CIVITTA Challengers - Maari Helilaid

At CIVITTA, every project is carried out by a group of individuals that makes the results unique and impactful. To introduce those who are operating behind the scenes, we invite our colleagues to tell their stories.

This time, we asked a Team Lead from Estonia — Maari Helilaid — to share her story with us. Read about what motivates our people to challenge themselves and what it means to be a management consultant — below.

Maari Helilaid

Team Lead at CIVITTA Estonia

I am the team leader of the public sector development team in CIVITTA Estonia. I joined CIVITTA at the beginning of 2020 as a Senior consultant. CIVITTA is actually my first private-sector job, previously I worked in the Ministry of Finance and in the Government Office of Estonia, mostly with EU structural funds and the state budget. I was also a Project Manager of a larger consolidation project and I think this gave me the boost and understanding that change management is something that really gets me going and I would like to be involved in more new initiatives. Luckily, I found CIVITTA where all of this is possible. As for my spare time, I spend it with my family, I like taking long walks with my dog and I also like sewing.

From the beginning, CIVITTA as a company has suited me so well. Here we are really goal- and solutions-oriented, no corporate BS, all colleagues are very helpful and so experienced. In CIVITTA, you never feel alone, you always have a great team around you for support that is important for me.

On how to be a successful consultant

If I have to choose one CIVITTA value out of 4 (values: Growth, Impact, Integrity, Adventure), I would say the impact is something that I relate the most to. When I see that I have really made a difference for the client, that I have been helpful, it is the best feeling. And when the project has already ended, and I read or hear about new initiatives and challenges my client is taking on partly because of the push made by our analysis, I know that all the time and efforts put into the project have paid off.

First, a consultant should be brave and open to new things. There will always be some new situations that you are not familiar with and topics you do not know yet. It is important to be open to these situations and not to be afraid of them. Situations like these give us the opportunity to grow and that is crucial for a consultant. Secondly, a consultant should be good at time management. We have multiple assignments in different projects, so a consultant has to divide his/her time between these assignments and meet all the deadlines. And thirdly, good communication skills are important too. Consultants must talk and interact with different people from different companies and organizations, their teammates, and feel free to ask for help.

On impactful projects

I consider myself lucky because most of my projects have been impactful. If I have to point one in particular, then “Long term view for the construction sector in Estonia” might be one to stand out. Our project ended with a manifest and an agreement between different ministries and private sector organizations and unions describing the steps they will all be taking within the next 15 years. Our analysis was also approved by the Government and hopefully, it will be the basis of a national development plan for the living environment. Negotiations about this potential development plan are ongoing at the moment, and compiling it was one of our most important suggestions.

I think a great consulting project has everything: new things to learn, interesting people to meet and talk to, difficult situations to solve, brilliant ideas to suggest to the client, great challenges to take on. And in the end, the feeling of proudness that you have had the opportunity to be part of it.

On how to keep motivated through the turbulent times

I have two motivators. The first one is me — I like taking on new challenges, learning new things, getting out of my comfort zone and working in CIVITTA offers me all of that. Secondly, I have great colleagues who are so experienced and wise, so I try to do my best to keep up with them.

At CIVITTA I learned a lot. As last year was my first in the consultancy business, everything was new for me. Unfortunately, Covid-19 took over the world, and that showed how important human interaction is. I like going to the office, there is no denial about that but I learned that I will survive working from a distance as well. However, the longer I stay at home, the bigger is the joy of seeing everyone face to face.