The 2019 Top 25 Consultants: Carol Cruickshank

Carol Cruickshank

A.T. Kearney

Excellence in Leadership

Carol Cruickshank ended up in consulting through a series of connections that built on one another. A career in consulting was triggered by a role model and friend in undergrad who exposed her to consulting as a profession. “I was intrigued,” she says. “When I was recruited to A.T. Kearney by an MBA classmate and friend, I was immersed in the A.T. Kearney apprenticeship model—numerous mentors and colleagues over the years opened the door to the possibilities of consulting.” 

Today, Cruickshank is a Partner with A.T. Kearney’s Global Health practice, and she has over 20 years of industry and consulting experience serving leading companies across pharmaceuticals, consumer health, retail pharmacy and integrated delivery systems. She works extensively across North America and globally partnering with health companies on their strategic and operational agendas with a focus on strategic growth, transformation, innovative customer solutions, and commercial-enabled supply chain. 

“I’m extremely proud and grateful for the opportunity to have several long-term client relationships and the opportunity to lead some of our most important client teams,” she says. “These relationships have provided me the privilege of partnering with clients on their most important priorities. I’m very proud of the outcomes we’ve delivered together through depth of insight, co-creating innovative strategies and solutions, and driving critical stakeholder alignment.” 

Consulting is the ultimate team sport, she says. “As I reflect on the accomplishments, I’ve been fortunate to be part of many amazing teams. I am proud and appreciative of the exceptional collaboration with A.T. Kearney colleagues to deliver outstanding outcomes for our clients,” Cruickshank says. “I’m also delighted for the opportunity and proud to represent A.T. Kearney at the World Economic Forum in Davos.  

What’s motivated her over the course of her career? Well, the answer is threefold, she says. One, contributing to the success of clients’ agendas and careers; two, collaborating to drive innovation and impact on a defined issue or opportunity; and three, further building a foundation for future generations.   

Last fall, Cruickshank hit a milestone—20 years A.T. Kearney. During that time she’s fortunate to be able to partner with clients to enhance customer experience, improve patient outcomes, break through complex issues, realize strategic opportunity; collaborate with clients; work with bright professionals from around the globe; take on leadership roles that stretch her beyond what she thought she was capable of; and, develop great friendships.  

As far as being named a Top 25 Consultant, Cruickshank says it’s an honor. “It goes well beyond me, recognizing A.T. Kearney as an outstanding consulting firm, the mentors who have shaped my career and who’s success I’ve built on, the clients who put their trust in me, and the power of a great apprenticeship model to develop future generations of consultants,” she says.  

What’s been the biggest factor to your success? 

Cruickshank: “The biggest factor in my success isn’t one dimensional, but more of a ‘secret sauce’ of factors.  The secret sauce … mentors/colleagues who believed in me at every stage of my career and gave me the opportunity, genuine and personal commitment to the success of clients, fostering team capabilities to deliver the highest quality work, collaboration as the only way of operating, and an amazing family who tolerate and support my passion.”