Meet the Instructional Design Team

The 7-member instructional design team poses for a photo with Reiko Kono, their CSM
The Team at Simplicity HQ in Kirkland

We're excited to introduce the Instructional Designer Team (ID) of 6 in Cloud + AI! Senior Client Success Manager Reiko Kono hosted a lunch at Simplicity HQ and had a blast with this fun group. She took the opportunity to learn more about their current work and projects, and kicked off FY23 by showcasing the Simplicity Support Excellence Model!

As you'll read below, the ID team has a background and experience in graphic design, technical writing, and teaching. You might be thinking, what does an instructional designer do? They support all stakeholders in Cloud + AI and determine the scope of educational projects, create the layouts for instructional material, work with SMEs, write content, develop audio, visual and interactive media aids to internal employees and enable them to continue their growth trajectory through learning and development initiatives. We wanted to dig a little deeper, so we asked the team to respond to these questions:

Could you tell us a little bit about your career path – what brought you to Simplicity?

Danielle: I mostly have had full time permanent positions. I decided to move into consulting a year ago when an opportunity for a remote position with Microsoft as the client came about. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. I was with another consulting/contract firm when my colleague was talking to me about how great Simplicity company was. I started asking questions and before you know it I jumped over to Simplicity.

Susan: I started my professional career as a graphic designer. I was an FTE for a company that was not the best fit, but we were busy and looking to add another designer. That is when I met Laurie. The company didn’t hire her, but she went to work for MacTemps (Aquent) as a creative manager. She saw my worth and asked if I would like to jump into a new opportunity. I jumped into the world for consulting with an amazing mentor. Many years later after an FTE position with Apple I started teaching at Bellevue college as a graphic design instructor. A friend asked me if I would consider working as an Instructional Designer. I said yes and he introduced me to Andrea at Microsoft when she hired me, she asked what consulting firm I liked to work with. New to the space as an ID I had no clue. She introduced me to Lisa and Carrie at Simplicity and well… the rest is history.

Leslie: I was working as a contractor at Microsoft and was given the ability to choose my own consulting firm.  I interviewed 3 different companies; Simplicity was far and above the best in pay, perks, benefits, and the high percentage of women in the organization was delightful. 

Tony: I started out in traditional academia 20+ years ago teaching at ITT Technical Institute. I then moved to industry as a Technical Trainer, before finally settling on the other side of the podium as a Technical Instructional Designer and eLearning Developer.

Joel: I was already part of this Microsoft team through a different vendor. Of course we compare notes and Simplicity was clearly offering a better deal, not just in terms of salary and benefits, but also the personal touch and the focus of the organization. (So far, you have NOT tried to sell me a Sam’s Club membership. 😊)

Rosanne: I have a long history of work experience with Microsoft—first as a technical writer and then as an instructional designer. My current co-workers shared with me their great experiences with Simplicity, which motivated me to join your company. 😊

What do you like about consulting – in general and with Simplicity specifically?

Danielle: I like being able to work remotely. Consulting does offer more freedom than a permanent role. You are not tied to a role that may not be a good fit and can change or leave that position, once the contract is done. I love Simplicity’s unlimited vacation plan and that you do not have to spend months accruing vacation time! I also like how professional everyone was and the communication is top notch. When you reach out to someone via email, you can be assured they will get back to you.

Susan: Consulting is a great way to learn about a company. To see if you are a good fit for the work and the culture. You get to live with them awhile and then decide if you want to get married. This is a very good thing. I wanted to work for a specific company forever – they were the premier design company in the PNW. I went to work with them as a consultant and the first three weeks into a six-month contract I knew this was not the company for me. I lasted the whole six months but I was so happy to leave. Why Simplicity? Like my first experience it felt like home. The opportunity for mentorship and growth with people who really want to see you succeed is bar none.

Leslie: I enjoy working on dedicated projects, rather than being pulled in all directions.  At Simplicity I feel they understand what I want in a career and help me achieve it.

Tony: All of my job offers have been for consulting jobs 😊 I really enjoy Simplicity so far (3 mos.) because of the higher pay, better benefits, vacation days and my CSM, Reiko.

Joel: For years I avoided the consultant path and always sought FTE positions. Then I was offered a contract at LinkedIn and found I liked it. It really depends on the organization and the specific projects, but the variety and flexibility of contract work is great for professional development, both in terms of technical skills and intangibles like relationship building. I also like the fact that there is less “overhead,” meaning time spent in meetings that come from being part of an organization – strategic planning, reorg discussions, etc. Consulting enables me to focus more on discrete tasks and project work.  

Roseanne: I like the flexibility and opportunities to learn new things. I just joined Simplicity last month and all of the people at the company seem very supportive.

What are the challenges/pain points your client is experiencing that you'll address in your role?

Danielle: They would like to enhance their training material to make it even better than it already is. They have a lot of needs creating online learning courses, which I am well versed in.

Susan: I hope I am contributing to making training more useful and dynamic for our stakeholders and our team. The spirit of mentorship in which I have had the privilege to experience, I want to pass on to other members of my team so we can all rise together to be the best we can be for our company and ourselves. We have experienced a lot of company growth in our area of work which keeps us challenged and engaged to keep pushing the boundaries of what a learning experience can be.

Leslie: My client is experiencing a shortage of Instructional Designers; they encourage me to stretch my abilities and skills in ways I had not thought of.  Producing on-line training is always a creative endeavor; trying to make sure the content sticks, and that the learner is interested and engaged.

Tony: Rapid course development using industry tools to produce interactive training that utilizes digital imaging, audio, and video. There is a lot of time/pain around accessibility right now and everything has to be closed captioned. Nonetheless, our development cycles and courses are much shorter than industry standard. Speed is probably the greatest pain point from a service perspective.

Joel:  From looking at some of the existing online training at Microsoft, much of it is so-called “page-turners” that push information at learners without a lot of interaction or attention to the affective learning experience. I think this group at MS is very concerned with making their training more engaging and sticky for the learner. I can help.

Roseanne: Ensuring that all employees of Microsoft’s Datacenters have the information and training they need to do their jobs effectively.

What advice do you have for someone considering consulting as a career path?

Danielle: My advice would be to ask as many questions as you can, to the prospective client and consulting firm. Also ask about benefits that are included or not included.  

Susan: The best piece of advice I got starting out was to learn new things with every assignment. Take what you have learned and apply it to your next assignment. Be open to a growth mindset. Listen. Be proactive. When you do these things throughout your consulting career or any career you get a reputation that you are proud of. You become that go to person. You become an asset to any company that you have the honor to work for and with.

