Life at Deloitte
Career Journey: Jillian McGhan
Sailor, traveler, bibliophile
“There is always a new challenge to confront, always some new endeavor to tackle. And that's what really drew me toward the consulting world, specifically government consulting.” — Jillian McGhan, Consulting, Rosslyn
- Child actor turns consultant
- Embrace team problem-solving
- Maryland sailing
- Jillian's Interviews
I’ve been up for 48 hours straight chasing pirates off the Gulf of Oman in 100-degree plus weather. It makes sitting in an office and trying to meet client deadlines seem a little less stressful.
Child actor turns consultant
Jillian McGhan has already had three careers. First as a child actor who appeared in Jell-O, Reese’s, and Playskool commercials and on “Live with Regis and Kathy Lee.” She jokes that she retired at age 11 to “focus on more important pursuits like soccer and middle school.” Then came eight years as a Surface Warfare Officer onboard the USS Farragut, where she completed two deployments and conducted anti-piracy operations. “We were frequently in close proximity with foreign warships and interrupted seven piracy attempts,” she says. It was a decidedly more demanding career than her first, and one she still pursues as a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy Reserve.
Upon leaving active duty, Jillian attended Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. There, she authored and conducted research for papers on technology and terrorism, including her colorfully titled thesis: “Whack-A-Mole in the Gulf of Aden: An Assessment of al-Shabaab’s Effect on the Decline of Somali Piracy.” She graduated with a master’s in Security Studies and sailed on into career number three—Deloitte—in 2015.
Embrace team problem-solving
Consulting wasn’t a career she had ever really considered, but first learned about while attending Georgetown from Deloitte Federal Practice recruiters. As Jillian assessed her options, she realized that consulting “is a way that I could help solve government problems and continue service to the government, while still working for the private sector.”
In consulting, Jillian’s found that she applies what she learned in the US Navy. “I think the team dynamic and its influence on problem-solving is absolutely a crucial application of my time in the military.” She says that Deloitte really embraces team problem-solving, that no one person is going to have the “answer to what’s plaguing an entire organization.” She enjoys that team approach.
There are differences too. “It was challenging for me to walk into a Director’s office and call him or her by their first name.” But the culture at Deloitte has helped her adapt quickly. She says the culture is welcoming, embraces access to senior leaders and encourages mentorship and networking. “It really makes the process a lot less daunting,” she says.
Day to day, Jillian works in the Human Capital practice helping federal agencies amid organizational and strategic transformation. Jillian and her team are currently assisting the US Navy Naval Aviation Systems Command achieve a major financial operating model transformation. It’s something that’s particularly close to her heart, since her husband is an active duty Naval aviator. Her work ultimately helps make the US Navy’s financial processes more effective, which makes aircraft maintenance better and more efficient.
Jillian and her husband remain connected to the sea. They own a small Hobie Cat they like to flip occasionally, just for fun. They also added to their fleet in 2014 and bought a 25 foot used sailboat that they are fixing it up. “Maryland is beautiful for sailing,” she says, “especially in the fall.” They raced their boats this past summer—“We’re highly competitive.” Who knows, maybe this is career number four?
To put it simply, everyone I spoke with, when I was interviewing with Deloitte, impressed me with their intelligence, their work ethic, their professionalism.