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Maria de Kleijn

Partner, Kearney

Maria de Kleijn has been ahead of the curve for the majority of her career—and the world is starting to catch up. As a partner in Kearney’s Energy Practice, she combines a long-standing passion for sustainability with a functional focus on big data and analytics, helping clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and challenging path as traditional energy sources give way to greener alternatives. 


“I’ve always been interested in sustainability,” she says. “And it’s great to see environmental impact being lifted up as a boardroom issue. But the way to make the changes that really matter is by understanding how it impacts your core business. That’s what really drives me.” 


This is where the other strings to Maria’s bow come into play. She applies deep analytical and business transformation expertise to understand what’s really going on inside organizations, and then helps them adapt. Increasingly, this means managing the impact of big data on decision-makers, as well as the decisions themselves. 


“To be successful as a consultant now you have to be able to deal with massive amounts of data, without getting lost in it or over-relying on the machine,” she explains. “It’s also critical to help manage the psychological shift from answers that seem precise, where the uncertainty is hidden, to probabilities. What the data tells us to do might appear counterintuitive, so making an impact relies equally on empathy and our ability to bring people on board.” 


A former McKinsey & Company consultant, Maria joined Kearney following a career with Elsevier, Vattenfall and the Dutch government. “What I’ve always loved about consulting is delivering with a team. The adrenaline, the collaboration, the intellectual challenge—and knowing that what you do makes a real difference… effecting change with people, not for them.” 


Kearney’s commitment to diversity was an important condition for Maria joining the firm. “I believe I have a role to play in making working life more equitable,” she concludes. “I’ve already had so many more opportunities than my mother or grandmother ever did. This is about the long haul, but the only way is up.” 


Maria de Kleijn
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