Leslie: I think it depends where you are in your career, and what you want to do; consulting has worked well for me.  I’m at the point in my career where advancing in the corporate structure holds no interest, but being part of a team and staying current is very rewarding.

Tony: You must:

Joel: Go for it!

Roseanne: If you’re self-motivated, like variety and enjoy learning new things, I encourage you to consider consulting!

Simplicity at Talent Connect 2022!

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Closing the Network Gap!

LaShunte Portrey, our founding Director of Talent Acquisition, was invited to be a panelist at LinkedIn's Talent Connect Summit 2022, where global talent leaders gathered to explore – and shape – the future of work. Meg Garlinghouse, LinkedIn's VP of Social Impact (and the inspiration behind Simplicity's Diversity Pledge), curated the panel discussion with amazing thought leaders, including our very own LaShunte Portrey, Kristina Hu of Candoor, Ceantel Rubin of Fuse Corps, and Monica Lewis of LI to engage in candid conversation around how companies can help close the network gap and unlock economic opportunities for the global workforce.

During the panel, LaShunte shared authentically about how she and her team help shape the future of work through our Diversity Pledge and by bringing in exceptional, diverse talent pools to our clients at Microsoft, Amazon, AWS, Google, Cisco, Intel, Epic Games, and other innovative companies.

Researchers studied 20 million global LinkedIn members over 5 years. They found that a moderately weak tie is more than 2x as likely to lead to a job opportunity than a strong tie.

LinkedIn Talent Connect 2022

At Simplicity, by intentionally networking beyond our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd connections, we can help bridge the gap between talent and career opportunities. "Our Diversity Pledge aims to create better opportunities and outcomes for untapped talent, especially those from historically marginalized groups," LaShunte explained.  

We're excited to celebrate the milestones of the Diversity Pledge journey with you in 2022. During the next few weeks, you'll learn more about the progress we've made in increasing diversity across our talent community and elevating our inclusive hiring practices. Aside from learning about our efforts to foster meaningful connections & belonging, you'll also gain insight into our expanded success metrics to help drive sustainable change. To our consultants, clients, we invite you to take Simplicity’s Diversity Pledge and join us in our efforts to help everyone thrive in this new world of work.

LaShunte’s favorite quotes and concepts from TC 2022:

On Skill-based hiring practices

“The future is about building a deep understanding of people’s potential, and the person behind the profile.”

Ryan Roslansky, CEO at LinkedIn


“The pandemic reminded us that an equitable future is not assured; we must work for it. By putting skills first and providing flexibility, continuous upskilling and mobility, we can expand opportunity and ensure a more equitable future of work.”

Karin Kimbrough, Chief Economist at LinkedIn

Meet Velarie!

We are so pleased to introduce Velarie, one of our Talent Sourcers! Velarie joined our team in June, and we can't imagine our Talent Acquisition team without her. Velarie is a Filipina American woman, and since October is Filipino American History month, we wanted to take this opportunity to learn more about her heritage and the role it plays in her life.

MJ: Give us a quick overview of your career thus far and how you got to Simplicity!

Velarie: After starting out as an administrative assistant and doing that for awhile, I started to feel stuck - I was looking for my next step, and more opportunity for growth. Human resources had always appealed to me, but I wasn't sure how to make the transition. I considered going back to school to study human resources, but instead I decided to join the Air Force Reserve - of course, with the goal of becoming an HR specialist. I started by getting more active on LinkedIn. I followed a lot of recruiters, and I would see them talking about their day-to-day responsibilities and how they really enjoy what they do - it sounded like a perfect fit, but again, I wasn't sure how to get started. Fortunately, I found Career Dash, which offers a great recruiting program that covers everything that you need to know, from interviewing to meeting with hiring managers to get experience, and so on. Through that program, I gained the confidence to put myself out there and network! It was in a Facebook group for folks looking for jobs in where I saw a post from LaShunte - Simplicity was looking for a Talent Sourcer! I connected with her on LinkedIn and sent her a message, and from there, it kind of took off.

MJ: Wow, that is an amazing career journey. Tell me a little bit about that first conversation with LaShunte.

Velarie: We met briefly, and she told me all about Simplicity. Just from that initial conversation, I was eager to learn more. I decided to browse Simplicity’s website to learn a little more about the company. The first thing that stood out to me was that a majority of the HQ staff was female, and I found this to be very comforting. In my previous jobs, I felt like I had to hide certain aspects of my life, particularly the fact that I was a mother and that I had responsibilities outside of work because of my children. During my interview process, I met with several Simplicity HQ staff members who are also mothers and I realized that I could potentially be working with individuals that I have a lot in common with. It just felt right.

MJ: Oh, I love that. Going back to your career journey, I know you mentioned being in the military. Are you currently active military?

Velarie: Yes, I am, but I'm not on active duty. I am in the Air Force Reserve. I report to base a few times a year for annual training; I've been doing that for three years and I have a six-year contract.

MJ: Before joining Simplicity, did you know anything about consulting? Or was it a new concept for you when you first joined?

Velarie: To be honest, I didn't really know what it was until I investigated it by researching Simplicity and learned more about the concept. I've done contract roles myself before, but I had never heard of the term consultant. Once I learned about it, the term consulting really started to click for me. There are plenty of people out there who are experts in a particular field, and just being able to join certain projects and get that experience in different places makes sense. It offers flexibility and you aren’t stuck in one place. So, it's a fascinating concept. It's the new world of work.

MJ: I love that you were able to learn about consulting through learning about Simplicity! What's been a pleasant surprise with working at Simplicity? Or maybe something you weren't expecting?

Velarie: I would say the amount of support that everyone gives each other has been the most pleasant surprise. That is something that truly amazes to me. I've never worked at a company or had colleagues where I felt like I had unconditional support. This same level of support is also passed on to the consultants. As a Talent Sourcer, it makes me feel good to know the consultants and potential consultants I bring in will have a great candidate experience meeting with my other colleagues such as the Talent Managers and Client Success Managers.

MJ: So, I want to acknowledge that October is Filipino American History Month and I’m aware you are Filipina. I would love to hear about your heritage and how it plays a role in your life.

