The 2016 Women Leaders in Consulting: Shameka Young

Consulting Women's Leadership Awards 2016

Shameka Young Partner, Cognizant 

Client Service

Shameka Young is a Consulting Partner within Cognizant’s Business Consulting Telecommunications & HighTech practice. Within Cognizant, she is also the Women Empowered Regional Advisor for Greater Texas.

Ask her what she likes about the consulting profession and she’ll say, without hesitation—teamwork and innovation. “Specifically, my enjoyment centers on working with the client and our team to solve new business problems, and I am often heard saying ‘what if we tried this?’ ”  she says. “Exploring the ‘Art of the Possible’ for the client is critical, and team collaboration regarding the “what ifs” motivates me daily.”

Young has 18 years of executive management consulting experience driving financial and operational profitability for global clients. Her experience spans global telecommunications and cable clients for whom she conducts best-practice benchmarking and digital operational assessments, constructs “skin in the game” client opportunities and delivers global software development programs; she has driven and supported programs across North and South America, Asia and Europe.

One of the aspects of her client work of which she’s most proud, she says, is when clients have recommended her work. “Several clients have recommended my work to their peers, which is a phenomenal acknowledgment of the relationship and value I have created,” Young says. “It is wonderful to have someone extend that credibility and say ‘you just get it!’ ”

Cognizant colleagues say, without fail, that Young is passionate about driving value creation with clients. While Young shines across the range of capabilities needed for consulting, colleagues say it’s her knack as a relationship builder and client advisor that sets her apart in the profession. At one national-scale client, Young has built relationships up and down the executive ranks. And those clients have been recognized with senior-level promotions based on value they’ve created in partnership with Young and Cognizant.

“Know your value and what you bring to each situation,” Young says. “Do not underestimate that value, and own the success that comes with it.”

As a specialty, Shameka focuses on bringing innovation and thought leadership to the Customer Experience Operations organizations specifically supporting Field Services and Care.

“Value yourself; have an opinion; share your opinion; do not apologize for your opinion; and, own your unique perspective,” she says.

Young says her entry into the consulting profession was by design. “While working for a Texas state agency in college, I experienced my first taste of consulting where I was with challenged with problem solving and client engagement,” Young says.  “For the first time, I experienced the thrill of unraveling an issue with analytics and re-engineering processes to solve it.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Consulting: What does winning the Women Leaders in Consulting award mean to you? 

Young: “Consulting Magazine continues to recognize the impact of women leaders in the consulting profession, and I am deeply honored to represent Cognizant this year.  It is gratifying to be recognized for years of perseverance and dedication to the consulting profession. I am also blessed to have worked for, and with, some amazing women in this profession. It is a privilege to be recognized with this class of leaders.”