Jim, a Director with Clarkston Consulting, shares his career experience and what makes Clarkston unique.

Joining Clarkston

I’m a Director in the Quality and Regulatory area, and this is my 17th year with Clarkston.  Prior to Clarkston, I worked in Quality/Regulatory compliance in the Pharmaceutical, Biologics, and Medical Device industries.  I wanted to make the move to consulting for some time, and when I left my previous employer due to the site closing, I knew it was the right time.  I remember being impressed during my onsite interview by how genuine the Clarkston interviewers were and the types of projects I would support. The impressions were so strong that I decided shortly after my interview, that I would accept. Much to my delight, Clarkston did offer me a position and I have no intention of leaving.

What Makes Clarkston Unique

Our culture is what makes Clarkston unique.  After 27 years in “big pharma,” it was a delight to experience our culture where we view each other as equal players on the Clarkston team, where there is a high level of trust among us, where we go out of our way to help each other, and we always know that we can rely on each other.  Yes, Clarkston has competitive salaries and benefits, but that alone isn’t what makes Clarkston a great place to work. One thing I like about working for Clarkston is that we get to see how different clients address the same issues.  This has been very beneficial to me through the years as I could select the best practices from each client and combine them with my own ideas to build my expertise in a rapid and efficient manner.

Clarkston vs. Competitors

One thing that sets us apart from other firms is how close we are, both professionally and personally.  On a professional level, we do not hesitate to reach out to each other for insight, knowledge, or simply confirmation of a pending decision. On a personal level, I think of our company meetings where I not only look forward to catching up with Clarkston colleagues, but in some cases, their families. Over the years I have spoken with people from other firms, both smaller and larger than Clarkston, and in all cases the people were quick to admit that it is not like that at all with their firm, or at least to the degree it is with Clarkston.

Our average level of experience is greater than that of most other consulting firms, particularly the big firms. This is beneficial both to our clients and our stewards who benefit from our greater average experience. A client once remarked that he knew Clarkston from his previous employer and indicated that he liked Clarkston “because Clarkston sends experienced people with expertise and the big firms send kids with templates.”

Staying with Clarkston

I was asked this very question a few years ago by a Clarkston steward who has been with the firm longer than I have. Usually, I make it a point to think before I speak but in this case I responded with “our culture” then realized I feel so strongly about this that I spoke without thinking. I asked him the same question and received the same answer. Yes, there are other places to work that probably have comparable pay and benefits, but I have never heard of and can’t imagine anywhere that has the culture we have. Over the years I have spoken with consultants from other firms and without exception they can’t say the same about their firm.

Throughout Clarkston and throughout my tenure with Clarkston, there is a consistent drive to deliver brilliant client service by the entire firm. This is in line with my personal values and it is nice to know before I start a new project that whoever my Clarkston teammates will be, they will have the same high standards.

Another thing that keeps me with Clarkston is our freedom and entrepreneurial mindset.  Ideas about business development or new approaches are welcomed and not met with a “that’s not how we do it here” mindset.