Velarie: Both my parents are Filipino and were born in the Philippines. I was born here in the United States, but I’ve always made an effort to stay in touch with my Filipino heritage. My grandparents taught me the language and made traditional Filipino food for me as often as possible. I’ve always known that I want to give that same experience to my children. I hope that by speaking to them in Tagalog, which is the national language of the Philippines, and introducing them to traditional Filipino food, they will form a relationship with the Filipino culture like I did at a young age. I also decided to study aboard in the Philippines during my freshman year of college. During my time there, I was able to truly enjoy the culture and spend more time with my grandparents, who moved back after they retired. It was an experience I will never forget!

MJ: That’s amazing, thank you for sharing that! How has being a Filipino American played a role in your relationship with your work?

Velarie: Throughout my entire career, as a Filipino American woman, I’ve always looked for companies that truly value diversity. That's something that stuck out with me with Simplicity, specifically Simplicity’s Diversity Pledge. I love the overall goal of wanting to close the network gap and the Diversity Pledge is such a great way of doing so. With my role as a Talent Sourcer, we are focused on finding diverse talent, it’s all tied together. I love being able to present opportunities to people with different cultures because I find it to be so important to work with people who come from different backgrounds.

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Velarie's adorable daughters!

Meet MJ!

I can't believe it's been nearly 6 months since our tiny but mighty marketing team doubled in size - from 1 to 2! I'm so pleased to introduce to you Maria (she usually goes by MJ), our Digital Marketing Coordinator. You'll learn a little bit about her journey, and about what Hispanic Heritage Month means to her, as an American and a Puerto Rican!

Sara: Give us a little snapshot of where your career path has taken you, and how you came to be here!

MJ: In June of 2021, I graduated from Seattle University with a BA in communications and Media Studies, with an emphasis on Strategic Communications. I loved that experience. My first job out of college was managing digital marketing for an engineering-based company specializing in custom parts. I gained a lot of social media experience there, but after about a year, I was ready to move into something a little more people-oriented.

I’ve known Carrie Morris for years – she’s a close family friend – and because I grew up around her, and with two parents who worked at Microsoft, I’ve always known about Simplicity. I’ve never met someone who doesn't have something positive to say about Simplicity – the reputation is incredible. I felt like it was the kind of relationship-focused company I was looking for, so I spoke to Carrie, and it just so happened that Simplicity was hiring, and here I am!

Sara: I’m so glad. I know you knew a bit about consulting before you started, but is there anything that has surprised you about what we do?

MJ: My mom was actually one of Simplicity's first consultants, so I was already accustomed to hearing all of the lingo. I think I had assumed that consulting was the same as staffing, which I now know is not the case. We’re not just checking a box or filling a spot, we’re doing so much more to make sure that our consultants are fulfilled and happy, and that our clients feel supported and secure in the expertise of their new team member, so they can focus on the big picture strategic plans. Which is really all about building relationships – which take time, but are very much worth it.

Sara: Simplicity is definitely different than some other firms out there – we’re really helping clients to build or round out teams in which everyone feels valued and understands what they’re there to accomplish.  

Have you had any ‘surprise and delight’ moments since you started?

MJ: This is my first fully remote job. I’ve done in-person and I’ve done hybrid. And I think the biggest surprise here is how easy it has been to make true friendships, even with people I’ve never met in person. I love that the culture of this company revolves around relationships, and making touchpoints that aren’t always about the business. We truly get to know each other and that’s rare.

Sara: I feel the same way 😊 So, you've had the opportunity to chat with several of our consultants – what have you noticed about them – maybe some qualities or commonalities – that make them fantastic team members for our clients?

MJ: It’s been so interesting – everyone I’ve spoken to has vastly different background, education and career path, but they have so much in common. It’s not just that work they’re doing now may be similar, but they all have this incredible work ethic, passion, and an ability to understand what their clients really need and find the answers to hard questions. It’s a real ‘yes’ attitude – they’re all what we call ‘strategic doers’, but they’re also so graceful with their boundaries. When I talk to our consultants, I get the sense that they really enjoy having this level of control over how they work, how they spend their time – and maybe that’s what drew them to consulting in the first place!

Sara: Oh absolutely, that’s what stands out to me too – it’s like being released from the confines of traditional employment (which some people like, to each their own!). If they want to take a break for a few months or even a year, that gap in their career history is fine, because it’s understood that they choose when and where and how they work. It doesn’t diminish their skills or expertise or ability to add value (in fact, it probably helps them to be better at their jobs 😊)

OK, switching gears, tell me a little bit about the work you’re doing with the Diversity Pledge – what are your hopes for the next few months?

MJ: I genuinely love being involved in our DEI efforts, which we’re building on all the time. The Pledge is a start – it’s a way to start conversations, amplify the voices of underrepresented or marginalized individuals, and start sharing knowledge and best practices around how we can ALL start to close the network gap. It’s meant to be an ongoing learning experience for all of us, and I’m excited to build out the content and programming over the next year.

Sara: Me too! As you know, this is Hispanic Heritage month and you are, in fact, of Hispanic descent – what does this month bring up for you?  

MJ: During this time of year, I definitely feel pride in my heritage – we don’t have any formal celebrations in my family, but we think of it as a time to reflect and honor the people who came before me. Especially as someone born here in the US, and being Puerto Rican (both of my parents are US citizens too), it’s important to me to remember my connection to Puerto Rico. Shortly after I was born, my parents decided to move us to PR, to make sure I had the experience of living in the place where our family is from. Living in PR for the first few years of my life also meant that I learned Spanish as my first language, and later on learned English in pre-school. Of course, I’m Hispanic, but I’m also American, and I have a lot of gratitude for the ability to have this collective memory with my family, and to feel inspired to share that with my community!

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Young MJ with her mom at the beach in Puerto Rico

For the love of the GIVE: a 'hole in one' for The First Tee!

Here at Simplicity, we've made it our mission to help everyone thrive in this new world of work. 'Everyone' includes not only our headquarters team, consultants, and clients, but our communities as well. Giving back is woven into our DNA - when our communities thrive, we all thrive - a rising tide lifts all boats, after all. Since our inception 15 years ago, we've given our time, energy and funding to amazing nonprofits like Bellevue Lifespring and Hopelink that help women and families receive food, care and compassion.

This year, we were honored to participate in the first annual fundraising golf tournament, hosted by the Microsoft Marketing and Consumer Business (MCB). The proceeds from this event directly benefit The First Tee of Greater Seattle summer program, designed to give young people opportunities to learn life skills, core values, and healthy habits through the game of golf.

Through after school and in school programs, The First Tee helps shape young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect, and perseverance through educational programs. And as you can see in this video, it’s making a difference.

