Lynn Evison is a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal’s (A&M) Corporate Transformation Services (CTS) practice in London. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business studies at De Montfort University. In her spare time, she partakes in a variety of sports including paragliding, skiing, snowboarding and road cycling.
In the Q&A below, Lynn discusses her belief in working hard and having fun, talks about how she continues to learn and acquire new skills as a Managing Director, and explains how A&M’s unique balance of industry expertise and consulting truly sets it apart.
You studied business studies at De Montfort University in England. What led you to pursue a career in consulting? Were there any “aha” moments that led you to that decision?
I was lucky to spend a year working for Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) Merchandising division during my studies. M&S offered the best retail training in the United Kingdom, so it provided a great start to my career. After continuing to work for M&S for several years, I delivered a unique internal project—creating a new business to integrate the knowledge of a garment supplier into a retail business and establish the now industry standard approach for product sourcing. We created a new separate legal entity via a joint venture with one of our suppliers; set up a new complete retail buying team and office locations in the UK and Ireland; implemented a full suite of IT systems; and to add a bit of sparkle, we launched an exclusive collection in collaboration with David Beckham (that well known English footballer). After learning an incredible amount at such rapid speed (six months from idea to full launch), I wanted to continue learning and had so much experience to share, consulting was the obvious next step for me. Plus it opened the opportunity to work globally—to date, I have worked in the US, Japan, India, China, Canada, Singapore, Chili and most European countries—not too bad!
After leaving A&M, you came back in a Senior Advisor role to assist in several projects. Can you tell us about your experience working in a Senior Advisor role?
I left A&M but maintained a strong relationship with the CTS team in London. At the time, we were still building our retail and commercial transformation practice, and when I received the call to say, “are you free, can you help us?” I was delighted to get involved. I worked on two engagements as a Senior Advisor, both rapid diagnostics for UK retailers facing cost pressures. We delivered some great work and I immediately felt at home with the team on the ground. I felt proud to be part of the team and I guess I always knew I would be back at some point.
Tell us about your experience with the CTS Europe practice and the skill sets you strengthened/acquired while at A&M?
The deep retail industry experience I have, coupled with the global clients I served, helped strengthen our CTS practice in Europe. Even as a Managing Director, I’m always learning and acquiring new skills, particularly in restructuring and transformation, which is the heart of our offer at A&M.
You recently re-joined A&M as a Managing Director. What were some of your reasons for returning? What would you tell someone who has left and is contemplating coming back?
There were two main reasons I chose to return to A&M. First was the amazing people—highly skilled and competent. I knew I would be an integral part of the team from day 1. Second, I was looking for a position where I could genuinely make a difference for clients, and given the challenges in the retail markets today, A&M was the obvious choice. The type of work we do, the client base we now have, and the amazing case studies we have built over the years puts us in a great place to make our mark in the consulting market.
A&M is a very different business today than when I was previously here; the potential is incredible. When you leave a company, it’s easy to close the chapter and move on, but sometimes re-opening the book and picking up where you left off is not a bad idea!
What do you enjoy most about working with A&M? Do you feel that our core values (quality, personal reward, objectivity, integrity and fun) stand true?
Working with A&M provides incredible opportunities to work on some of the biggest and exciting transformation projects globally—and you don’t get this everywhere. I genuinely believe our core values stand true, and the family feel that Tony Alvarez II, Bryan Marsal, Nick Alvarez and Tony Alvarez III maintain, makes working at A&M very special. I am a strong believer in work hard, learn lots, but have fun along the way.
How does A&M differ from other consulting firms?
A&M is much more entrepreneurial than other consulting firms. The unique balance of industry expertise and consulting experience truly sets us apart. I have been a buyer of consulting services during my time in the retail industry, and no consulting company can genuinely offer what we do.
What are some of your hobbies and passions outside of work?
I am a huge outdoor sports enthusiast—everything from paragliding, skiing, snowboarding, to road cycling. I also love to travel and I have been lucky to be able to see and experience some amazing places around the world as diverse as the Northern Lights in Iceland to the Atacama Desert.