The 2017 Top 25 Consultants: David Donovan


David Donovan Sapient

Excellence in Financial Services

David Donovan says it’s almost as if he’s had two careers—first as a trader on Wall Street and now as a consultant for Sapient. Consulting required learning a different set of skills than he needed at the trading desk, but the experiences certainly dovetail together.

“In each of these professions, I prided myself on hard work, collaboration and growing relationships, which ultimately enabled me to rise to leadership positions,” he says. “Through demonstrable performance, client focus and a highly collaborative, team-first approach, I gained the confidence of my peers and my clients in each of these careers. What I’ve found most rewarding of all, though, is the ability to grow strong, capable teams known for delivering results.”

Donovan is a senior vice president, based in Boston, and oversees Sapient Consulting’s entire Financial Services portfolio. He is a 25-year Wall Street veteran as an institutional equity trader, including 14 years as the sector leader of technology trading for Fidelity Management and Research.

In his current role with Sapient, he is responsible for setting operational and marketing strategies for the firm and managing relationships with top global investment banks. Since joining in 2005, Donovan has developed strategic initiatives to evolve the business and improve the firm’s ability to deliver transformative work.

“Looking back over the last 12 months, I am most proud of the tremendous impact we’ve delivered for our clients, at a time when they are being challenged by rapidly changing customer, market and regulatory demands,” he says. “The ultimate rewards are evident in our 25 percent uptick in performance year over year and in the positive feedback I hear from multiple clients that Sapient truly ‘gets’ their business.”

Donovan says he has also worked hard to foster credibility and trust with his leadership team and he’s proud of the role he’s been able to play in their personal growth. “Together we’ve found ways to positively stretch and in doing so we’ve improved how we lead our people and ensured clients continue to see us as partners rather than simple service providers. I truly believe these individuals will be the dynamic future leaders of this company and I am proud to get to work alongside of them.”

Donovan says he is continuously motivated by the people he works with day in and day out. “I love growing people and being able to say that I had a part in someone else being successful,” he says. “In consulting, you need to work as a team to achieve the best outcomes and I encourage my team to own the whole success of the company. When we’re all working together in lockstep, magic happens.”

Q&A: What’s been the biggest factor to your success?

Donovan: “My competitive nature is probably the biggest factor to my success. The truth is I don’t like to lose… I immerse myself in my craft and constantly look for opportunities to learn and hone my skills. I welcome feedback and often self reflect to ensure I’m on my A game. When things don’t go exactly to plan, I take setbacks as opportunities to reassess my approach and look for a new angle toward winning.”