How Nordic's mentor program has helped consultants develop new skills

Nordic’s maxims are the foundation of how we work with each other and our client partners. In the spirit of the maxim Grow. Teach., Nordic has created a formal Consultant Development Program (CDP), focused on the areas of coaching, mentoring, and education. It’s available to all of our Epic traveling consultants. As Nordic continues to grow, so do the variety of opportunities available to our consultants. In creating the CDP, our goal is to provide our expert consultants with professional development opportunities that will match the growth of Nordic, ultimately providing the best experience for our client partners.

As a component of the CDP, we offer a consultant-to-consultant mentor program. Our voluntary pilot mentor program kicked off at the end of 2018 with 10 pairs of consultants who were matched based on their expertise, areas they’d like to develop, and personalities. Pulled from different consulting practices, each mentor/mentee pair spent anywhere from one to five hours a month getting together virtually to read and discuss relevant books or articles, study together for certifications, and to brainstorm new ideas and how to overcome challenges.

We recently spoke to two Nordic consultants who participated in the mentor program pilot as mentees to hear their perspective on the program. Senior Consultant Luke Atterbury is new to consulting, having joined Nordic in 2018 as a Tapestry analyst. Senior Consultant Christy Hensley has worked in healthcare since 1995 and started consulting in 2011, joining Nordic in 2017 as a Cadence team lead.

Why did you want to take part in the mentor program?

Luke: Starting any new job can be overwhelming, but I knew that with being brand new to consulting, this new job was going to take more time to get used to. By taking part in the mentor program, I was hoping to find a resource that I could talk to about the consulting world and gain some helpful tips and tricks.

Christy: I am a forever-learner, and I love jumping on any learning opportunities I can. I’ve been interested in getting my PMP certification and was looking for a mentor who could teach me more about project management to make sure that it is really what I want to do before making the commitment to take the exam.

How did you match with your mentor?

Luke: My mentor and I matched really well due to our shared Midwestern roots, which helped to break the ice to get to know each other. Even though she came from the ambulatory side, while I am more focused on revenue cycle referrals, she and I just clicked, and I felt super comfortable talking to her. She had been consulting for a while, so she had a great feel for what was going on in the industry.

Christy: My mentor and I were paired perfectly as far as our experiences, people we’ve worked with in the past, even where we lived. It made it very easy to work together.

What did you and your mentors do together?

Luke: She and I would meet about once a month depending on our travel schedules, and she was a really great sounding board. We’d talk about things that were going well, things that weren’t going well, or things that could be improved upon. Sometimes the CDP group coordinators would send along a topic or a talking point that we’d discuss. She also offered tips and tricks for client interviews. Becoming a consultant was a bit of a culture shock from my previous role, so just having someone to talk to about what was normal or not really helped me feel comfortable in my new role.  

Christy: We started out talking about what we each wanted out of this as a mentor and mentee, and from there we made an agenda of all the things I wanted to learn and the things that she wanted to show me. We ended up adjusting that agenda as we went along, but since my interest was in project management, she introduced me to different programs that she used to make timelines and set goals. She and I would go through project plans each time we met, and she’d offer helpful suggestions along the way, even helping with my style of notetaking. She’s also planning on getting her PMP certification, so we’d share with each other different resources that we’d find, like flashcards or online courses. What’s great is that the things I was learning were things I could implement immediately into my day-to-day.

What did you enjoy about the mentor program?

Luke: Being a remote worker, it was really great to get to know somebody else at Nordic. It helps to know that there are other people out there going through the same experiences as me. At any new job, you’re nervous and trying to figure out how you fit in, and it was just nice to have someone to get advice from or to ask questions without having to worry.

Christy: I really enjoyed getting to know more about project management from someone who has more experience in that skillset. We’re planning to start the PMP classes together, and we’re keeping each other on track by taking the lessons at the same pace, even studying together over the phone. Along with having someone by my side for this, I’ve now got a friend that I can talk to about anything at any time.

Do you have any advice for someone who is considering taking part in Nordic’s mentor program?

Luke: Just do it, you’re only going to gain from the experience. Especially if you’re new to consulting, it’ll help you feel more comfortable in your role.

Christy: If you’re interested in a subject outside of your wheelhouse, it’s a great way to see if you do indeed want to pursue that further. It’s a wonderful opportunity to continue your professional growth as a consultant.


Interested in enjoying a long-lasting, meaningful role in healthcare with a broad scope of opportunities and with a partner who values your unique skillset? Check out our current openings.


Topics: Culture, consulting tips

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