I'm a Healthcare Consultant for a large consulting firm headquarted in the D.C. area. I feel like I've been struggling to get the mentorship and guidance I need as a young, black female. I work very hard and I've been told by higher ups that they see my "potential". I just had a great performance review, but received a low raise and no promotion compared to others with similar background and skillset. I just feel lost and don't know how to move forward.

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You should leave. If they won’t make the investment then there’s no need in fighting an uphill battle. Someone somewhere will invest in you. Make it your mission to find them.

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And I don’t mean this lightly. You have data to substantiate your performance and recognition. Don’t get caught in a rut trying to play the firm game. Just leave.

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I’ve been there. How long have you been at your current firm? Sometimes it takes time. The other thing to keep in mind is that you May have to start building relationships with those mentors and sponsors and I found it easiest to do it with other on my project team

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It may be worth leaving or exploring other opportunities as others mentioned. By year 2 if you’re feeling this way, then either seek feedback from leaders (ask for honesty) to why they didn’t promote you. If it’s something you can work towards consider staying. If it’s something you feel you’ve done and are just being gaslit, explore other firms. Consulting is a tough place; it’s an industry built on network, who’s sees your potential, etc. don’t waste too much time

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Had the exact same experience, being told I’m doing well but the comp/bonus/promo track didn’t reflect it. Just left for a fat raise at another firm

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Leave ASAP.

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When you say you ‘put yourself out there’ - are you networking and looking outside of your direct supervisor for mentorship?

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EY 2 can I DM you?

So leaving isn’t the exact answer...What you are experiencing is “consulting while black” and you will have this same experience to some degree wherever you go, so you’re going to need to add some new skills to your toolbox. Since it sounds like you already have great skills in the execution of your work, it’s the other stuff you prolly need to work on since they’re using the “potential” term but not getting the promo. I would suggest starting with the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Why because honestly, success in consulting is all about making ppl like you or making ppl need you. To do that you fundamentally have to know how to read ppl and influence ppl (in my day we called it “pimpin” but eh that’s considered politically incorrect now...) and Emotional Intelligence is fundamentally the “politically correct” term for “pimpin” 🤣🤣. EI 2.0 is one of the best books out there to give you a foundation in understanding, developing and applying EQ. Now if you’re interested here’s a couple other nuggets... 1) Mentorship and guidance is hard to find for us in this business so if you can’t find a person to do it, you’ll need to turn to books, podcast, Ted Talks, fishbowl et al to get it. Remember most of the bs in this business is the same regardless of where you are, in my day we used to say “the names of the white ppl may change but they stay the same”, so use black consulting forums like this and others to find a mentor. 2) Sponsorship is a whole other level, because to get someone to sponsor you they have to not just like you, they need to care about you. Getting someone of a different race to care about you, is akin to getting a “Lion to lie with a Lamb” it happens but not often. So my advice is rather than seek sponsorship, seek to become a “retainer”, to do this you will need to become needed. This goes to C1s point about “it taking time”. This will require you to potentially venture outside your comfort zone and take on “impossible missions” but if you are successful you will become an invaluable asset and will have negotiating power. Virtually all of the successful black partners and CEOs since. 1990 have used this approach.

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