CrossGen takes multigenerational approach to consulting
Madison-based business consultants pair the knowledge and experience of senior consultants with the passion, drive, and fresh ideas of junior consultants.
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When companies hire an independent business consultant, they’re often looking for a fresh perspective as much as guidance. With CrossGen Solutions, they get both in spades, due in large part to CrossGen’s unique business model of pairing more seasoned senior consultants with bright-eyed junior consultants to offer a well-rounded take on just about any business problem.
Madison-based CrossGen was founded in March 2017 as a joint venture between the mother-and-son team of Tammy and Jonathan Taylor.
“I always knew I wanted my own business but never had an idea that sparked my passion enough to take that leap,” says Tammy, the company’s president and CEO. “Early in 2017, Jon had an idea that sparked that interest, and we spent a weekend brainstorming and researching.”
“I was really concerned with how organizations were downsizing, and the older, more experienced staff were leaving,” explains Jonathan, the firm’s business manager. “In addition, a number of peers had concerns that they wouldn’t find employment after graduation. So I was wondering if there was some way we could build an organization that tapped into the knowledge and skill sets of both groups.”
“And I was frustrated with the number of times I’d encountered the large consulting firms bringing in out-of-state talent at outrageous rates but delivering service no better than what local consultants could do at much more reasonable costs,” adds Tammy. “From these discussions, as well as market research, we decided to leverage the outstanding talent already present in the Madison area to serve local clients by forming cross-generational teams to solve tough business challenges. In this way, we pair the knowledge and experience of our senior consultants with the passion, drive, and fresh ideas of our junior consultants.”
In Tammy’s case, that means leveraging her 20-year career as an executive at Electronic Data Systems (EDS)/ Hewlett-Packard (HP), along with nine years of contract consulting work primarily in the Greater Madison area. Though less experienced, Jonathan is no slouch. He holds a Bachelor and Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, and before he helped form CrossGen Solutions, he also held three different intern positions with American Family Insurance.
For some, the idea of working with your mom might be a nonstarter. Not so for Jonathan.
“For me, running the business as a family has provided all of us the opportunity to work together and come closer,” he says. “It also provides us with a diversity of perspectives, which was the whole idea behind CrossGen and our cross-generational approach to consulting. Each member of the family has their own background and skill set, which allows us to look at problems from perspectives that we otherwise would not have.”
“Although my husband has been a stay-at-home dad for more than 20 years, I worked hard to maintain a close relationship with all four of my boys,” notes Tammy. “I marveled at how each one could be so talented and knowledgeable in completely different areas. I was also struck by the innovative way they thought about and used technology compared to me.
“As Jon and I met and discussed the ideas about the business, we found other family members putting forward some great ideas, too,” continues Tammy. “The more we talked and worked on the concepts over the first few weeks, the more the family came together providing whatever time or talent they could offer. For example, my mother wanted to pitch in, too, so she does most of the administrative and bookkeeping work.”
Tammy’s husband, Dan, is another part of the CrossGen team, though not in the full-time role the family initially envisioned. Dan’s earlier career was in sales and he was very good at what he did, says Tammy. Prior to starting CrossGen, she and Dan discussed whether he should return to work and, if so, what he might like to do.
“When we started CrossGen, assigning him as our sales lead was the perfect fit,” remarks Tammy. “What we did not consider was the enormous amount of work required to start a company and there was no way I would be able to pick up more responsibility at home to free his time to work full-time in sales. We decided that it would be better for him to continue to manage our very busy household so I could continue to focus all my time and energy on the business.”