The 2016 Best Small Firms to Work For: Propeller

Propeller_Amy_Weeden12. Propeller

Amy Weeden, Managing Partner & Co-Founder of Propeller, says the firm being recognized as a Best Small Firm to Work For shows that “we truly are building something great here at Propeller.” That “something great” is based on hiring the right people, building an amazing culture and doing exceptional work for clients, she says. For employees, the recognition affirms what employees already know—Propeller is an exceptional and unique place to work.

As a relatively new firm founded just four years ago, Propeller made its debut as a Best Small Firm to Work For last year. Ask Weeden what’s unique about the firm and she’ll point to a consulting approach that strives to make the complex simple. “Only when our clients understand exactly where they need to go and how to get there can real progress get made,” Weeden says. “Many management consulting firms propose the solution and leave the client to execute it, but Propeller walks with clients all the way to the finish line.”

In addition, the firm is “solution agnostic” and has a very rigorous hiring process, with fewer than 2 percent of all applicants making it through a very selective recruiting process. With this type of talent, it’s no surprise that Propeller invests in it. To support employee growth and development, “we have a robust on-boarding process, we match consultants with client opportunities that build on their strengths and foster their talents,” Weeden says. “We tailor educational and coaching opportunities to the individual consultant.”

It stands to reason that Propeller would excel in the area of Career Development on the survey. The firm also scored well in the Work/Life Balance category. “Our consultants live in the same city that they work,” she says. “This allows them to get to build a strong consulting career but also to be home for dinner at night. We also have unlimited paid time off which allows our consultants to manage their own time.”

All of these advantages lead to extremely high morale at the firm. “We founded Propeller based on the shared understanding that finding and nurturing the right people is the key to a highly effective consulting firm,” Weeden says. “We guide Propeller with a single belief: Always do the right thing.”

And the commitment to people extends to Propeller’s clients, she says. “Many of our clients are in dynamic industries that have a ton of business opportunities; yet are also threatened by disruption from the digital economy,” Weeden says.

Q&A: What’s your top priority over the next 12 months?

Weeden: “As a firm, we are focused on growth over the next 12 months. Growth at Propeller is multi-faceted.  We plan on continuing our pace in headcount and revenue growth, which has resulted in a 60-plus person firm in four years. We are also looking to expand geographically outside of Portland into San Francisco, where we recently launched a local office. Growth also means expanding our scope and the value that we bring to our clients. We are being asked to tackle bigger and more strategic business problems and our firm is rising to the occasion to deliver for our clients.”

Stats  Headquarters: Portland Billable Consultants: 60 Client Industries Served: Energy, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Financial Services, Technology    Consulting Service Lines:  Strategy, Operations Management, HR, and IT

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