Monthly Archives

April 2022

We are Thrilled to Welcome Melissa Noonan, Senior Director, Project Solutions to CARA!

By | Announcements | No Comments

The CARA Group is pleased to announce the hiring of Melissa Noonan to the position of Senior Director, Project Solutions. Melissa is a member of the Executive Leadership Team and reports to CARA’s SVP, Talent Management, Allyson Carter. In this role, she will focus on ensuring CARA effectively delivers high-impact, client-focused solutions that consider each unique individual organization and their needs.

“CARA is committed to ensuring we design, manage, and deliver best-in-class solutions and that starts with ensuring a deep understanding of our client needs and an exceptional team to deliver beyond expectations. I am excited about the addition of Melissa to our CARA team as she has the passion, experience and expertise to ensure we deliver on our promise!” Allyson Carter, SVP Talent Management

Prior to joining CARA, Melissa held several strategic leadership roles in broader Talent Management, Learning and Change at companies including Andersen Consulting / Accenture, Hewitt & Associates (Aon) and ULTA. In these roles, she was instrumental in re-engineering key practices and programs, helping to commercialize services and position organizations for long-term, profitable growth. She also led high-performing teams acknowledged by Brandon Hall. Additionally, she has served in key leadership roles helping small to mid-tier consulting companies prepare to scale and grow through client-centric business development practices, restructuring, and implementation of repeatable methodologies and offerings. In these roles she had the privilege of applying her extensive experience and expertise using structured consulting methodologies to scope, frame, and deliver consulting engagements that delight various clients across industries spanning the mid-market to the Fortune 500.

Melissa holds a Master of Arts in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University. She is a trained CTI Coach and a consummate learner. She is forever reading articles, listening to podcasts, or enrolled in training. To evolve as a person and a leader, she believes in personal development and margin; she makes it a practice to preserve time for both. She enjoys attending, serving, and volunteering in her church. When the weather is warm, you can find her enjoying time with her husband John and their four children, Evelyn, Kennedi, Olivia and Bennett boating in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Embedding Change into “Business as Usual”

By | Change Management | No Comments

Embedding change increases the likelihood of success and accelerates the timeframe to capture value from organizational transformations. Some recent findings from a McKinsey & Company report[1] highlight the importance of building our change efforts into our “business as usual” processes. While it may seem antithetical to incorporate change into your standing operational structures, companies are more likely to be successful and can realize the value faster – even up to six months sooner than their counterparts – by using these strategies. This article recommends a few methods that you can use to instill change into your operations.

So, why is it important to build organizational change efforts into routine business operations? Ultimately, our goal in large-scale transformations should be to look beyond the quick fix. Focusing on the short-term versus the long-term is an inefficient use of resources and may cause more harm than good.

What does this look like?

Executive briefings, setting business objectives/targets, conducting business reviews on a monthly or quarterly basis, and annual planning efforts are all examples of standing operational business processes in which you can embed your change efforts. Partner with your operational and finance colleagues to find strategies to incorporate your transformation into these processes.

What steps can you take to successfully embed the change?

A few recommended strategies include:

  1. Organizational Change Management should partner closely with operational and business partners. Look for ways to work closely within the existing infrastructure with your operational and business partners, versus implementing the change from a siloed perspective.
  2. Complete an initial assessment to identify areas for improvement and highlight areas to align resources for the change. Beyond processes, it is also important to identify how resources are being allocated – from a talent, capital and technology standpoint – to facilitate the change. An initial assessment is an important first step in this process.
  3. Identify ways to embed the change into standing business processes. Once you have identified the appropriate business partners, take the time to work through your existing business review processes and briefings to determine where it is easy, and most appropriate, to include your change strategies so that it is not perceived as a “one off” change.

As you consider different organizational change efforts, I highly encourage you to identify and explore different strategies to embed change into your standing business processes. Companies that implement these methods have been found to be anywhere from 1.2 to 2 times as likely to succeed in their transformations[2]. In addition, these strategies accelerate the timeline to capture value from these initiatives. Look for ways to incorporate this approach into your change efforts. And, as always, please reach out to The CARA Group for any assistance that you may require at

[1]Losing from day one: Why even successful transformations fall short,” McKinsey & Company, Michael Bucy, Bill Schaninger, Kate VanAkin, and Brooke Weddle.

[2] Ibid.

Allyson Carter Promoted to Senior Vice President, Talent Management

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The CARA Group is excited to announce the promotion of Allyson Carter to Senior Vice President, Talent Management.

Allyson joined our leadership team in 2019 with the goal of positioning CARA for exponential growth. During her tenure, she has led the transformation of every aspect of CARA’s talent lifecycle, managing large-scale internal change while supporting both our team and our Fortune 500 clients through the disruption of a global pandemic.

Allyson works passionately to ensure each CARA team member is supported in achieving their full potential as we deliver innovative, human-centered solutions to our clients. She has not only honored and fortified our strong, values-based culture, she is a role model of Professionalism, Understanding, Responsibility, and Excellence.

Please congratulate Allyson on this well-deserved promotion.

In celebration and gratitude,

Your Friends at CARA