Learn more about The First Tee: Jefferson Park and Jackson Park serve as headquarters for The First Tee of Greater Seattle (along with 11 additional courses in Greater Seattle and Snohomish County), which has taught life skills and golf to more than 150,000 children since 2004.

For the entirety of October, we will be focusing on giving back - if there is an organization you would like us to feature on our social channels to give them a boost, please send us an email at

Homepage Hero: Denise A.

Sara: So, tell me a little bit about the journey that brought you here to us.

Denise: I was a mobile technology veteran and then transitioned into digital technology. In between working for global companies and startups, I founded my own boutique marketing agency focused on wireless and entertainment industries because that was my core skill set. But the dots have always been connected – the commonality is that I have connected people with tech, and each other, creating enabled and empowered users. So that's really been the golden thread throughout my career. Early on in my wireless career, a small consulting firm in Dallas was looking for someone to come on board for an international assignment. It was a joint venture between Leap Wireless, which was a very big player in the day, and different countries. My first consulting assignment was in Mexico and I loved it. I realized that people valued subject matter expertise, and they valued your approach to problem-solving, rather than clocking the hours. That was my first real experience of being paid for the worth of my experience and my knowledge.

How did I end up here? I had worked with Simplicity before – on a T-Mobile assignment, which I loved. After I'd left T-Mobile as an FTE, I came back through Simplicity to help them launch their Uncarrier model for Enterprise and Government. When this new opportunity with Providence presented itself, I didn’t realize it at the moment, but it was great timing.  Coming into the healthcare industry when I did, and being placed on this team provided a great deal of balance for me; both of my parents had contracted COVID, and my Mother passed away unexpectedly two days before Thanksgiving while my Father was already terminal with stage-four cancer. Being in a remote position and working for a very empathetic, compassionate healthcare company allowed me to still do what I love professionally while doing what I wanted and needed to do for my family, which was care for my Father in his dying days. I just love everything about the team and the project, and I get to explore my interest in the intersection of healthcare and technology. We have an opportunity to really ease the patient's way on this project and the team always keeps the patient front and center. To see Providence as a healthcare leader leveraging innovative technology to continue its care of the poor and vulnerable, has been very gratifying.

Sara: That's amazing. I’m curious about something; may I ask what you studied in college?

Denise: Fashion! I’m a proud graduate of The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I earned my associate's degree in Buying and Merchandising and then completed my Bachelor's degree in International Marketing after an International Business study abroad in Rome.

I don't know if this is unique to Simplicity, but there’s something I’ve noticed about the consultants I’ve met. Most of them were scout or school club leaders; they were always problem solvers and leaders. It doesn’t seem to really matter what the path has been – how we got to where we are now - the core DNA of consultants is a love of problem-solving, and it comes naturally for many of the consultants on our team. They're great communicators with very high EQ, and that appears to be a common trait among Simplicity consultants.

Sara: So, Simplicity is not the only consulting firm you have worked for. What do you think makes us different from other firms you’ve worked for? And why do you think a client would benefit from working with Simplicity?

Denise: From a consultant perspective, the core team is the differentiator for me. They lead with empathy and believe in bringing their authentic selves, which they encourage through to the consultant team. Other firms can be very transactional, and while Simplicity doesn't have a “bench” model, you offer great personal and career growth benefits that consultants can take advantage of that other consultancies or placement firms don't offer. So, while you have to be mindful that your project can end anytime, you have all these great resources, and you're getting to learn from other consultants and hear their stories, and you have opportunities to really shape yourself a little bit more and learn some other skills.

I’ve also been on the client side, where I do think Simplicity stands out. When you’re working with other firms, it can feel like, ‘this is going to be a big, expensive endeavor, and you’re going to get a beautiful PowerPoint at the end, where the interaction ends at data gathering.  They're not really solving your day-to-day challenges and certainly don’t dig deep enough to understand the culture. They might be very surgical on a specific problem around revenue or optimization of something, but I think the difference with Simplicity does not only do the client have a consultant (or team of consultants), you get the benefit of the HQ team too where the project is thoughtfully curated to staff holistically for what you need. In my experience watching the team, they’re always very interactive with the client, and they quickly attune to the pain points and needs for client success which inevitably contributes to the success of the project. Another thing, because so many consultants were once FTEs from large or tech companies where they’re placed, the ramp-up time is much quicker and more efficient – there’s already an understanding of the culture and expectations of how things work.

Sara: Our consultants are definitely strategic doers, they say ‘yes’ to challenging things.

Denise: Yes, and I believe much of that comes from the confidence of knowing you're resourceful and having a pretty good track record of figuring things out. From a client perspective, that is so refreshing – they don’t want to babysit or handhold – they expect a good consultant to be resourceful, find a creative approach to address challenges, and come up with solutions.

Sara: If you run into someone in the wide world, who was thinking about making a career shift or transitioning into consulting, what would you advise them to do if they wanted to come into consulting? What are some of the perks you’ve found?

Denise: It’s funny, when I first interviewed with Simplicity back in 2014, Lisa had her very first book on the lobby table. Lisa and I had a very similar, parallel background in that when I was running my own consultancy firm, I was teaching classes on personal brand. I've always used the term free agent. Being a consultant is like being a free agent; you are loyal to the jersey while you are wearing it and you will support that jersey. You will make that jersey the best and most valued jersey in the space. But when your contract is up, you happily and respectfully part ways and seek out a new home team jersey to wear.

I think the best benefit for me being a consultant is being there for the client while nurturing my desire for continuous learning. The reality is I'm there to solve problems as an SME, I'm there to make my client be the best client they can be, make them the star, and shine so that their work gets recognized by leadership and industry. Their success is my success, so while I'm on the project I am fully focused on the client, but it affords me the flexibility to also try different things, learn new skills, and try new roles. And knowing that it’s a contract term, you always want to deliver your best because you want to impart a great experience for both you and the client which is great for referral business and allows for the flexibility that you may desire. The ability to take on something new and have that confidence beginning each new project continually builds your resume, network, and skills!

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Finally, to illustrate the flexibility of the consulting lifestyle – I’m also very passionate and deeply involved in a nonprofit based here in Dallas-Fort Worth, She Supply, whose mission is to end period poverty. We distribute free pads and tampons, and we'll start our 6th year next month. We hope to raise enough funds in our current campaign to distribute the 1 million free products before the end of the year - a huge milestone!

Read more about ‘my why’ for this campaign and more about She Supply at

Interested in a consulting career with Simplicity?

Homepage Hero: Mai N.

