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We sat down with Jon and Francesca to chat about their new roles and what they’re most excited about this year.

Congratulations! This is a very exciting promotion for you both.

Jon, you’ve had quite the journey with Gate One! You started off as a director here in 2014, then moved in-house for several years at GSK, before returning to Gate One in 2022. Why did you decide to come back to Gate One?

Jon: I’ve had an interesting career to date. I started in consultancy, then had a period at GSK where I was part of the team that led the separation of GSK and creation of the new consumer health company, Haleon. I think off the back of that, the reason that I came back was that I felt I had more to offer consultancy. By that point, I’d experienced the best of both worlds – consultancy and advisory experience as a foundation, now with the added insights and experiences of working client side.

Jon Breger

And how are you feeling about your new role as partner? 

Jon: I’m really excited about it. I’m excited about the opportunity it will bring and energised about the next stage of the journey for both myself and Gate One.

Francesca Gualano

Francesca, you’ve progressed within Gate One since arriving as a principal in 2020. How are you feeling about the new opportunity?  

Francesca: It’s the pinnacle moment in the career of a consultant, I feel excited but it’s also a self-questioning experience, implying a somehow new professional identity. I feel lucky to have great role models at Gate One, such as Ben Tye, David Holliday, Umbar Shakir, among many others, who have provided the guidance and helped me along the way.

How do you feel that your career so far will support and enhance your role in the partner team?

Jon: Having worked industry/client side as well, I understand the different nuances, priorities, challenges and how it feels on that side of things. This adds a new dimension to my consulting experience which I can bring into the team. No doubt me and Francesca will both add our own spin and bring our own perspectives to the partner team. I’m looking forward to being part of it, seeing what we collectively can do as a team this upcoming year.

Francesca: I agree with Jon. The diversity of our backgrounds can bring different perspectives to the team. My experience has been purely in consulting supporting senior leaders in major transformations working across probably more than 20 different countries. My history working based in the UK is relatively recent as I only moved to London in 2019 to attend the Sloan programme in London Business School, before joining Gate One in 2020. My background is in strategy and digital with a twist in the direction of innovation and entrepreneurship, that is what has always fascinated me. What I can bring into the team is a strong international background and experience working in highly multicultural environments, and a relentless curiosity working on projects that are often ground-breaking for our clients.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Gate One?

Jon: That’s an easy one for me. The people here, the energy, the culture; there’s generally a buzz around the office and when you’re around colleagues. I also continually learn from people at all levels here. There are always things I can learn from the team, from the junior folks all the way up to the top. It’s a great group of people, that’s what I like the most.

Francesca: The authenticity and uniqueness of its value and how we live them on a day-by-day basis. It’s not just nice-sounding words, underneath there’s the true realisation that culture is a system for long term performance, and that a culture rich with developmental support makes the difference.

What are you most excited for this year?

Jon: Other than Euro 2024? Haha. No in all seriousness, it’s not just one thing. I’m excited for the new experiences, new interactions, new challenges. Plus, there are all of the opportunities through our relationship with Havas and what we can continue to bring to the market in partnership with them.

Francesca: It’s a very interesting moment for the consulting industry with disruptive forces at play, for example the explosion of artificial intelligence and generative AI that are changing our clients’ and our teams’ working ways, and contradictory tendencies, with long term transitions towards sustainability and cost pressures continuing to force organisations to focus on the day by day instead. I am genuinely curious to see how all this will pan out and think that Havas and Gate One have many tools in their armoury, driven by our strong culture, nimbleness, creativity and courage to experiment.

Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Jon: It’s tricky to pick one. Seek first to understand, then be understood from Stephen Covey. I think that’s something I continue to hold on to, because it keeps my focus on other people, their feelings, their views, their perspectives. It’s advice I bring to both work and my personal life too.

Francesca: There are many. Not always applied straight away. Sometimes they have taken years to digest and put in practice or learn unconsciously. One above all that proved to be true for me thinking about it looking back at my career is “it’s not about what you do, but who you do it with”. I am very thankful to the bright professionals I worked with over the years, colleagues and clients as well, for their support and the opportunity they gave me to learn from them.

Ben Tye

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