Anu-HedaAnu Heda

We begin each engagement with an open mind. We believe being open-minded leads to continually asking ourselves two important questions. What will be most helpful? How do we provide help in the most consumable manner?

So what makes me effective answering those questions? I hope numerous attributes. First and foremost, I bring expertise from each of the 116 (and counting) completed Naissance engagements and by voraciously integrating industry meetings, conferences, reports, whitepapers, and news. Second, I ask questions and provide the context to why those questions. Our engagements frequently begin with interviews. Those hours always improve the project’s outcome. My questions do not begin with tell me about your business, rather let’s speak to specifics of your purview. At the conversations’ end, the ultimate compliment is “That was a really fast 30 minutes. If you need more time, just call.” Frankly, we strive for that in each engagement.

Asking great questions fits with the third attribute: preparation. To draw out the most insight, the most specific issues or deficiencies we begin with homework. From understanding different roles and objectives within an organization to surveying the most significant competitors, we lead engagements from not only understanding the industry, also from understanding our client’s current market position and future ambitions.

To do that well, we sweat the small stuff. All of it. We make sure our ideas and recommendations are defensible. Considering each detail translates to smooth, high-impact conversations and faster project completion.

Personally, I can bore you with tales of my high-quality cooking, hit and miss cocktail making, and sub-par (but improving) beer production. Feel free to reach me via email, Twitter or at Pacific Standard during Cal Golden Bears’ football games.

Mike-McLaughlinMike McLaughlin

We can skip the pretense. Naissance is a small firm and I am writing my own bio. Plus I like the idea of a first-person approach enough to give it a shot.

First, some basic facts. I have spent almost twenty years in consulting, with the last 10+ focused on financial services clients. Most firms have been asset managers; some have been insurers, broker/dealers, banks, or others. The questions I help answer center on business and marketing strategy.

This experience reflects what I’ve done; at least as important is how I approach my work. Three things in particular matter to me:

  • Combine ideas and idealism with pragmatism
  • Communicate clearly in order to avoid the dreaded “so what does that mean?”
  • Balance my belief that I do excellent work with humility

I have been fortunate to be around some really intelligent people at places like kasina, Accenture, the Yale School of Management, and Northwestern University.

Beyond work I relentlessly pursue new Belgian-style ales, digest as much comedy as possible, and may be the reigning king of asking questions in casual conversations. You can find a bit more about me via LinkedIn and my extremely-rare Tweets.