Kelly Hauwert on her journey from trainee to senior consultant

In 2022 Kelly Hauwert enjoyed her second promotion at Highberg. As she prepares to take on the new role of Senior Consultant with the organizational transformation firm, Kelly spoke to about how the firm’s entrepreneurial and warm culture has helped her grow while feeling at home.

When Kelly Hauwert initially trained in social sciences with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, she never imagined that she would become a consultant. However, after a brief stint in the world of public relations, she heard about a consultancy traineeship with Highberg that piqued her interest.

After speaking with some of the firm’s colleagues and partners, and passing a capability assessment, Kelly soon found herself walking through Highberg’s doors as an employee.


As it turned out, the “hands-on nature” she possesses, which initially saw her rule out consulting work, was well catered to by the traineeship – as Highberg has a very pro-active approach to working with the clients. This approach of not only building strategy but working together with the client to implement those plans, suit her personality completely.

“Highberg has a very entrepreneurial culture,” Kelly explains. “There is a lot of freedom in the way we do our work and how we interact with our colleagues, and the impact we have on the clients. 80% of your time is spent with the client and 20% is with our colleagues, so we have a good balance. We explore, implement, learn new stuff at the client and we bring it back to the firm and share it with our colleagues.”

Thanks to this entrepreneurialism, Kelly quickly found that it did not matter that her previous training was in a discipline that was not necessarily consulting-oriented. According to her, Highberg appreciates people with different backgrounds, which in turn enables diversity and allows everyone to bring their strengths to projects.

Five years after joining, Kelly has now been promoted to Senior Consultant, a role which will see her take on expanded remit on the firm’s transformation work for clients.

In this journey to becoming a Senior Consultant, one of the biggest transformations she has seen has been from within. When starting at Highberg she wanted things “to be perfect the first time, striving always for more and expecting a lot” from herself. Along the way she has learned to experiment, to trust herself and focus on the right things.

Her interactions with colleagues have shown her that mastering everything is impossible – “there are always ways to improve on what you do well.” This led to a realization that “the grass is not always greener on the other side,” and instead, has forced her to continuously ask herself, “how I can make my own grass greener, and improve my work.”

Learning curve

Speaking on her own learning process, Kelly recalls, “The key to success in this role, starting as a trainee, and growing in your role as consultant is to be aware of where your talents are, and enhance them in your assignment because you are on the steering wheel of that assignment.”

“At Highberg and its projects, everything is possible. Approaching an assignment with this in mind, you can be highly creative and succeed beyond ambition, which is one of our core values.”

When asked what advice she might have for young trainees aspiring (or embarking) the consulting world, Kelly points to her experiences learning to define her own brand of success, and growth. While new professionals will always depend on senior input on their journey, they should not lose sight of their sense of independence, or self-belief.

She expands, “As a young woman joining the consulting world, you might be looking for a role model. But the people that you perceive as your role model are also looking for a role model – so why not just be your own?”

The good news is – if you are joining Highberg, and it happens that Kelly will be leading you in a project, “rest assured you are the star of the show” and Kelly will be there “for guidance and support, and jumping in when things go wrong, just like a safety net.”

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