My Story
My Story

Below is the story of my career’s twists, turns and PIVOTs:

COLLEGE: THE FIRST PIVOT…

My father is an Engineer, so it is no surprise that I liked math and science. I started out in Chemical Engineering because it was a top program with a wide variety of career options. It also had some of the best starting salaries! But, when I got to Organic Chemistry… wow. Epic fail. I couldn’t see molecules, but realized that I could see electricity.  So I took this experience as a signal and PIVOTED. I switched my major to Electrical Engineering.

Ever had a failure propel you in a better direction?

FOOT IN THE DOOR

During college, one of my jobs was as a security guard at a medical device company. Every Monday morning, I would beg one of the hiring manager for an engineering internship. I was committed. Some days, I wouldn’t even ‘buzz’ him in the door unless he promised to help me. Fortunately, my persistence yielded an internship rather than a pink slip.

I worked as an engineering intern, but couldn’t see myself doing many of the jobs around me. Although I liked problem solving, I couldn’t see myself doing detail work like circuit design. But I did love applying biomedical engineering to patients and disease. This was my target. Then I discovered a job called Field Clinical Engineer (FCE) – could this be my first DREAM job??

In pursuit of this dream job, I was encouraged by the FCE Director to continue my education and obtain a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. This further reinforced my interest in applied biomedical engineering. Following my Master’s, I got my DREAM job and moved from Minneapolis to Memphis. It was amazing! I loved it. Days filled with physician interactions, patients, problem solving, and teaching opportunities – translating technology into medicine. I was finally here!

Have you had that DREAM job? When work was fun and time flew by?

THEN WHAT?

After a very successful tenure as a Field Clinical Engineer at a large medical device company, I assumed that my obvious path was to become a Technical Fellow. You know…publish abstracts, manuscripts, write patents…be a real super geek. But, my boss saw something different in me. He inspired me to consider people management. He began mentoring me and identifying leadership opportunities. Little by little, it became clear that what I truly loved (and was wired to do) was helping people be successful. And so, once again, I PIVOTED.

Has a mentor or coach ever helped you find a new unexpected path?

THEN WHAT?

After a very successful tenure as a Field Clinical Engineer at a large medical device company, I assumed that my obvious path was to become a Technical Fellow. You know…publish abstracts, manuscripts, write patents…be a real super geek. But, my boss saw something different in me. He inspired me to consider people management. He began mentoring me and identifying leadership opportunities. Little by little, it became clear that what I truly loved (and was wired to do) was helping people be successful. And so, once again, I PIVOTED.

Has a mentor or coach ever helped you find a new unexpected path?

NEXT STEPS

To sharpen my leadership skills I started my MBA at Vanderbilt University and became a regional manager for our Field Clinical Organization. Then I found my next DREAM job. I loved all aspects of people management: interviewing, hiring, training, mentoring, coaching, and helping people find their own dream jobs. After a few years of managing, I accepted the Director role. I now had the opportunity to lead and grow new people managers and set the direction and culture for my department.

Do you remember that moment when each new step was a welcome adventure?

THE PUSH

Then the first significant shift happened. Despite only being in the Director role for a couple of years, senior leadership asked me to take another Director role. Although I wasn’t ready to move on, I left my home organization of 16 years and took the new position. To my surprise, this PIVOT became a CRITICAL GROWTH EXPERIENCE for me. It really broadened my perspectives. I learned how to lead different, more heterogenous, groups of people. I learned how to lead across multiple functions and empower broader collaboration. The PIVOT had resulted in tremendous growth.

Have you had a Broccoli job?… Not your first choice, but turned out to be “good for you”?

THE QUINTESSENTIAL “OH S#!T” MOMENT

Three years later, a new corporate research group was envisioned to leverage the company’s size. Although it was outside of my 20-year technical wheelhouse, I interviewed, got the job, and was on a new and exciting learning curve. It was an opportunity to broaden and expand my awareness across business units.

Little by little the novelty of this corporate position wore off; I found myself with less energy and passion for work. As someone who prided myself in my contributions to the health of patients, this position felt strange and hollow to me. There were several reasons, but most impactful was the lack of philosophical alignment with my boss. Over time, this alignment mismatch drained the energy from me. I gained weight, lost balance, and lost energy for things outside of work. I needed to get out…

Suddenly, I’m struggling and doubting myself. Have you ever been here?

JUMPING OFF THE HAMSTER WHEEL

I was looking for another Director role, but wasn’t finding anything appealing. A good friend let me know of a Field Clinical Role in my adopted home town of Nashville. PIVOT
Many didn’t understand my jumping off the corporate ladder. Was I forced to take this individual contributor role? Was it temporary? Was I just waiting for the right leadership role?
NO… I chose this, I wanted this. And I loved it.
It was so invigorating to be back in the Field!

SELF RE-DISCOVERY

As it had happened before, I made it quickly through the learning curve of this familiar wheelhouse, and within a couple of years I began to seek new challenges.
As a senior member of the team, I began coaching new leaders in transition and others regarding their career paths.
While coaching, I asked peer: What is your favorite part of your role? Could you do more of that? Could that be your whole job? After an enlightening conversation, we hung up and I realized that coaching other was my favorite part of my role! WOW… my favorite thing wasn’t my day job, but it was my side-hustle. Six more months of coaching peers (on the side) confirmed to me this was my favorite thing. I needed to find a way to do this full-time.

Ever realize you favorite part of your job isn’t even in your job description?

Now I am in my best fit DREAM job yet!

I now focus 100% of my time on helping high-achieving leaders as a coach. I get to guide driven professionals to re-ignite their passion for work. In some cases this means visioning and evaluating whether they are still on the right course — for the right reasons. In some cases charting alternate paths and helping them evaluate a new direction. I like to help people reconnect with their “why” — This is foundational! Finally, I contribute by creating accountability to work on these ‘important’ things that are not urgent. To help them find their next DREAM job and succeed!!

Now I am in my best fit DREAM job yet!

I now focus 100% of my time on helping high-achieving leaders as a coach. I get to guide driven professionals to re-ignite their passion for work. In some cases this means visioning and evaluating whether they are still on the right course — for the right reasons. In some cases charting alternate paths and helping them evaluate a new direction. I like to help people reconnect with their “why” — This is foundational! Finally, I contribute by creating accountability to work on these ‘important’ things that are not urgent. To help them find their next DREAM job and succeed!!

If you resonate with my story and are looking to evaluate a shift, we need to talk!  Let’s do this!!

8 + 15 =

If you resonate with my story and are looking to evaluate a shift, we need to talk!  Let’s do this!!

15 + 9 =

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