Origin and Evolution
Kerry Sheldon entered the consulting profession in 2009 at the invitation of a beloved mentor, Francine Alexander. Eighteen months later, Fran accepted an offer to become Assistant Provost at UM-Dearborn, and Kerry took a deep breath and registered Bridgeport Consulting, LLC. Over the next three years, she both transitioned Fran’s legacy clients to Bridgeport, and expanded the practice on her own, articulating preferred disciplines and welcoming new clients from both within and beyond southeast Michigan.
In 2013, recognizing that client demand well exceeded her individual capacity to deliver, Kerry recruited Griffin Reames to support the practice on a project basis. That collaboration worked well – and yet, demand continued to exceed capacity. The following year, Kerry invited Griffin to become a full partner, and help bring the business to scale. The next phase in Bridgeport’s evolution was devoted to building a team and shaping their talent, developing necessary infrastructure and systems, and continuing to expand Bridgeport’s client roster.
In 2016, Kerry experienced what her colleagues at ZingTrain call a Belated Glimpse of the Obvious, realizing that demand for good work will always exceed capacity, and the key to greatness resides not in saying yes to more work, but in having the courage and discipline to say no to work that is not perfectly (emphasis: perfectly) aligned with one’s core values and best skills.
That realization arrived in tandem with the unwelcome reality that the work of running a consulting business is distinct from – and, in truth, competes with – the work of engaging in a consulting practice. Absent distortion in the space-time continuum, the former will necessarily diminish the latter. The time had come for tzimtzum, or creation through contraction. The partners separated amicably in August 2017, and Griffin has launched Guideline Consulting.
Wiser for the experience, Kerry has returned to her original role as sole owner of Bridgeport, where she revels in the ability to devote her full attention to the client practice. When the occasion calls for collaboration, she is delighted to invite one or more trusted colleagues, some of whom will be showcased here in the coming months, to join her in delivering a project.