We took this opportunity to chat with Mai right before her contract unexpectedly came to a close, and our talent team began looking for a new and exciting opportunity for her as soon as they found out. Since this interview, she has been successfully redeployed - it only took about a week to secure another project for her!

Maria: Tell us a little bit about your career journey and how you ended up with Simplicity!

Mai: My career journey started at a service desk, and from there I worked my way from tier one to tier two and then so on. Then, 13 years ago, some huge shifts happened - I got married and moved from California to Seattle, and fortunately I was able to land a job with Microsoft doing test automation. Then I had my daughter, took a two-year break, and was able to return to Microsoft as a service desk supervisor. After a little while, I decided it was time to look for something different, and I was drawn towards marketing, to big companies like Microsoft, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Amazon. I didn't think it would be possible to land something in that world, but I did! My career shift started when I began my job at AT&T, where I worked as a senior product marketing manager, and I stayed for 5 years. Once I felt secure in my marketing skills, I decided take what I had learned back to Microsoft.

Maria: So how did you end up with Simplicity?

Mai: It was a complete coincidence! I was talking to a friend of mine from another team at AT&T and he said, “I'm talking to someone at this company called Simplicity and they work heavily with Microsoft. It's slightly different than what you're doing now, but do you want to have a chat with her?“ And so, I did. I discovered how amazing Simplicity was at communicating, because immediately I got a response from her, and we arranged a call. There was nothing available for me at the time. It was just me being interested and looking into exploring this opportunity. No lie, I was calling her almost three times a week just because I was so eager to learn more. The next thing I knew, I landed my job in GDC in 2017, and the role was so unique, unlike anything I'd ever done before. They needed to build a team and the surrounding structure, and I loved the challenge. We started with two part-time people and my manager, and by the time I left, we had grown to seven people, and everybody knew who that team was. We built the structure, all of the tools; we put the guidelines, the guidance, the processes in place - we built something entirely from scratch that hadn't existed before! When it was time for me to leave that position, I did not want to leave Simplicity. So, I talked to the Simplicity team, and I said I want to continue working with you and I would love to go out and find my project and bring it to Simplicity. Is that a possibility? And they said yes.

Maria: Oh, that's so cool. I love hearing that because that's not something that a lot of people are aware of.

Mai : Yeah, it was awesome! I was worried at first about finding a project that Simplicity didn’t already have. I thought to myself, what are the chances? But luckily it worked out. So, I started networking and talking to the people I had known in my previous work at Microsoft, and since I had been there for 5 years I knew a LOT of people. Everybody knows who I am. Everybody knows what I can do. They know my abilities. I didn't find an open position, so I decided to talk to my current manager. He was all for it and said “yeah like let's do that, why not. Do you have somebody to represent you?” and I said, “Yes, of course, I do!” So then, I brought in Simplicity. And here I am, like a month later in this new position that I like.

Maria: Oh, I'm so glad to hear that. I would love to hear about your current position and what you do day-to-day.

Mai: That's going to be very tricky because we don't know yet. We’re still in the beginning stages, but this role is very similar to the one before it, yet position did not exist until I took it. So, my official title is a BPM, Business Project Manager, and we are still defining the roadmap. My role is to project manage the acquisition of GitHub. Every day is different for me right now. I'm in back-to-back meetings with tons of different stakeholders - from engineering to management to guidance to talking to general managers. I'm like I'm a fly on the wall right now, and there's a lot of information coming my way. The goal is to build a similar structure to what I helped build before, and it helps that I'm a fresh set of eyes to them. I'm asking questions they hadn't thought about, and finding the answers, identifying a source of truth from which to manage this whole new project which doesn't exist yet. Yet again, I'm building something from scratch!

Maria: That sounds very exciting, and it takes courage to represent yourself and find your own role. How would you describe your experience with consulting to other people?

Mai: I love it. I was an FTE before, so I also understand what that is like. The thing I love about consulting is the flexibility I have as a mother. In my experience, not all consulting is amazing. I've worked with horrible consulting companies. Over time, you learn whom to work with and gravitate to those people and companies. Honestly, my idea of consulting shifted entirely when I worked with Simplicity, just because of how Lisa viewed the whole topic. This whole idea of being a consultant, understanding that a lot of women who are moms want to have the flexibility to stay home with their kids for a year before taking on a new project - for me, that made a difference. At previous consulting companies, my experience was fine. Yes, I still had the flexibility, and what was required from me was not what was required from the FTE, which gave me a little bit of wiggle room to kind of manage my life. But working with Simplicity took everything to another level, I have to say. It changed my view on consulting. I wasn't a big fan of it before. I was like, OK, fine, that's what's available. But now, I chose to bring a project to Simplicity and no one else. Because it did make a difference for me.

Maria: I love hearing that! Is there anything else you want to share either about your career journey or Simplicity specifically? Any advice you'd give to anyone who's looking to who's kind of debating when it comes to consulting? Because we have a lot of people who are curious about it but aren't sure kind of how to start.

Mai: The number one piece of advice I have is this: reach out and ask questions. Ask questions like you wouldn't know what's in it for you until you know. For me, I had to think about what I truly want. For example, I was looking for a remote opportunity where I knew what to expect from hour to hour. Know yourself before asking for something that is not realistic, and make sure you understand the connection between what the market needs and how your skills and tools can fill gaps. Also, having a good reputation goes a lot way - not just doing a great job for yourself, but knowing that you're building the reputation of Simplicity as well!

Interested in a consulting career with Simplicity?

Homepage Hero: Kate S.

After featuring Kate Sojda as our most recent expert in our "Ask the Expert" series, we could not wait to learn more about her career journey and what brought her to Simplicity!


Tell me a little bit about your career path – how did you end up here at Simplicity?


I started consulting about five years ago and joined Simplicity a little over a year ago after my previous agency was acquired. I'll never forget my first conversation with Carrie Morris; immediately after that call, I thought, “this is my new home”. The fit and the culture of Simplicity, it goes beyond the culture of the client. I felt Simplicity wanted me for me, not me for my contract or the client I was bringing with me. I felt valued. So, I decided to move my contract to Simplicity and have been in my current role for almost three years.


I love that! Tell me more.


I think it says a lot about Simplicity that, yes, they can find you a role, and they've got a lot of really great job openings, but when you have all of that, and you're looking for more than that, Simplicity has the more. It's not just about staffing, it's not just about the contract. That's obviously a huge part, but there are a lot of other non-tangible things that go into it too.


