Heading stateside

I have been fortunate enough to be invited to join the San Francisco office. The opportunity came fraught with unknowns – health insurance? Becoming a landlord? Moving 5,000 miles away? But there were three compelling reasons to say yes:

1 / A small team: the San Francisco team is compact, which means the role of any individual is amplified. As they described it to me; every win really matters, while every loss really hurts, and your individual contribution to any project can make all the difference to the end success. I’m looking forward to rising to the challenge.

2 / A great team: I met Kevin Waters, the San Francisco MD, while on holiday there last year, along with Joanna. I then met Jenni and Kate earlier this year, and newest addition Leonie in April. Much like Incite UK, the team are hugely experienced and super smart. I know I will learn a lot from them, while my different strengths will complement the team as a whole.

3 / Doing great work: using the same consulting principles as Incite UK, the San Francisco office thrives on solving interesting business challenges in a structured, intelligent way. Basically, I get to keep doing what I love while embracing a new culture, lifestyle and environment.

With the decision made it was time to get into the practicalities. Much like a research project, it had multiple stages.

Stakeholder engagement

Firstly, I needed to understand the competing interests and how best to ensure buy-in at all levels:

  • The husband was actually pretty easy. His best friend already lives in California and bribery will get you everywhere: vineyards, American trucks and year-round skiing. Done.
  • My sister was trickier. Fortunately, she has just qualified for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run and apparently that’s a compelling reason to visit!
  • The rest of the family were catered for with enough leaving events that they are now thoroughly bored of me. I’m meeting the best friends in New York in November (our new ‘half way’ point!), so no complaints there.

Exploratory qual

Such a complex topic is best understood through an open approach. If you’ve worked with Incite you’ll know we love a good checklist, and I think my moving preparation spreadsheet could win awards. Methodically working through the unknowns (tackling the smaller tasks first to reinforce the self-efficacy) gradually clarified the actions required.

Quantitative verification

With a plan in place, it was onto the ‘doing’.

  • House: it’s amazing how motivating leaving the country is. We decorated everywhere and it has never looked so good! The hard work paid off and tenants are on the way. I’m slightly alarmed about the Rottweiler they own moving into our tiny Victorian mid-terrace but maybe it’s a small one. Do Rottweilers come in ‘small’?
  • Stuff: what to bring, what to ship and what to sell? And what should never see the light of day again. For the sake of our marriage I’m just not going to look at what my husband is hiding in the loft. He tells me he has an emotional attachment to his old cassette tapes. And don’t get me started on the minidisks. During this process I also discovered I own 37 pairs of shoes. Oops.
  • Work: I think everyone knows I’m transferring….if not, consider this your notice! I’ll still be at Incite but working eight hours behind from a much sunnier vantage point.


It’s all come together and I’ll be San Francisco based from 25 June. Now I just need to stock up on tea bags, Marmite and M&S underwear (for their sake as much of mine), and somehow pack 37 pairs of shoes. See you in America!