Wanting to make a difference was what attracted Elena Cano, Senior Consultant at KBC (A Yokogawa Company), to a career in consulting. Having earned a degree in Economics and a Master of Business Administration, Elena started her career in a small auditing and accounting firm. “My first role allowed me to gain some experience before moving on to a big multinational consulting company.” It was here that Elena developed her consulting skills. “It was exciting to work for a big company and to work on change management and strategy projects for big clients across all types of industries. I learned a lot”, said Elena. “I was lucky to be able to travel too. I’ve lived in Chicago, Miami, Spain and London. It was a great life experience to live in different countries and meet people from different backgrounds and cultures.”
After 13 years Elena decided to change jobs to enable her to balance work and family life. She joined KBC 10 years ago in a global scheduling role to develop and implement a methodology to manage projects efficiently. “The project management skills and project approach I’d learned in my previous role I could adapt to KBC. I defined a process to organize project schedules, to control the costs, hours and scope of the projects, and developed an approach to quality control in terms of documentation and delivery.”
Providing support to subject matter experts (SME) on big projects, such as a KBC Profit Improvement Program®, Elena’s role is pivotal. “My role frees up the time of the SMEs to complement the two roles of project delivery: technical expertise and project management. The SME can focus on technical aspects to provide expertise on what the client needs. As the project manager I work with them to ensure they are working to schedule, hours and cost to be effective and keep the project on budget”.
In a role that closely manages resources it’s crucial to know the detail and understand the implications of decisions that could impact delivery. “You also need to be good at managing relationships within a project team, and particularly in front of the client as you are the person that says the good and the bad things. Every project and client is different so there is always something new to learn and you have the opportunity to affect change.”