As a senior-year chemical engineering and biology major in undergrad, Los Angeles-based Principal Jessica Jarvis imagined herself working at a pharmaceutical company. Until she stumbled upon ZS’s booth at a career fair, that is.
“I had never considered consulting but suddenly, I had this vision of myself in a lab day in and day out,” Jess said. “As someone who thrives on interaction, I realized it just wasn’t me.”
So she started researching ZS, and made a number of connections. “I liked that I’d still be able to apply my education in the healthcare field, but what really sold me was the people. Everyone I met was so dynamic.”
Now, 17 years later, Jess has one of the most people-centric roles there is at ZS—one that centers on cultivating strong, meaningful relationships: client service lead.
Jessica brings ZS’s latest innovations to her client, inspiring them to make bold moves that differentiate them from competitors and drive positive patient outcomes. And when she’s not onsite, she’s working collaboratively with members of the 150-person ZS client team—or spending time with them outside the office, as she’s known for being one of our firm’s most relatable leaders.
It’s the strong reputation Jess has earned among clients and ZSers alike that recently landed her a spot on Consulting magazine’s coveted 2018 Women Leaders in Consulting list in the Excellence in Client Service category.
What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Several years ago, I remember our managing director Chris Wright telling me that if I have an idea, I should get a gut check from a few other ZSers about it; people in my network of mentors and peers. If they also think it’s a good idea, then I should go for it. I shouldn’t worry about asking for permission. That advice speaks to our collaborative, entrepreneurial culture.
Chris’s words empowered me to take more risks, especially when it comes to working with my client Amgen. This has been huge, because co-creating with them is what drives me. I’m humbled that my client places so much trust in me, and I enjoy watching them make bold moves with encouragement from me and my team. Together, we embark on a lot of journeys where we don’t exactly know how we’ll get to the end, but we always know we’ll have fun trying.
After many years working with clients and being exposed to other organizations, what makes ZS a great place to work—particularly for women?
ZS is an inherently supportive organization. There are certainly fewer females in consulting, but I’ve never felt like I’ve been treated differently because I’m a woman. Some of my biggest advocates, in fact, have been men.
I’m also a mom, so I can speak to the fact that women tend to grapple with balancing their personal lives and work. In my experience though, all I’ve ever had to do when I need sometime is ask—whether that’s a few hours to see my son’s concert at school or some time off to spend with my family. It’s also helpful to have colleagues who are willing to help out, knowing I’ll do the same for them.
What advice would you offer a new consultant just starting his or her career?
Don’t overthink it! Rather than focusing on the steps you need to take in order to be successful or reach the next level, try to do things you’re passionate about. If you’re doing something you love, you’ll end up naturally giving it your all and success will happen organically—no orchestration required.
How have you navigated a successful, long-term career at ZS and in what ways have you advocated for yourself over the years?
If there’s something you want for yourself here at our firm, all you have to do is speak up and ask. The worst you’ll hear is “no”—a response I’ve actually never gotten at ZS. What’s great about our company is that it we really want to connect people to what motivates them, and this all traces back to figuring out where your passion lies.
The takeaway is that had I not figured out what I wanted and been vocal about it, I may never have had the opportunity to get to the place where I’m at today.
Learn more about why ZS is a great place for women on zs.com.