Our Story

In December 1985, after a ten-year career in management consulting with Hickling-Johnston Limited and then Mercer/Hickling, Jim Mackay, along with Becky Taylor and three other ex-HJLers, founded the Berkeley Consulting Group.

The success formula created in our early days continues today as Berkeley ’s foundation:

  • Originally positioned as a Boutique firm, we continue focusing on helping leaders manage through strategic change and organizational transitions, with a reputation as innovative thought leaders.
  • Forming consulting teams personally led by one of Partners assuring client value, and finding ways for thought leaders with different and sometimes conflicting perspectives to work together to create the best ideas collectively.
  • Developing a leading edge toolkit of consulting methods, but selecting and customizing the tools to suit the client and the challenge.
  • Keeping fresh professionally by involvement in professional organizations, teaching and speaking engagements.
  • Creating a showcase office environment and administrative staff that nurture creativity and quality deliverables.
  • Charging reasonable fees at a level that offers clear value.
  • Hub and spoke model with connections to thought leaders and associates in Toronto and across the world — Henry Mintzberg from McGill was an early friend of the firm.
  • Lifestyle choice and flexibility to do interesting assignments, to teach or volunteer within the community.

Berkeley ’s Evolution

Over the years, Berkeley has balanced its private and public sector practices. Berkeley ’s presence in the private sector continues to be on helping leaders successfully manage strategic change and organizational transitions. In the public sector, Berkeley has a strong presence in health and related services, governance, municipal organization, and community delivery systems design. For some time, Berkeley was affiliated with The Rensselaerville Institute in New York State , a leader in outcome measurement.

In the mid-1990s, Berkeley branched out, and began a global leadership practice with a major client headquartered in London , England . As a result of our success, we formed Berkeley Feedback & Development Inc. as an affiliate to undertake leadership 360s, coaching and leadership development. Since then, BFDI has added an Associate in the U.K., and the Berkeley Consulting Group has formed an affiliation with Square Peg International Ltd. in the UK , an independent consultancy with a global network.

While some of the founders have moved on, heeding their own lifestyle choices, the success formula continues following the same tenets.

  • Berkeley has a strong network of seasoned associates who bring expertise and diverse thinking to our projects.
  • Berkeley ’s strength lies in its ability to customize its projects and teams to fit the needs of the client at boutique consulting rates.
  • To be successful in meeting the needs of clients, we stay abreast of new ideas. That means infusing fresh thinking.
  • Jim continues as an Adjunct Professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University (since 1985). There, he keeps fresh overseeing MBA strategy studies and some of the world’s brightest MBA students keep him on his toes (Schulich is ranked 22nd in the world).

Why Clients Keep Returning

Some time ago, we chose ‘Collective Wisdom….Fresh Ideas’ as a phrase that reflects our original formula. As our firm evolves to fit the changing world, the robustness of the guiding success formula continues to surprise even us. It is a reflection of why our clients keep returning to us and why they refer us to others.

With Berkeley ‘s support, clients lead their organizations successfully through transitions. In doing so, we customize consulting teams and methodologies to suit the client’s situation. Rather than running through a standard process generating PowerPoint slides, Berkeley actually thinks about the problem. If you have a complex messy problem to tackle, Berkeley is the firm of choice. Berkeley’s competence lies in its ability to bring seasoned associates together as a team to use leading edge methods applied to the client’s strategic challenge so that results are delivered with high dollar value and timeliness. Clients like that!