Season 2, Episode 9: Frances Symes ’14, Human Capital Consulting, with Amy Kundrat ’21
Frances Symes is a 2014 graduate of Yale SOM. She works as a manager in the Workforce Transformation group of Deloitte’s Human Capital practice. She is interviewed by Amy Kundrat ’21.
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About Frances Symes
Frances Symes is a manager in the Workforce Transformation group of Deloitte’s Human Capital practice. She has been with Deloitte for 5 years, and has served clients across multiple industries in leading large scale change efforts as well as conducting talent and learning initiatives. She has built expertise and a passion for a broad range of organizational and people topics—including upskilling and reskilling the workforce, change leadership, and the Future of Work. She is trained as a Greenhouse Lab manager and facilitator and loves designing and facilitating client workshops and “breakthrough” sessions.
Before joining Deloitte, Frances earned her MBA from the Yale School of Management. She previously worked as a journalist on Capitol Hill, reporting for CQ Roll Call. Before that she served as a Princeton in Asia fellow in Chiang Rai, Thailand, where she taught English as a Second Language for a year. She received her BA in Religion with a minor in American Studies from Princeton University.
Frances serves on the board of the Maria Mitchell Association in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and is an active member of her Episcopal church in Washington, DC, where she has served as a member of the rector search committee. She is a native Washingtonian and recently returned to live in the Washington, DC area after stints in New Haven and New York City.
Frances Symes: (05:48)
Human Capital Consulting and particularly change management, which I've done a lot of, can be a little emotional. It can be a little political, right? And so I'd say, interestingly, there's a few qualities. One is the ability to be empathetic and to understand why someone would reject something, particularly change, but not be thrown off. To be optimistic and to be a problem solver, and to have that can-do spirit of, "Yes, this is hard, but this is why we're going to do it." And so that ability to lean in.
Frances Symes: (13:52) Any given skill that you need in your workforce, you need to think about whether you build, buy, or borrow that skill. Build means you're going to up-skill your own workforce, and you probably want to do that if it's a really common skill you need across the board. Buy is a specialized skill that you really need in-house. You really need an expert on your Oracle system, right? Because you're going to be asking them questions all the time, and they're going to have proprietary information. But borrow are things that you could put out to the gig workforce because you only need it a few hours a week. You're never going to be able to afford the talent of that specialized skill.
Frances Symes: (20:18) I find the most meaning in helping other people achieve the things they would like to achieve and helping them be the best they can be. And I just find just great value both personally and professionally in being in a situation with someone where they're not sure what the path forward is and helping them come to a realization about what they could do, and then seeing the fruits of that.
Frances Symes: (21:08) When I was a first year was that I co-founded the Voices program, which is the storytelling program that happens once a week where students get up and give a personal narrative about some experience that they've had and then open it up to questions and answers. One of the greatest gifts of being one of the co-founders is that I went to every single one while I was at SOM. So I almost see it as another course, that I had this incredible experience of every week, first getting to prep some of my classmates to tell their stories, which was a great experience, and then to be there to hear them. And some of my strongest memories from SOM still are some of those specific stories that people told. Real revelations about life.
About Career Conversations
In this podcast series, SOM students sit down with alumni for a series of candid conversations about career paths, industries, opportunities for MBAs, and discussions on various career topics including work-life balance and creating a meaningful impact in business and society. This series is produced by and recorded at the Yale School of Management.