VOLUNTEER CONSULTANT

Dan Houston

  • Job title: Senior Consultant, Human Capital at Ernst & Young (EY)
  • Location: USA, Washington DC
  • Professional qualifications: NA

Brief career history

I am a member of EY’s Human Capital Practice where I specialise in process improvement and HR transaction advisory topics, which include Payroll/HRIS implementation, HR due diligence, vendor sourcing and selection, project management, HR service delivery and employee benefits.

Key areas of expertise

Operations, Strategy, Human Resources – my experience comes from a variety of transaction projects, which have focused on HR broadly as well as within specific HR and Payroll sub-areas. In addition, I have academic and work experience in technical areas of business analytics and continuous improvement.

Where/how did you come across Grow Movement?

On LinkedIn.

Why did you decide to join Grow Movement?

I wanted to use my consulting experience at EY to give back to a good cause.

About your entrepreneur

  • Name: Lydia Katushabe
  • Businesses: Community Alternative Development and Right Quality Bakery
  • Age: 30
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: Uganda, Komamboga Central Zone
  • Family: two children
  • What does the business do: Community Alternative Development works to ensure health, education, equality protection and nutritional needs of every child in Uganda.
  • What does it provide/sell/do: Community Alternative Development (CAD) promotes health for Ugandans through nutrition and education. Founded in 2010, CAD works to fight malnutrition, child mortality, maternal sickness and other diseases, by bringing community awareness through nutrition counselling, workshops and classrooms.
  • Key customers: The majority of Lydia’s customers are from her village and surrounding schools.

What was your first phone call like?

The first couple calls were difficult for both Lydia and I as we experienced communication issues and last-minute scheduling conflicts. But as we progressed with the project, we adjusted and moved more towards email communications.

What approach did you to take to identify the problems facing the business?

To identify Lydia’s business problems, I relied on our phone conversations to gather information and prioritise issues.

What business tools did you use?

For the project, I used a SWOT analysis, project phases/approach outlined by Grow and internet research.

How many sessions did you have?

In total, we had around 8 calls with email correspondence supplementing a few of our calls.

How long were the sessions?

Our sessions were typically around 30 minutes each.

What preparation did you do?

Prior to each session, I would look over my notes from the prior calls, write down ideas or questions for Lydia and do internet research when applicable.

How much email interaction did you have?

Towards the second phase of the project, much of our communications were email-focused due to phone connectivity issues.

What objectives did you work on?

For the project, I focused on the following areas: Developing a company brand and marketing materials for Lydia’s company; Securing local government funding to expand the business general management tips (tracking expenses, creating customer lists, etc). Because of time constraints from Lydia, we had to narrow down the project scope.

How did you manage being able to consult when you didn’t know the industry or the country?

As a consultant, I tried to treat Lydia the way I would as business client. As the client, I listened to Lydia’s business challenges and gathered extensive feedback/information before making recommendations.

What cultural challenges did you face?

The project definitely has its cultural challenges for me in the beginning, but after the a few sessions, Lydia and I both adjusted to each other.

What was the hardest thing about the project?

For me, the hardest part of the project was the inconsistent phone connectivity from each of our ends.

What professional benefits did you get out of the project?

With the project, I was able to work on my time management skills and gained experience within small business consulting/entrepreneurship.

What personal benefits did you get out of the project?

I was able to expand my cultural exposure with the project.

What impact did you have?

Since the start of the project, Lydia was able to hire two new employees and increase profits by 60%. As an entrepreneur, the business growth comes from Lydia’s proactiveness and management, but hopefully this project provided her some ideas to incorporate into her business.

What would you say to another person who was thinking about becoming a consultant for Grow Movement?

There will likely be a learning curve in the beginning of the project, but stick with it and be patient, because you will be making a difference for someone else.

How would you describe your experience at Grow Movement in five words?

Unique opportunity for positive change

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