The 2017 Top 25 Consultants: Mike Cowden


Mike Cowden  Slalom

Excellence in Leadership

Mike Cowden is the general manager of Slalom’s delivery network, a collection of regional delivery centers that create digital products and experiences for companies around the globe.

“I’m really proud to have delivery centers in every one of our regions. We have five delivery centers now—four in the U.S. and one in Toronto,” he says. “It’s amazing to travel the country and be able to serve our clients in every time zone they’re in. We have almost 700 people that are pushing the boundaries of technology innovation for our clients.”

Cowden has 25 years of experience helping companies solve complex technical problems and maximize investments in people and technology. He thrives off building self-sustaining teams and believes that building teams around a shared purpose drives commitment, productivity and passion.

“I’m proud the buzz and passion that every one of those teams has, and our ability to keep the same culture that we built when we first launched our delivery network five years ago,” Cowden says. “The culture has stayed the same—energetic, passionate, and full of people that really care about each other and the work we’re doing for our clients.”

Cowden says he is motivated by walking through the halls of Slalom’s delivery centers and watching people collaborate to build amazing software products.

It’s hanging out with the team and celebrating with them. “I fundamentally believe we’re changing how technology is viewed, and that motivates me every day,” Cowden says. “I’d love to take our local model around the globe and change where and how people work.”

Meanwhile, Cowden says one of the aspects he loves about consulting is the constant change. “I’ve been doing this for over 25 years, and there hasn’t been a boring year yet,” he says. “I love that clients come to us with their most difficult challenges, and we get to sit down together and try to break it apart and come up with a really cool solution. That’s awesome. It’s not an easy job, but the rewarding side of it is through the roof.”

As far as winning the Top 25 award, Cowden says “it’s less about me, to be honest. It’s more about the team. I’m psyched about the validation of what we’ve built over the last five years, which has required a lot of dedication and passion from a lot of very smart, inspiring people. That’s what’s meaningful to me.”

Q&A: What achievements and accomplishments are you most proud of over the course of your career?

Cowden: “In my previous life, I built large technology teams around the globe, and I was really proud of that. I thought it was the pinnacle of achievement for me. But in terms of my entire career, I’m most proud of what we’ve built here at Slalom. I’m really passionate about our local model, about empowering early career and seasoned technology professionals to be able to work with the brands they know and love in the cities they live in. And at the same time, we’re creating game-changing products for companies in our own communities. I’m very proud of that.”

Service Line: