Exclusive Interview with Kim Christfort; National Managing Director of The Deloitte Greenhouse™ & Book Author, Helping Executives Tackle Tough Business Challenges
Kim Christfort is the national managing director of The Deloitte Greenhouse™ Experience team, which helps executives tackle tough business challenges through immersive, facilitated Lab experiences, and client experience IP such as Business Chemistry. As part of this role, Kim leads US Deloitte Greenhouses, permanent spaces designed to promote exploration and problem solving away from business as usual.
Q: Can you tell our audience about your position at Deloitte?
KC: I lead the Deloitte Greenhouse Experience group where we design and facilitate experiences that help business executives and their teams uncover opportunities and accelerate breakthroughs.
Q: What excites you most about your role?
KC: I love focusing on the human factors that often underlie business challenges and engineering ways to unlock and harness a group’s potential through immersive experiences. Our work is creative and innovative, and lets me blend my background in science with my personal passion for art and theater – all while creating meaningful impact. It’s my dream job!
Q: What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment?
KC: Through my work around client experiences, we’ve fundamentally shifted the mindset of our firm to be more focused on relationships, empathy, and connecting at a human level. The degree of global adoption we’ve seen around our working style system Business Chemistry, for instance, or our immersive Lab workshops, demonstrates the value our partners and people see in these human-oriented tools and experiences.
Q: Which women inspire you and why?
KC: I’m inspired by women who aren’t afraid to be authentic, who forge new ground, and who bring others along on their journey.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face in your industry today?
KC: The corporate world is male-dominated and lacks significant diversity, particularly in the senior ranks. Young women not only lack role models, but also peers, which is a problem when they are trying to relate to others, envision their future, and network. I’ve been fortunate to have many male mentors who I have looked up to and related to, but that proxy doesn’t provide quite the same sense of “belonging” and relevance that comes from seeing women in key leadership roles.
Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?
KC: I have twin 9-year-old boys, an entrepreneur husband, a dog, and a fish, and I lead a national team with clients all over the country - so I travel a lot. To make it all gel-together I try to focus on quality versus quantity, and be around for the things that matter – at home…the school presentations, the dinner parties, reading a book when I tuck them into bed, and at work…the in-person group sessions and one-on-one mentoring – and be fully in the moment for whatever I’m doing. I also make sure that I block out time for myself a few times a week, for things like Pilates, reading a book, or painting. I’m flexible with when and where I work to fit everything in (I’m fanatical about optimizing time) and love when I can get two birds with one stone, like doing a walking meeting, or folding laundry while I’m on a conference call!
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
KC: You often have more ability to shape your jobs than you may think. Figure out what you can uniquely bring to your role, or propose a new role that meets the business objectives while better playing to your strengths. Think of your job as Lego blocks in a career you are trying to build. Some might not be your dream jobs, but they give you foundational skills, credibility, and access that you’ll need later. And actively seek mentors that can help you envision what’s possible and can help you get there.
Five Things About Kim Christfort
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
I’m fascinated by Da Vinci - his pursuit of such a wide variety of passions, his curiosity and inventiveness, and his affiliation with various patrons and historical events.
2. What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Be kind. It’s seemingly simple but powerful. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be tough and make difficult decisions, but the way that you approach things should be good-spirited and respect the humanity in others.
3. Where is your dream vacation?
A white sand beach with turquoise water. Maui is my go-to happy place, but I’ll take any beautiful tropical island!
4. If you were a superhero, what would your special powers be?
It would be amazing to be able to heal injuries. Before going into business I was pre-med and worked in an ER. It was an incredible experience to be able to positively intervene in critical moments.
5. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Go for a hike with my family, paint, or read. Or sit by a fire with loved ones and drink a great glass of wine after a fabulous meal!