Deborah R. Hill

Occupation: Director of Professional Services, Backstop Solutions Group

First Car: 1980 Chevy Citation

Favorite Restaurant: Zia’s Trattoria in Edison Park (Chicago), Illinois

1. What are three things most people don’t know about you?

a. I wish I had dyed my hair more colors in college
b. I named my first dog Stupid then she turned out to be a canine rocket scientist
c. I’m a huge Sci Fi fan; I’ll watch any movie that involves space travel or super powers.

2. What’s been your greatest adventure in life?

Definitely my career, I started in pension and then as that industry began to die out I moved into software and experienced the highs and lows of that industry.

3. What’s your best childhood memory?

Being at my grandparent’s house with all my cousins.

4. If you could have a conversation with a person of your choice, past, present or future, who would that person be and why?

I suppose there are the obvious ones like Jesus, Gandhi or Einstein but if they were already booked up I think it would be interesting to talk to Queen Victoria. She ruled an immense empire during a time of great change and industrialization. I would like to talk to her about leadership in times of change.

5. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life?


6. Tell us about your favorite hobby.

I really enjoy gardening, I like the feel of the earth and the ability to be creative – where else do purple and pink look good together?

7. What are you currently reading? What is your favorite book?

I’m reading the Invisible Hands which is a book about portfolio valuation. It was recommended by one of my clients. My favorite book is the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien.

8. Do you have a favorite app(s) you can’t live without?

The United Airlines flight status app (-:

9. Is there a particular place or thing you want to see?

This year I’m vacationing in Athens. I’m interested in seeing the city and learning more about its history. I often gravitate to historical sites – I think studying history gives me better perspectives at work and in my personal life.

10. If you could give $10,000 to a charity, what would that charity be and why?

I would give it to a reputable micro-finance charity. I think my donations go the farthest when they empower people to change their lives. That doesn’t mean I never donate when there’s a disaster but I like the multiplier effect of micro-finance.

11. If you weren’t on the professional services career track, what would you be doing?

I don’t see PS as the only component of my career; I think it’s a segment of a broader general management career track.

12. What is the path that led you to Professional Services/Consulting?

Probably my personality and curiosity, consulting facilitates broad experience across industries and functional areas so it keeps me interested. I’m also very extroverted so I like the client and team interaction.

13. What advice would you give to a recent graduate who just took a job in professional services?

I think new entrants to the profession should focus on three skills:

  • Flexibility: everything changes constantly don’t get attached to one industry, software package or business process – don’t get too specialized.
  • Learn to diagnose process and structure problems: most clients have a “real” problem behind the one you’ve been asked to solve. Find and solve the real problem and you’ll have great success.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail, if you fall on your face then do better the next time.