Early Lessons From Tough Bosses Took Kate Duchene Into The Problem-Solving Business

By Ronald D. White
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Kate Duchene is an expert at quickly assembling staff to help companies with matters such as mergers, implementing new business strategies or learning to comply with new regulations. As the CEO of Resources Connection Inc., she shares her journey to the top.

LOS ANGELES

Since December, Kate W. Duchene has been chief executive of Resources Connection Inc., parent of RGP, a 3,300-employee company with 67 offices around the world.

RPG is part temp agency, for professionals that businesses can’t afford to keep on staff full time, and part expert resource.

Duchene said the Irvine company, formerly called Resources Global Professionals, can quickly assemble a team of several dozen, if necessary, to help with matters such as mergers, implementing a new business strategy, retrenching and learning to comply with new regulations.

Working side by side
“Unlike some of the traditional consulting where consultants will come in with a big binder and say, ‘This is what you need to do and good luck,’ that’s not where we play,” Duchene said, “We take that binder, we sit side by side with our clients, and we execute together.

We transfer our knowledge to you while we’re doing it, and then we walk away.”

Legal business prep
After earning a political science degree from Stanford and a law degree from New York University, Duchene worked as an attorney at O’Melveny & Myers for nine years. Her current business is “not unlike being a litigator. I had a mentor who said, ‘Kate, it’s like taking a bath.’ You know, you fill up your bathtub. You have to be the kind of person that is naturally inquisitive, loves to learn, obviously smart…. You get so knowledgeable about that thing or that case. Then you drain the bathtub, and you’re going to fill it up again on the next project. You have to bring the mind-set and the interest to continuously learn and improve in our business.”

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