Tom Lawrie, Partner, Wavestone

Tom Lawrie is a Partner at Wavestone, a leading independent transformation consultancy with a global presence of over 5,500 consultants across 17 countries. Based in the UK, he oversees the Insurance and CIO Advisory services, blending deep technological expertise with industry insights to deliver strategic solutions for clients. Tom is renowned for his proficiency in enhancing performance and driving cost efficiencies, having led impactful technology efficiency and implementation projects for top UK banks and multinational insurers. His seasoned counsel has solidified his reputation as a trusted advisor to senior executives in the industry.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with Digital First Magazine, Tom shared his professional trajectory, insights on the rapid pace of technological advancements in the last 5 years, significant career milestone, future plans, pearls of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Tom. Please tell us about your background and areas of expertise.

I’m a seasoned career consultant with over 13 years of expertise in advising on critical technology topics. My educational background includes a Master’s degree in Civil & Coastal Engineering and a Postgraduate degree in Business Administration from Warwick Business School. I was drawn into consulting after University and started my career in the Infrastructure and Oil & Gas sectors and later transitioned to Financial Services, where I have focused on delivering strategic insights and solutions to optimize technology performance and drive business growth.

What do you love the most about your current role?

What I love most about my current role in the consulting sector is the dynamic intersection of working with people and staying at the forefront of technology evolution. Consulting is inherently a people business, and I thrive on collaborating closely with my clients and colleagues to deliver impactful outcomes. Simultaneously, being immersed in the rapidly evolving technology landscape keeps me engaged and inspired. It’s exciting to navigate this ever-changing environment, leveraging emerging technologies to innovate and solve complex problems for our clients. This dual focus on people and technology allows me to continuously learn and adapt, ensuring our solutions remain cutting-edge and relevant.

What are the three major trends do you foresee in your industry in the next 12 months?

Looking ahead over the next 12 months, I foresee several pivotal trends shaping our industry. Firstly, the increase in focus on further integrating climate crisis considerations into consulting services is leading to clients prioritizing sustainability and carbon footprint reduction strategies. Secondly, there is a growing demand for companies requiring consulting teams from diverse locations, working seamlessly, without geographic restrictions or conflicts of interest. At Wavestone, we have long operated under a single P&L model, facilitating agile and culturally adept solutions across borders. I have frequently work within geographically diverse teams and can see the real value it brings to our clients. Thirdly, companies will continue to adopt cutting-edge technologies thoughtfully. I see consulting firms having a big role to play in this to ensure ethical use, cybersecurity, and human-centric implementation. These trends highlight the evolving landscape where sustainability, global operational capability, and responsible technology integration drive industry evolution.

What changes have you seen in technology, that you couldn’t have imagined 5 years ago?

Reflecting on the last five years, the pace of technological advancement has been breathtaking. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have progressed rapidly, fundamentally altering various industries. Innovations like self-driving cars, personalized medicine, and smart home technologies have become integral parts of everyday life. In the insurance sector, where my focus lies, technology has revolutionized processes such as underwriting, claims handling, and customer interactions. Looking forward, the speed of technological evolution is expected to intensify even further. Companies are now increasingly relying on consultancies such as Wavestone to navigate this rapid transformation, harnessing diverse industry insights to sustain leadership and competitiveness.

What is your leadership philosophy and how do you keep your team engaged and motivate them?

My leadership philosophy revolves around three key principles: first, staying highly engaged with clients and the industry to stay relevant and effective; second, encouraging my team to build and grow their networks for career support and industry knowledge; and third, celebrating successes while also dedicating time to learning from challenges. This approach ensures my teams remains motivated, proactive, and continuously improving, fostering a culture of growth and resilience.

What has been your most career-defining moment that you are proud of?

My most career-defining moment was becoming a partner at Wavestone at the age of 32. This achievement was a humbling experience, made possible by the incredible support and guidance from my colleagues. It serves as a reminder of the importance of teamwork and dedication. Every day, I am grateful for the opportunity, and it continues to motivate me to continue working hard and supporting the team in their professional growth.

How do you keep your mind healthy and stay resilient? And how do you motivate your team?

To keep my mind healthy and stay resilient, I focus on staying physically fit and finding a balance between work and personal life. Regular exercise helps me manage stress and maintain energy. I also make sure to set aside time for family, hobbies, and relaxation, recognizing the importance of a balanced life. When it comes to motivating the team, I believe in celebrating successes, no matter how small, to acknowledge their hard work and dedication.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I still see myself in the consulting sector, with an ever-expanding UK team. The past seven years have seen strong growth in terms of our team size and the range of services we offer, and I believe this trend will continue. My focus will be on supporting this growth, maintaining and deepening our strong client relationships, and helping our team expand and innovate to better meet our clients’ needs.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out on their career in your industry?

My advice for anyone starting out in the consulting industry is to be confident in challenging yourself and constantly seek to learn new skills. Embrace opportunities that push you out of your comfort zone, as this is where significant growth happens. Additionally, focus on building and nurturing your professional network. Strong relationships can open doors, provide support, and offer valuable insights throughout your career.

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