In this installment of the Women Who Wow series, get to know Nita Sanger.
Nita is the Chief Executive Officer of Idea Innovate Consulting, a boutique strategy consulting firm transforming businesses for growth in professional, financial and legal services. In addition, Nita is a Managing Director at Corporate Legal Innovation Consultants (CLIC), a consulting company focused on the legal industry and the Chief Operating Officer at In the House, a community for innovative general counsel.
Nita is a C-suite expert with more than 20 years of strategy and operations experience, transforming and scaling businesses for growth at global large and mid-sized corporates, and start-ups. In her previous roles, she assisted businesses to redesign their processes, reduce costs, optimize M&A /post-merger integrations, and drive talent and change management.
Why did you choose your profession?
I chose consulting because I really enjoy what consulting is about – problem solving. It is like seeing all the pieces of a puzzle, and then putting them together to create a complete image. I like going into a company or project, understand what their issues are, those that they articulate and those that are underlying, figure out how to solve them and then put a roadmap for helping the firm or business achieve long term success.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love being able to successfully solve the puzzle, which is each consulting assignment. Also I really enjoy the variety of issues that I see and then customizing solutions that are the best fit for the corporation or business I am dealing with.
Tell us about a woman you look up to and why. Which woman most inspires you and why?
I am not able to pick one single women that I admire. There are many. Some of the ones that I would like to name are: Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Mother Theresa. This is by no means an exhaustive list. The common thread is that they overcame numerous odds to be successful, each one defined what success meant to her and then went ahead to make the difference.
Do you have a mentor?
I have had various friends, mentors and sponsors who have guided me throughout my career. The main difference between the three is: a friend is someone with whom you can share your fears and insecurities and they honestly give you their input, mentors are those that can guide you professionally, however the most important are sponsors, who are willing to “pound the table” for you and play a critical role in helping you move up in your career. I think I find that I now want to be able to give back and make a conscious effort to mentor women and guide and help them be successful in their career and business.
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? What advice would you give to women in your field?
I would suggest to women you want to succeed, be clear what you want to achieve, but do remember that the workplace is your job, not your life. Do not miss out on the key moments in your personal life, for work, because you can be replaced at work but not in your personal life. However, when you at work, give it your best, do not be shy about asking for additional responsibilities and promotions. Speak up about things that you feel strongly about.
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
I wish I had told my younger self some of the things that I mentioned above. In addition, I would have told my younger self “it will all work out.” Do not be afraid to take chances and stretch assignments, those will help you grow. Even if you fail, fail fast, learn lessons from those failures and continue moving forward.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
The best career advice that I received was, “Be hungry to learn. You do not know from whom and from where your next lesson will come.” I found that to be so true. Given that we are living in a world that is constantly changing, it is critical that we are open to always learning.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
I think it is hard to achieve perfect work/life balance. They key is to have your priorities correct and determine what is most important to you and work to balance between your priorities. There are going to be times when one gets prioritized over the other, and that is fine. Make sure that your leaders at work are aware of your home priorities and commitments and that your family understands your work commitments. The key is to make sure that you communicate about them constantly.
How are you breaking barriers faced by women in your field?
It is hard to break the barriers that you face at work. I find that more and more women are looking to start their own business or do their own thing so that they have more control on their career, in addition to having flexibility in their personal lives. After having been in corporate America for so long, I am now trying to do the same – set up my own business, so that I can have more control and flexibility and do what I really enjoy – consulting and advising companies.
What do you think is the key for success in a role like yours?
The two things that are critical for success in my role are “good people skills,” that includes hearing what people are saying and then picking up the cues on what is being left unsaid and secondly, the ability to “see the forest for the trees,” i.e. understand the big picture, within which the business operates and then be able to “get into the weeds” and deliver tactical advice.