The 2016 Women Leaders in Consulting: Elizabeth Spaulding

Consulting Women's Leadership Awards 2016

Elizabeth Spaulding Partner; Global Head of Bain Digital, Bain & Company 


Elizabeth Spaulding majored in industrial engineering at Stanford, but was always drawn to consulting. The major focused on the link between technology and leadership of an organization. She liked the idea of having the opportunity and ability to change the trajectory and outcome of a business, similar to the focus of her major, she says.

“Bain was appealing to me because of its outstanding culture and excellent track record with clients,” Spaulding says. “I could tell immediately from the first few colleagues I met that the values and ambition of the firm were a great fit. Since then, the diversity of experiences and the impact we can have are the main reasons I’ve continued at Bain.”

Today, Spaulding is the head of Bain & Company’s global Digital practice and based in the firm’s San Francisco office. She focuses on connecting clients in the digital ecosystem and leading transformations for clients across sectors and advises clients on a range of issues related to digital disruption, including reinvention of the customer experience, marketing, innovation in operations including automation and predictive analytics, as well as helping develop new products and services.

“Over the last 10 years I have worked extensively with private equity-owned businesses.  One of the most appealing elements of those environments is the ability to experiment, take risks and change the path of the company under private ownership,” Spaulding says. “In many ways, digital technology parallels this ability to unlock new growth. That has been a central part of the last few years of my experience at Bain, and I expect to have a big impact on every element of the work we do going forward.”

The influence of digital has fundamentally changed how companies do business—from the way they manage their supply chain to how they engage with customers. This has created new business opportunities that, just a few short years ago, were unimaginable or unattainable, she says. It also brings to light new challenges that companies must address to win in the digital economy.

“At Bain, we help clients address these challenges, which is probably the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my job. We’re working with companies around the world to understand how they’re impacted by digital, develop digital capabilities and, in some cases, undergo complete digital transformations,” Spaulding says. “As innovation continues to accelerate, we’re also identifying new approaches to keep pace with changing digital technologies. It’s exciting to me to think about the next wave of technology and the impact it will have on our clients and their businesses.”

As far as the award, Spaulding says “it’s an honor to be recognized by peers and others who know how challenging and how rewarding our work can be.”

Consulting: What is your greatest personal or professional achievement?

Spaulding: I’m incredibly proud of how Bain’s Digital Practice has grown over the last four years.  In that time, we’ve developed a distinctly Bain perspective on digital, grown Bain’s digital capabilities and made it a firm-wide priority with the full weight of Bain’s senior leaders behind it. I am also very proud of having a wonderful family – a husband with whom I have a great partnership and two children who teach me new things daily.  Balancing a life filled with family, friends as well as a thriving career, I think, is my greatest professional achievement.