The 2017 Top 25 Consultants: Kathleen O’Reilly


Kathleen O’Reilly Accenture

Excellence in Client Service

Over the past 12 months, Kathleen O’Reilly has had the opportunity to help lead an initiative to deepen and accelerate the impact Accenture has in North America. O’Reilly is a Senior Managing Director at Accenture responsible for leading the company’s business in its U.S. Northeast region where she focuses on bringing innovation to clients, attracting top talent and strengthening the company’s impact in its local communities. She also serves on Accenture’s North America Leadership Team and Global Leadership Council.

“We challenged ourselves, as we always do, with the question—how can we do more to serve our markets, people and communities as well as ensure that we are at the forefront of innovation,” O’Reilly says. “For our clients, we are laser-focused on driving value that harnesses the opportunities created by new technology and the changes in our digital world. Through the work I have been part of, we have made changes that will allow us to work even more closely with our clients and in our communities.”

A 20-year Accenture veteran, O’Reilly says what makes her most proud is the totality of a career spent having a positive impact in tackling clients most critical issues. “Whether it is driving large-scale transformation or helping a client capitalize on the opportunities driven by shifts in markets or technology, leading strong teams to tackle those big issues, and drive sustainable advantage has been extremely rewarding,” she says. “I have always been motivated by taking on any challenge where I can make a difference, whether individually, through leading those around me, or supporting a larger team.”

What O’Reilly loves about consulting, she says, is that it demands innovation and leadership in the advancement of tangible outcomes. It is all about embracing change and seizing opportunities. This means always staying on the forefront of what is driving industries, knowing what technologies as well as skills need to be applied to a problem, and understanding relationships between all the forces in its markets, she says.

In addition, this is a profession built on relationships. “Every day, there is a chance to make a difference for someone. Having a chance to develop and nurture talent and then watch those people thrive, is a privilege,” O’Reilly says. “Finally, there is a very clear sense of purpose in everything we do and in the overall arc of a consulting career. Like many, I did not step into this career thinking it would be a lifelong calling. But it has become a part of who I am, and what I hope will be part of a larger legacy of change.”

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

O’Reilly: “By far, the most important factor to my success, is surrounding myself with some of the brightest and most inspiring people this profession offers. Building and leading passionate teams that represent diversity of thought as well as unique skills and experiences has been nothing short of a privilege. The power to make a difference has been fueled by collaboration—with our people at Accenture as well as with my clients. Collaborating with colleagues that have an unrelenting thirst to learn, willingness to expand their own thinking, and push each other has made all the difference in my career.”


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