
  3. I try to get as much input as I can from the people I’m training and make them feel like they’re part of it as it happens.

I was probably one of a dozen black people in the entire city. I got into a taxi and before I could give the address the driver asked if I was going to work at Oliver Wyman. I was a bit weirded out. Then he said, “I picked you up last week from your apartment around this time, and that’s where you went.” That’s when I realized how unique I was.

Warsaw

The Poles don’t do “small talk.” There’s no idle chatter between strangers like in other places. They speak when they have a reason. Another thing that took me a while to notice is that office lights weren’t turned on until full dusk. Even at night, in sections of the office that weren’t being used the lights were out. You’d see a few people working at their desks with only the computer light. In the US we waste a lot of energy by turning on all the lights all the time even when they’re not being used. I wish we were somewhere in between.

I thought I was going to be very uncomfortable being a female in this region. But Dubai is very tolerant, partly because most people are expats here on visas. In the really old parts of town and the other Emirates, you have to be more conscious that your knees and your shoulders are covered.

Dubai

Everyone takes taxis because of the heat. You ask someone how to get somewhere and they’ll say, “I don’t know,” and they’ve lived here ten years. The taxi knows where to go. They don’t have street addresses. When I was coming out here I wanted to get the address of the office, but all I got was “the Arjaan Office Tower in Media City.” I wanted a street number! I’m from somewhere that has addresses.