Boston-based consultant Rachael Martino opens up about how SEI has supported her independent work style and empowered her to rise to new challenges.
Having worked at employee-owned firms in the past, Boston consultant Rachael Martino is no stranger to workplace ownership. She began her IT career with independent consulting engagements, building database systems and eventually accepting a full-time position in IT application development at a civil engineering consulting firm. Working at an employee-owned business appealed to Rachael, as it empowered her and her teammates to lead key decision-making processes, offer their input freely, and take accountability for shared business goals.
After spending seventeen years with the organization — and earning two master’s degrees from MIT along the way — Rachael decided she wanted to return to consulting. She left her role as an IT program director and joined a small firm as a consultant. But it just wasn’t the same. “It’s different when you’re working for your own company,” she explains. “That feeling of ownership was something I really missed.”
Fusing Autonomy and Teamwork
She found herself at a turning point: should she go back to independent consulting, as she had done at the dawn of her career, or try something entirely different? “That’s when SEI reached out,” she recalls.
As she began the interview process at SEI, Rachael was struck by the intelligence and determination of the firm’s employees. Every team member brought a unique perspective to the table and put different emphases on what was important to them.
By the time she found herself in her first SEI staff meeting, she says, “I thought to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a high-performing team; I have to really bring my ‘A’ game!’” Rachael laughs. “It was exciting, though — I love feeling that those around me are helping me stretch and grow.”
This is a resounding sentiment at SEI: employees bring their best selves to work, and challenge their colleagues to do the same.
Taking a Solution Agnostic Approach
Rachael finds value not only in the strong sense of community she’s found at SEI, but also in the firm’s philosophy of problem-solving for clients. Rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach to specific projects — or maintaining partnerships that necessitate that they recommend specific solutions — SEI consultants listen deeply to the client’s pain points, embed themselves in the company’s culture, and develop bespoke solutions that deliver real value.
“We’re in the business of creating solutions that are specifically designed to meet clients’ unique needs,” Rachael explains, dubbing SEI a “solution agnostic firm” – instead of being driven by a need to follow a template or to land and expand, SEI’s top priority is solving business problems at small and large scales to deliver value to the business.
Since joining SEI, Rachael has contributed to this philosophy in her own work. Some of the most rewarding projects she’s worked on have involved CRM integration and data engineering, as well as solution architecture for ongoing enterprise integrations. For one project, Rachael designed and led implementation for a custom team building tool to integrate a pharmaceutical company’s CRM and content management platforms, ensuring compliance and tracking content usage. The solution ensured that medical staff could easily find content and present to clients on the latest software, confident that they were delivering the most up-to-date information in all communications.
Getting By with a Little Help from SEI
Despite her undeniable skills and experience, Rachael knows she can still rely on the entire SEI team for support whenever she needs. “On a recent project, I was tasked with building a highly customized search engine incorporating content analysis,” she says. “It included some new territory for me. Luckily, I knew I could reach out to my colleagues; they’re always willing and able to help.” SEI team members volunteered their expertise and enhanced Rachael’s knowledge, providing her with a solid foundation that enabled her to get started on a prototype with confidence. This team effort empowered Rachael to move forward independently — the way she works best — while also supplying her with the tools necessary to succeed.
The moment also taught Rachael a valuable lesson: at SEI, you are a part of a knowledgeable, experienced, and innovative team that will always have your back. “As a former independent consultant, this is a blessing,” she says. At SEI, Rachael reaps all the benefits of a supportive network while maintaining the independence on which she thrives.
What Sets SEI Apart
Rachael will celebrate her fourth year with SEI this April — in her time at the company, Rachael has played a key role in developing and enhancing the firm’s data & analytics practice, particularly in the greater Boston area. And Rachael knows SEI is a special place. “Transparency and ownership differentiate SEI from other firms,” she remarks. “Employees know what’s happening within the business, and we all work on the next big thing, together, but in our own ways.”
Unlike some consulting organizations that thrive on internal competition and tiered engagement structures, SEI’s employee ownership model is a flat, collaborative group of employees who work with and for one another. For Rachael, knowing that you’re never facing a challenge alone is what’s at the heart of SEI.