So true. You just created an “Ask the Expert Video” for us, and you clearly have a great understanding of paid media. I'm just curious, what did you study in school?


I was a Business and Computer Science Major and when I declared my major, my advisor asked me why I had chosen computer science. I replied, “so that I can better talk to tech people”. When he asked if I had any interest in being a developer or engineer, I responded with a resounding no. My main goal was to understand how to speak this language in the business and tech worlds, and that's why I did both business and computer science; I really wanted to combine the two. And I know this combo has really helped me throughout my career.


Can you tell us a little bit about your current role?


I’m a Senior Marketing Manager for Microsoft 365 Paid Direct as part of the Consumer Go-To-Market (GTM) Team. We’re doing outbound marketing for Microsoft 365, and my role specifically is to own the creative strategy and execution program for paid media. I manage a creative agency, work with all the internal stakeholders on understanding our messaging and brand, and then implementing that in a creative and engaging way for our customers. I live and breathe our brand and work with our creative agency to shape our digital story, execute all of that creative, gather insights based on the testing and learning that we’re doing, and report back across the business to help inform other channels and decision-making.


Is the work you’re doing now similar to what you were doing before?


It's not; it has evolved significantly over time. When I first started in my current role, I was the creative project manager, and over time, I have stepped into leading the creative strategy – I own it from top to bottom. Before paid media, I was doing internal comms, still managing creative and project managing, but internal comms versus external paid media are two completely different beasts with different objectives and audiences. I have always wanted to stay in the creative project/program management world because the creative side of things is what excites me and is my biggest area of passion.


Is there anything else you want to share about your career journey? Any advice you have? Or anything about what it's been like to work with Simplicity? What keeps you coming back?


I think it's really important that as consultants – or maybe it's the exciting part of consulting – you have the ability to continue to learn and grow and explore new areas, and you can apply your skills in many ways. As a corp. employee, you might not have this same level of opportunity to learn something brand new. You might be expected to have more background in a specific channel or a specific audience, whereas I think in consulting, you can have one or two of the three things that they're looking for, and then learn the third on the job. So, if you don't have paid media experience but want to get into paid media, you can find the right audience, client, or role that helps you lean into the experience or expertise you have. One of the best parts of consulting is the opportunity to explore and grow new skills with each project!

Interested in a consulting career with Simplicity?

Homepage Hero: Reba Clamp

Sara: Let’s start at the beginning! Tell me a little bit about your career path, and how it brought you here?

Reba: Well, I always like to start with undergrad, where I studied musical theater and opera, because I've had a bit of a winding path – a few curves here and there. I always thought I’d pursue a professional performing career. I even moved to Montana for the summer after I worked at a celebrity resort to save up all the money to move to New York City. And I moved to New York City, and it was awful. I hate auditioning more than life itself. And so very quickly – especially because this was in the aftermath of a financial crisis – I felt like I was in a pickle.

I decided to move back to the Midwest for a little more financial stability. And I chose Minneapolis because I had a friend there who was doing some theatre there. Minneapolis has a unique theatre market in that all the auditions and rehearsals and shows take place after 5 pm. So, all the actors, even the professional ones, have full-blown careers. Not just survival jobs, they have real day jobs, they might be architects or business owners, you know. So that was when I started doing contract work. I began working at a variety of places. I don't know if you remember the company that was well-known for taking school pictures called Life Touch, but I worked for them for a while in a locked room processing orders payment orders and money.  So, you're handling cash, so you had to work on camera in a locked room. Then I worked for a real estate valuation company matching appraisers with properties in the Alaska region of that company - I was responsible for finding these highly paid appraisers that could take a little float plane out to some remote area of Alaska.

Finally, I worked in family office – it happened to be the family that owns the Minnesota Twins. They're one of those wealthy families that have their hands in every industry; they made the film Brokeback Mountain, they own a million car dealerships, big real estate companies, everything. I was hired as an administrative assistant to support twelve private tax and finance managers, but it wasn’t your typical admin job at all. It was a financial assistant job, and I had some incredible hands-on training. All of a sudden, I'm reconciling over one hundred bank accounts every month, I'm calculating interest rates on internal loans using LIBOR rates that are ever changing. I didn’t realize this at the time, because I was a clueless opera nerd, but I was doing the prep work for the accountants to do their journal entry site, all the legwork. I saw a lot of things and a lot of documents, and I had no clue what I was looking at, so it almost makes sense why they chose me.

Over the four years I was in this position, I found that I really liked the black and white nature of numbers. I found a lot of comfort in spreadsheets, where things are not subjective to people's opinions. They're simply right or wrong. While I loved this family and the position, I knew there was no upward mobility – all of the other amins had been there, in their roles, for 20 or 30 years. Around this time, the Seattle job market was heating up, and I since I had never wanted to stay in Minnesota forever, I decided to up and move! I didn't have a job lined up – I just thought ‘I'll get one’. Luckily, I did, and within two weeks, I had found another contract gig – a four-month contract with Microsoft. I got the work done in two months, and that was my foot in the door at Microsoft. Then Simplicity found me!

Luckily, there was a role with Simplicity that sounded like the most perfect little project for my weird little skill set. You know, it really is amazing matchmaking. What I liked about contract work in the first place is that it’s this mutually beneficial relationship between you and the firm where the firm wants you to succeed as much as you want to succeed. You can work together to find the right work for you. My first project with Simplicity was supposed to be four months long, and I am still on that project nearly years later! It been a great role that has been able to grow with me. I feel like Simplicity and this project is my first real consulting job rather than a contract gig, if that makes sense. I loved the project so much that within, I guess it would have been about the third year, I could kind of feel like myself plateauing. I really wanted to be more effective and build my skill set so I could be more supportive to my team – sometimes I felt like I just couldn't understand the language everyone was speaking. I'm supporting the marketing team but in a financial way but I didn't study marketing and I didn't study finance. I decided to pursue my MBA. Simplicity and my client are both so flexible that it was honestly that flexibility that really allowed me to do both because I never quit working.

I went to the University of Washington Bothell, because their campus is a mile away from Kirkland and a lot of the Microsoft offices. So that meant things like work, school, and home would all be very close and I felt like that would be more manageable when continuing to work full-time. Then they offered me a way to do an accelerated schedule, so I was able to complete a two-year program in 18 months.

My goal going in was to understand all the functional areas of a business and how they interact, because that’s what I was missing. You want to understand how the work you're doing plugs into the bigger picture, right? It definitely helped with that. I feel like I can follow what's going on.

So that’s how I got here!

