In the spotlight: Alasdair McKie

Welcome to another edition of Mather’s Employee Spotlight, where we celebrate the talented individuals who drive our success. Today, we’re delighted to feature Alasdair McKie, an integral part of our Technology team. Alasdair expertly balances multiple responsibilities, focusing primarily on Operations to ensure our systems and processes run efficiently. From managing vendor relationships to implementing new technologies, his contributions impact nearly every aspect of Mather Economics. Alasdair’s skills and dedication are crucial in supporting our team and providing exceptional service to our clients. Continue reading to discover more about his expertise, a notable achievement, and who he would trade places with for a day!

Tell us a bit about your role in Mather Economics and what your day to day looks like?

Like so many people in this industry I find myself wearing a few different hats at any one time, but my primary role at the moment is around Operations in our Technology team. I help manage and plan systems that support the Mather employees working with technology. This includes working with vendors to scope and budget our needs, deploying new tech within our teams, and running projects focused on building or improving the processes we use to deliver products and services to our clients. My day involves a lot of context switching as I go from meeting to meeting on a very wide range of subjects, along with exposure to almost all corners of the organization.

 

Can you share a project or accomplishment you’re particularly proud of?

When Sophi was acquired by Mather Economics in 2023, there was a massive amount of work to be done in a very short period to lift dozens of employees and systems out of one corporate structure and into another. Everything from individual email accounts to multimillion-dollar software contracts were affected. Juggling the needs of our former owners, our new owners and our clients through this transition was a major challenge and I was lucky to work with talented people on all sides to preserve the continuity of services throughout.

 

What was the most important factor in choosing your career path?

Having the opportunity to shake things up and try something new every few years has injected new interest and engagement at many points along the way, without necessarily needing to change employers. I started as a copy editor in a newsroom, drifted towards working on the software used to produce the newspaper, and from there I kept swinging from branch to branch through different roles that were adjacent to each other but also very different. Being open to trying on a new hat every now and then can keep things interesting.

 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone entering your field?

Look for problems that need solving and think about how you would go about solving them. Any organization is full of problems, and your leadership team will spend most of their time trying to decide which ones need solving first. But you don’t have to wait for them to ask you for a solution before you can start offering insights. A team member who brings a potential solution to the discussion is more valuable than a team member who only points out problems.

 

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work that you’re passionate about?

While others spent COVID lockdowns learning about sourdough starters and how to play musical instruments, I was thinking about how to get the winter tires off my car. I bought some simple tools and did it myself. It turns out you can do just about anything with access to YouTube and tools. There is apparently no limit on the number of tools you might acquire!

 

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?

I’d love to trade places with an air traffic controller. I think a lot of what I do professionally is not dissimilar to the three-dimensional, detailed framework of process and procedures that air traffic controllers have to blend with unexpected changes of plan every day. Plus, I’ve never grown out of thinking airplanes are cool.

 

Can you share a milestone at work or achievement that you’re proud of?

I recently handed off responsibility for a team to someone I’d hired and managed for a few years, and I couldn’t be happier to see her take that step forward. When members of your team succeed, it gives you a chance to turn to fresh challenges. It’s win-win.

 

What personal values are most important to you and how do they reflect in your work?

Being able to disagree with your colleagues, team members and leadership while avoiding disrespect is something I value highly. I’m not perfect and I’m sure I have sent some emails I’d deeply regret in hindsight, but day to day I think it’s important to embrace opposing viewpoints because they’re often rooted in a truth you haven’t fully accounted for yet. There are so many ways to acknowledge these contributions in a way that lets people know their voices are important, even if we don’t ultimately come to the same conclusion.

 

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