// . //  The Alumni Network //  Antonia Romeo

We recently had the chance to speak with Antonia who has made significant strides in their career since leaving Oliver Wyman. After obtaining a Master's degree in Economics from the London School of Economics, she embarked on a journey that led her to various roles within the public sector. Her career path has been diverse and impactful, including a stint as the principal private secretary in the Ministry of Justice, a role in the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Office, and serving as the director general of criminal justice. She also worked for the prime minister as director general of Economic and Domestic Affairs during the 2015 election, and currently serves as Her Majesty's consul general. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career path since you left Oliver Wyman.

That feeling of peer teamwork when you're starting your career and building your skill set at Oliver Wyman is unmatchable
Antonia Romeo, Oliver Wyman Alumni

I left Oliver Wyman in 1999, did a Master's in Economics at LSE, and then, by chance, joined the Lord Chancellor's Department as an economist on a temporary contract for a year, working on competition issues and trade promotion. From there, I never left the public sector. I became principal private secretary in the Ministry of Justice in 2006, then spent a few years in the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Office before becoming Director General of Criminal Justice in 2011. I worked for the prime minister as director general of Economic and Domestic Affairs during the 2015 election and then moved out to the States with my husband, John Romeo, and kids in 2016. Now, I'm Her Majesty's consul general in New York and director general of Economic and Commercial Affairs USA. 

What is the role of the Consul General in New York?

As consul general, my job is to promote the UK’s economic profile, foreign policy, and national security priorities in the Tri-State area. As director general of Economic and Commercial Affairs USA, I direct the business and prosperity work of the UK government across the United States, including oversight of the North American operations of the foreign commercial arm of the UK government. I'm also the government's special envoy to US technology companies.

What does a typical day look like for you? 

It's a bit early to know what a typical day looks like since I'm only on day seven. Thus far, the main theme has been the varied nature of the job. On my first day, I hosted the then chancellor of the exchequer on a visit from the UK, and we met several Wall Street global chief executives to discuss investment in the UK post-Brexit. In the afternoon I met a series of tech entrepreneurs to discuss innovation and was shadowed by the New Yorker, and in the evening I hosted an event with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant to screen their new film. Next week, I'll start the week in LA, meet tech firms, and then go to the Democratic National Convention in Philly. So, nothing seems typical yet.

What skills did you acquire at Oliver Wyman that have helped you throughout your career?

Obsession with rigorous analysis and an evidence base. Importance of a deadline, understanding the critical path, prioritization, dealing with senior people, and building a reputation and credibility that underpins long-term relationships. 

What has been the hardest professional decision you've made?

Leaving my job working for the prime minister on Economic and Domestic Affairs and moving to the States with my family was probably the toughest. But my husband John had accepted a role running the North American business for Oliver Wyman, and we knew we wanted to keep the family together and that some time in the States would be an amazing opportunity for the kids. I was lucky the British government was so supportive in suggesting opportunities for me to stay working for the government out here — my initial thought was I'd need to get a secondment to the private sector. But being consul general in New York is a dream job, so it's all worked out brilliantly.

You run the economic, trade, and investment relationship with the US for the British government. How has your job been affected by Brexit?

It's gotten much bigger. Since my job is to promote Britain to the US and I'm responsible for inward investment from the US to the UK, I'm now spending a lot of my time talking to senior executives in the biggest US companies to deliver the government message that the UK is very much open for business, highly competitive, with a favorable tax and labor regime and the rule of law.

What professional accomplishments make you the proudest?

Delivering the two-and-a-half-year, £1 billion program to reduce reoffending among ex-offenders as director general of Criminal Justice at the Ministry of Justice would be right up there. Running the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat in the Cabinet Office during the 2015 election was also brilliant.

What do you miss most about being at Oliver Wyman?

I made some great friends working late at night on big financial services projects. We would finish work at 9pm or later, then go for drinks in Canary Wharf. That feeling of peer teamwork when you're starting your career and building your skill set at Oliver Wyman is unmatchable.

What do you do when you’re not working?

The line between work and home is quite blurred in this job because it involves many things I love to do in the evening's, such as theater, film, and galleries. There is always a fabulous event to be at in New York. When not working, I'm with my kids. John and I spend the weekends shuttling them to their various activities —soccer, drama, and orchestra. When we moved here, I planned to do a tourist activity every weekend, but there hasn't been time — next on the list is Liberty Island.

What are you reading?

Ben Horowitz's “The Hard Thing About Hard Things.” I just finished “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng.  

This page was originally published on November 16, 2016.