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The Backstory on Sylver Consulting

by Brianna Sylver and Eric Moran

“Accidental entrepreneur” is the phrase that most aptly describes Brianna Sylver and the start of Sylver Consulting.

Brianna never set out to own a company. But a less than stellar job market, mounting student loan debt and her gift of connection, created just the right circumstances for Brianna — at the ripe age of 23 — to start Sylver Consulting, an innovation research and strategy firm operating at the intersection of market research, user experience/design and strategy.

Brianna cites September 10th, 2003 as the official start day of Sylver Consulting. It was this day that she closed her first contract for the company, over the phone while sitting in her bedroom closet trying desperately to avoid the noisy construction outside her apartment window.

Immediately after graduation from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Institute of Design, Brianna moved to Madison, WI to work for Datex-Ohmeda. It was an intern-to-hire position that she found incredibly enriching. But within a month of the new gig, Datex-Ohmeda announced a merger with GE Healthcare — a move that changed the “future promise” that had been attractive to her from the start.

You see, while at Datex-Ohmeda, Brianna was working in a team challenged to define new verticals that the org could expand into. The nature of this team’s work really leaned into Brianna’s strategic and visionary strengths as a professional. The new job being offered by GE Healthcare at the time was in usability. And the tactical and narrow frame of reference of the work being presented in that job felt suffocating to Brianna. So she made the bold choice to follow her heart and step away from GE. And then the Universe rewarded her courage by bringing her the first contract of Sylver Consulting on September 10, 2003 with ABN AMRO/LaSalle Bank — about 2 weeks after she left GE. Brianna was hired — as a contractor — to help ABM AMRO/LaSalle Bank to systemically activate customer-centricity into the design of new products and services to support the B2B Treasury Management division of the org.

Brianna took this position — with gratitude in her heart — still having no vision that this move would birth what today is Sylver Consulting. But, that is exactly what happened.

Brianna entered into the initial contract with ABN AMRO/LaSalle Bank believing that this contract would help her bide time — in a fiscally responsible way — until she found “the dream job” that she was looking for. About 8 months into her journey, that “dream job” emerged. But after an extensive round of interviews, she came home feeling depressed.

Upon reflection, Brianna realized something important about herself. She feels most alive when she is growing in both spirit and skill — something that she was gaining in spades by being an entrepreneur. A full-time, traditional job at that point in her career seemed as though it would not offer the same type of spiritual growth.

And so once again, Brianna made the bold and courageous choice to turn down that “dream job” position and, at the same time, made the commitment to go “all in” on Sylver Consulting. That commitment has launched 17+ years of personal and professional growth that she wouldn’t trade for anything.

There have been many versions of Sylver over the years. We invite you to engage with the year-by-year evolutions that have occurred across our 18 years through the infographic below.

But, more importantly, we want to say THANK YOU to our current, past and future clients. We exist as an org because of you. And we want to say THANK YOU to all the employees who have helped Sylver over the years to stand tall in its purpose of supporting orgs to confidently embrace the change required to future proof their offerings and impacts into the future.

Today, Sylver Consulting has a staff of 14. It has long-term and multi-project relationships with several Fortune 500 firms, and adds more every year to a growing list of clients. Even more, the company supports nearly a dozen small and large US cities as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropy’s “American Cities Climate Challenge,” providing extensive prototyping support for initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and human impact on climate. With a diverse variety of innovation projects and a lively and professional team of design researchers and strategists in place as 2021 Q4 draws near, Sylver Consulting looks forward to the next chapters of growth and impact.

  • 2021
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Personal Growth

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