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20 Questions…Gia Fisher

This edition of 20 Questions is with Gia Fisher who is Global Head of IT, EMEA/The Americas – Cyber Security Solutions, Digital Transformation & Analytics for a tier 1 consulting firm.

Gia Fisher

What was your first job?  Dietary Sciences Assistant at Virginia State University

Who’s influenced your career most (and why)? My parents, because they are huge advocates for education and knowledge of current events from a global perspective.  This style of training from my parents started when I was pre-teen, and still an active conversation to date.  It is because of my multi cultural background and this grooming from my parents, that has allowed me to flourish in my career to date.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone?  Always stay ahead of the knowledge game.  Understand trends in any vertical industry space, so that you are a valued asset for any organization you choose to work for.

What’s the best/worst quality in a leader? Best quality is being a team player, and knowing that you are only as good as those individuals that work for you.  When you showcase a desire to get in the trenches with your team, they will value you as a leader and will work relentlessly for you and the organization in concert. Worst quality in a leader, managing by fear.  We are all adults, and the worst leader is one that doesn’t know how to balance firm yet fair.  Also, not fully understanding the dynamics of the area you manage.  Understanding theory is great, but one had to have a level of practicum experience under their belt to be taken seriously, and have the capability to lead of team of individuals, that execute practicum skills on a daily basis.

What was the worst piece of advice you’ve been given?  There are many, but one that stands out would be during my first 5 yrs of my career my boss instructed me to withhold critical information to a business unit that would have benefited from knowing said critical information.

What was your best meeting ever (and why)?  Unfortunately, the best meetings ever would be confidential client meetings that I can’t discuss, but I will say the overall premise would be navigating a client from spending more then they should to actually less capital being spent, with a ROI of securing a technical environment that took them from 70% productivity to 90% productivity in 1 quarter.

What did you want to be as a child? A chef

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing? Travel Writer

Tell us about a turning point in your career; When I fully understood the goal of a global corporation, and used that knowledge as my baseline to deliver solutions that satisfied that goal.

What was your worst mistake (and what did you learn)? Not understanding the above and functioning on emotional as oppose to logical/realistic road maps.

What’s your favorite holiday destination? Spending time with my family in the USA and in Europe.

What are you passionate about? Work/Life balance

Who’s your business or personal hero/heroine? My parents

What’s your favorite quote or motto? Successful people make quick decisions

What’s your greatest business achievement? Partnering with business C-Suite executives to achieve goals often thought unattainable.

What’s your greatest personal achievement? Providing guidance and support to my family

What’s your favorite gadget? My Kindle Fire and my Roku box.

What would you choose as your last meal? A nice cut mid-western grown steak, steamed spinach and for dessert…double fudge chocolate cake

What’s your all-time favorite book (and why)? “The Secret” because what we can vision can become a reality, via a vision board.

Which one person, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with? My father, who has been deceased since 1983.  I want to show him I did listen and have followed his advice, thus my advanced status in my career to date.

WISH YOU WERE HERE: Ariela Picciotto

Each quarter we’re going to be talking to an individual who has spent some time working abroad to see what it’s really like. In this issue, Ariela Picciotto shares her experiences of working in New York. Ariela spent two years working for EY in Rome before completing an MBA at Columbia University in New York.

Why did you decide to stay on in New York after your MBA ?
I wanted to experience life in New York outside of the “bubble” of Columbia. I felt like there was so much that I could still learn and experience in the city. And, looking back, I am glad I did! There is a very special energy in New York, a hunger to do more and be better, and I am grateful I got to take it all in and be a part of it.

How did you find your roles?
I found my roles after business school mainly through networking within the Columbia community.

What about the practicalities of work permits ?
Work permits and Visas are definitely the biggest pain point for non-citizens looking to work in the USA. I was lucky enough to be able to get my work Visa, and when I talk about luck that’s really what it was, I passed a lottery and my petition was approved. My advice to anyone wanting to get a work permit in the US would be to contact an immigration attorney and understand the nuances of the different Visas, what they require, what the process is and take it from there.

What did you most enjoy about your time there?
The city offers unlimited opportunities, there is really everything one could ask for and it’s all about finding your place, what you enjoy and what you want to get out of it. But, if I had to pick one thing that made New York special for me, it would be that feeling it gives you that everything can be achieved if you really want it and work hard for it. Even though this might come as a surprise, people are really generally happy to help you because they have a lot of dreams too, and that makes for very interesting connections!

And the downsides?
The biggest downside for me was the terrible New York winters. Being Italian, it’s hard to even understand how anyone could survive with months in a row of temperatures around -15 Celsius!

