MBA, ICD.D, CPHR
Practice Lead, Leadership and Performance
Rachel O'Connor leads WATSON's Leadership and Performance practice, which focuses on the board's oversight responsibilities with respect to people-related issues that are essential to effective organizational performance. When boards seek advice on their role as the CEO's employer, or their essential oversight of people, performance, leadership, culture and DEI, Rachel provides trusted advice.
Rachel advises a wide range of clients: private, public and not-for-profit; big and small. Her work is always tailored to the client and what brings the most value for them. Rachel enjoys partnering closely with clients to be part of their success – it's about building trust, adding value and delivering impact.
Rachel's clients appreciate her ability to drive results while building strong relationships. She is both a big-picture thinker and a detailed analyst and implementer. Clients often call when they have a complex issue that needs to be distilled into a clear systemic picture and an actionable path forward.
She supports boards on a broad range of Leadership and Performance issues including oversight of the CEO (onboarding, evaluation, succession), and oversight of people and culture (human capital strategy, culture, leadership, talent, DEI and more). She also works with organizations on strategic planning, organizational design, and change.
Her own experience as a leader adds to her impact. She brings experience as a P&L leader in both established and growing organizations and expertise as an operations, technology and HR leader.
Before joining WATSON, Rachel worked for ten years as a Senior Client Partner and team and business group leader at Hay Group and Korn Ferry.
Rachel holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR). She has a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering, a Masters in Mechanical Engineering, and a Masters of Business Administration.
Rachel has served on boards, advisory boards and special committees for many organizations, including the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, the United Nations Women's Development Fund (UNIFEM) the Vancouver Aquarium and two universities. She is a member of adjudication panels for the Canadian Engineering Memorial Fund and a business market with a competitive entry process. A regular speaker at conferences and events, she has served on the Institute of Corporate Directors and The Directors College faculty, both of which credential corporate directors.