Sara: Such a good story! Most of the folks I’ve talked to have said that they really value the variety of consulting – but for you it was a little different. You stayed in the same role but you were able to grow within that and set boundaries to ensure that you’re can add value on your own terms!

Reba: I think working with Simplicity was the first time I felt like I was treated like a grown-up in the working world. So much autonomy, no micromanagement.

Simplicity is a very special firm. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I was looking at other consulting firms and comparing them to Simplicity, that I realized how simple Simplicity makes all of this. There's none of the internal noise that you run into with other management consulting firms – they have this crazy amount of internal work projects, and internal teams, which is all unpaid labor, that you must do with gusto to even be considered for a promotion. Then there’s an intense hierarchy with strict pay bands. It can really be so competitive.

Lisa created this oasis that avoids any of that nonsense.

Photo of Ashley Davidson, Reba Clamp, and Mike Buckley - smiling
Here's Reba with one of our fabulous Client Success Managers and fellow consultant Mike Buckley at our 5+ year consultant gathering!

Sara: Well, I loved your story, that was perfect. Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about becoming consultants?

Reba: First, you have to clarify what you value, right? To understand that you hate that busy work, or you hate politics, or you hate competition or just highly competitive environments. So, by clarifying your values, and then thoroughly researching that firm and talk to as many current and former employees as you can. This is because the sales pitches from the hiring managers and recruiters are oftentimes pretty disparate from what's actually going on. I think it's so important to talk to employees.

Then, the other piece being that everybody should keep in mind: everyone has their own unique and valuable skills. This does include you, whether you think so or not, that one was really hard for me. Make sure to have an understanding that what is second nature to you, or what comes really easily to you, is not true for everyone. I definitely had skills that were similar to the people around me similar skills so that just kind of reinforces that idea of, oh, everyone can do this. But then I started recognizing what I bring to the table that is different – things that come naturally to me that not everyone can do with ease!

Interested in a consulting career with Simplicity?

Homepage Hero: Tracey White

We loved learning about the incredible work Tracey put into this year's Tableau Conference - and it looks like she had a blast!

Would you tell us a little bit about your current role?

I am a Graphic Designer on the Global Brand Creative Marketing team at Tableau at Salesforce. I collaborate with and support Art Directors and the creative team to create a visual design, UX design, and environmental design for digital advertising, social media posts, web landing pages, virtual events, conferences, event spaces, and more. Most recently, I helped bring the annual Tableau Conference to life online and in person. 

What do you enjoy about consulting?

I enjoy engaging with incredible companies that appreciate my talent and expertise. At this stage in my career, and as a working mother, consulting allows me to do exactly what I want. It provides me with the opportunity to take on challenging projects, and work closely with talented and diverse teams, all while supporting the balance I need. As a consultant, I don't have to choose between my family and a successful career.

Tracey at the Tableau Conference in 2022

What advice would you give to someone who is considering consulting as a career path?

Consulting has been one of the best decisions of my career. If you want to use your skillset to help your clients be successful, I highly encourage everyone to try consulting! Lean on a supportive community like Simplicity that's eager to provide connections and resources to help you thrive on your personal journey.

Interested in a consulting career with Simplicity?

Homepage Heroes: Lauren and Dayna

Lauren Hardin and Dayna Weir are part of our fantastic Talent Team here at Simplicity - as Talent Managers they're often the first faces that our applicants see after they apply for a role. They're passionate, smart, and truly committed to finding the best match possible - for both client and consultant. We had such a fun conversation - I highly recommend connecting with both of them on LinkedIn (I linked their names to their profiles above) so you can see all of the goodness they share!

Sara: Tell me a little bit about your career path – Dayna, you start!

Dayna: I worked in secondary education, as a college and career advisor at Everett High School, for 11 years – I followed my children. It was important to me to be a part of their community and I loved working outside of the school with local clubs, and to generally be involved in our city. I was passionate about connecting students, staff, parents, career professionals, and scholarship funders; creating those connections totally invigorated me – it was all about making the match. When my children were getting ready to graduate, it was time to move on from the public school system, and Simplicity came my way!

Sara: And how did that happen? What (or who) brought you to Simplicity?

Dayna: Well, Sheryne and I went to school together – both high school and college (Go Cougs!). We were roommates, and she's like an aunt to my kids. I knew she worked with Simplicity and had these wonderful things to say about it, so she encouraged me to apply!

The thing that I love – what was transferable from the work I did in education to what I’m doing now – is figuring out what makes somebody tick. It’s fun to do in my personal life, and now I get to do it as a career! I have the opportunity to ask questions and listen deeply – I go beyond the cover of the book, which brings me to another that I love: books. I'm a total book lover. I have more books than I could ever read in my lifetime. Each book is unique and different, and I find that it's the same with people.

Sara: You’re still matchmaking!

Dayna: Yes! The wonderful thing about our job here at Simplicity is – to continue the book metaphor – we're not about just what’s on paper, we're about people and relationships. We don't just pass along words and information. It's about getting to know the person face-to-face (or face-to-screen), because there are things that can't be shown on paper. It's those soft skills, those SMILE qualities, the intangibles. Doing this work with Simplicity feels special to me because it's like digging into a good book and finding a story. One of our core values is building relationships, and once someone comes into our community, that relationship keeps growing, and they often don't want to leave!

Sara: Lauren, why don't you tell me a little bit about your path and what you love about being here at Simplicity?

Lauren: I’ve been pretty much consistently in higher education. When I was at college at Western, I fell into a work study job in the financial aid office, and I continued along that path after I graduated. I worked at Seattle University for a long time as a financial aid counselor, left and then became a scholarship provider for students with the College Success Foundation. I was still working within the realm of student service, but I was able to provide monetary support for them to achieve their dreams of a college education. When I left that role, I went to Bellevue College to be the scholarship and grant program manager.

I have always felt an affinity with students, especially since college was not the easiest time for me – I didn't know what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be, and it was a shock to go from high school where everything, including bathroom breaks, was managed and scheduled for the most part. So, I really wanted to be able to help other students who might be a lot like me, where they were kind of questioning their path and feeling lost, and tell them that's okay. I loved helping people achieve their educational dreams. I even ended up getting my Master's in Public Administration at Seattle University; I wrote my thesis was on the affordability of higher ed, and how we can make it more accessible for everyone.

Sara: And how did you come to be here at Simplicity?