What do you think are the main differences between working in Europe and the USA?
I think that the main differences between working in Europe and in the USA are connected to cultural differences. The hardest one for me to get accustomed to was the vacation days, in the US most people don’t even take the few days of vacation they have and even one full week seems like a lot to them!

Any advice you’d give to someone interested in working in New York?
Figure out the Visa situation and go from there! Don’t give up and use your network as much as you can.

And finally …..putting work to one side …..any tips for us for restaurants/bars off the tourist trail ?
First of all avoid Times Square bars and restaurants at any cost! A few of my personal favorites are Red Farm (a little modern Chinese gem in the west village and the UWS), ABC Kitchen (modern American in the Flatiron area) and Tacombi (unpretentious Mexican in a Tribeca garage). There are bars and restaurants for every taste so it really depends on what you like. As a general recommendation I would suggest you just walk around the West Village, Tribeca, the East Village and the LES and see what catches your eye!

If you’d like to contribute to our new regular feature with your experience of working overseas please do get in touch with your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!

New York

Will four become five?

There’s been speculation recently that ex-Chief Executive of Deloitte UK John Connolly is working with private equity firm HgCapital on establishing a rival to disrupt the Big Four accountancy firms. This can come as only good news to people that have been crying out for more competition in a market that has been dominated by the usual suspects for some time now. Follow the link below for more details.



Can you recruit better than Mourinho, Guardiola, Klopp….or BLT?

With reality comes fantasy. And when reality currently means unpredictability and caution – why not allow yourself to indulge in some fantasy where money is of no object and those pesky ‘real world’ issues don’t apply? BLT can offer that escape; Fantasy Football League time is upon us again….

Brexit definitely hasn’t had a chilling effect on the top premiership clubs; with the new football season imminent there is some serious recruiting going on!

In the management consulting world things are mostly positive but there is definitely more than a note of caution regarding investments and the hiring of foreign nationals who may or may not need special visas down the line.

It seems these are laughable notions in the football world.

Whether it’s West Ham making wholesale changes by bringing in 9 new recruits of 9 different nationalities (and letting go of 12), or Manchester United paying a world record fee for Frenchman Paul Pogba, ‘caution’ is not exactly part of the vocabulary.

In the Premiership, ‘caution’ is a word more likely to be proceeded by ‘police’ when the latest Bentley or Aston Martin is crashed after one too many glasses of Cristal.

Anyway, it all makes for an exciting looking premiership season ahead.

With that in mind, BLT would like to invite all readers to join the BLT Fantasy Football League. It’s free to join, easy to set up a team and there will be a prize for the winner. But hurry – the season starts on Saturday 13th August!!

The link is here: and once you’ve set up a team just use the pin 812804-224541 to join our league. Easy peasy!

We will be publishing the latest league tables throughout the season in our BLT Monthly Snapshot and BLT Quarterly publications. If you don’t already receive them then drop us an email at with the subject header ‘Fantasy Football’and we’ll add you to the mailing list.

We look forward to you joining up.

Happy recruiting!

Fantasy Football

Does the advertising guru from Saatchi and Saatchi have a point in the gender debate ?

Much has been written in the last few days about the comments by Kevin Roberts the Chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi around the gender diversity (or lack of it) within the advertising industry.   The parent company Publicis were quick to banish him to a period of leave of absence after he dismissed the gender bias debate in his industry with his comments that it’s “over”.  He faced further condemnation for his view that women are content with a “circle of happiness” and don’t aspire to the top jobs!

Now, I don’t know much about the advertising sector, but I do know about life in the management consultancy sector and can only assume that historically they have faced similar scenarios….white men in senior positions.  However, from what I can see in management consultancy,  the firms are making genuine efforts to not only attract but also retain their female consultants, through generous maternity benefits, career breaks, openings for returners , and possibly some flexibility on hours, although this is undoubtedly easier to negotiate with a current employer than a new one.

So far so good…..however, the harsh reality is that in order to reach the top you’ll have to make work your number one priority, to work five very full days, and often  some weekend time too, to give up your own time in the evening for work events, to change your plans at no notice to fit in with client deadlines.  While his comments may have been ill judged from a man in such a senior position, I can’t help but think there is some truth to the advertising man’s idea of a “circle of happiness”…for men as well as women!  Surely it is more attractive to have a rich and varied circle of life which yes will include a challenging career …yet can also include children and wider family,  friends, leisure time, holidays (which you find time to take and actually enjoy!) …and even some time to do nothing at all! The opportunities for progression are there for women in corporate life, in a way that they didn’t exist even when I first joined the workplace …..but sometimes the sacrifices mean it’s a path many women (and men) choose not to pursue.




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