Lauren: I came to Simplicity through Reiko (one of our Client Success Managers)! She and I worked together are at the College Success Foundation, and when I was looking to make a career pivot and do something different, she gave me the whole rundown on Simplicity. I didn’t know much about consulting, but the more I learn, the more I love the support system that we provide to our consultants. I appreciate the fact that we provide benefits, that we pair each consultant with a client success manager that supports them throughout the project, that there are people who are working to help redeploy them to another project once a contract ends. Like Dayna, I love working with the consultants, and learning about people, their backgrounds, their history, their stories, where they want to go. I also adore working with the clients and hearing about all of the fascinating work that they're doing. I'm a lifelong learner, so I find all of this really appealing, especially the part where I get to play a part in finding people meaningful work. I feel a certain amount of success and pride when I’m able to show our clients how awesome our consultants are.

Sara: What advice do you two, as Talent Managers, have for someone preparing to apply to become a consultant – to help them put their best foot forward?

Lauren: Simplicity has some great resources on the website, including Lisa’s personal brand workshops and webinars, so it’s definitely beneficial to start listening and looking into those. And make sure that you have your LinkedIn profile updated to reflect who you are, what you excel at, and where you thrive. We want to connect consultants with work that they love to do; it's what makes them feel accomplished and satisfied at the end of the day. And that's probably the most important thing we can do for our clients and our consultants, is make sure that we're placing them in on a project that they're excited to do.

Dayna: I would add that candidates should come prepared to share a story of success. We want to know what makes you shine, because when you talk about what you love, you just light up the room. Let's talk about a time when you felt really successful, because that will help us find you something that you really want to do, where you can keep shining bright.

Want to have a conversation with our delightful Talent Team?

Homepage Heroes: Ty Hagerott

Ty is getting ready to take on his next role - he's a fantastic designer, visual artist, and presentation creator, and he's a huge asset to any team. If you'd like to hire Ty, drop us a line and let us know how he can help!

Tell us a little bit about your current role with Simplicity!

I currently serve as a graphic designer and brand specialist supporting the Microsoft Fargo site team. Our primary role is to serve the local employee base and community engagement. My focus is to steward the Microsoft brand with professional design, whether creating a PowerPoint deck, designing t-shirts, or creating an infographic, the visual design represents the voice and style of the brand.

What do you like about consulting?

I started as a consultant in 2008 working in web design for Microsoft. I love consulting! I have had the opportunity to work with a large variety of companies both inside and out of the Microsoft network. The experience keeps my skillset always fresh and adapting to new challenges. One of my favorite parts of consulting is facing a new task I have never seen before and devising a solution to the design challenge.

What advice do you have for young professionals?

I often get asked for advice about my journey by young professionals. I give them the same three insights each time: 1) Be patient. It can take time before you can fully develop the skills you need to go independent. 2) Find Mentors. Seek out those who have gone before you. They have wisdom you can learn from. 3) Never give up! Most people give up on a dream when adversity is at its strongest point. Often when you feel like you can't make it, success is right around the corner. 

I strive to put myself in new situations so that I can keep my hunger alive. Pushing to that limit is where real personal growth happens. 

Ty Mug2022
Ty Hagerott
TyHagerott Motocross
Ty and his boys motorcrossing!
TyHagerott Family
Ty with his beautiful family!
TyHagerott Wakeboard
Ty wakeboarding!

Are you interested in the consultant lifestyle? Please visit our consulting page to learn more and start the journey!

Homepage Heroes: Félix

As he morphed from Professional Hockey Player into Power BI afficionado, Félix has learned to leverage his passion for structure and organization to manage projects across a wide range of stakeholders. We loved hearing his story!

Sara: Tell us a little about your career journey and how you ended up with us at Simplicity!

Félix: My career had an unusual start to it. I was a professional hockey player for five years, and I was fortunate enough while I was playing to get scholarships to go to school. I did my bachelor’s degree in Canada, and I did my MBA in the UK while I was playing there. I wanted to be able to get an education so I would have something to focus on after playing professional hockey. Then I met my wife, moved to the US, and realized how hard networking truly was. I saw Simplicity when I was looking for consulting agencies and right away, I saw the professionalism of Simplicity - it was on another level in comparison to other agencies that I talked to. I immediately thought, “Ok, these, these people are the people I want to work with”. So that's honestly how I ended up at Simplicity: a little bit of luck, and I felt that Simplicity was (and is) better than other agencies out there.

Sara: What have you enjoyed about consulting and doing this role in particular?

Félix: With my first contract, Simplicity knocked it out of the park. I wish I could work with this team forever. In this role, a big part of what I love is my manager, Claire. Claire is honestly- she's amazing. She provides the type of leadership that I perform well under; she's very transparent and straightforward. When there is something wrong, she tells you. Especially with how big a corporation Microsoft is, I've seen with a lot of other colleagues that they're trying to be politically correct and there are a lot of you know, things that you can and cannot say. But Claire's team has been great. And the fact that I'm get to work with Kayleen - she's been a great mentor. I like what I'm doing - working with a lot of different stakeholder teams like marketing sales, data analytics - we're filling this little gap that Microsoft didn't even realize they needed to fill.

Sara: What are you looking for in your next role?

Félix: I really enjoy project management. I'm someone who's very structured, which probably stems from my background playing professional sports and going to school at the same time - it's a skill I had to develop. You have to figure it out. You know you have the schedule. You stick with it. You have to be disciplined with it. In some projects that I'm managing, I know my experience as an athlete has been very beneficial for me. I also love data analytics part - because numbers don't lie. In my current role, we provide insights and then we give them to sales, and we consistently get positive feedback from our sales partner - the insights are helping them to do their job better and more efficiently, with greater accountability.

Sara: Right. If you met someone out in the world and you were networking and they said “oh, I'm at my job and I don't really like it and I don't know what to do next”, would you recommend consulting for them? And if they were unsure about it, what advice would you give them?

Félix: I would definitely suggest they explore not just any consulting, but I would tell them to go, from my experience, to go to talk to the people at Simplicity. I've said to many people that Simplicity is the way to go if they want to consult. I would also say that success comes down to having structure, and having a plan which you can fall back on if needed, because it's true that sometimes budgets change and you need to make sure you're covered if there's a gap.

Sara: There's definitely the potential for a lot of variety when you're consulting too.

Félix: True - as much as I love my current role, there's the possibility that maybe my next contract is going to be totally different than the one I have now, and maybe I'm going to love it. Maybe doing something I didn't know I even wanted to do. So, it's really all about the open possibilities of being a consultant. That's definitely a huge plus because you get more exposure to different things. You learn more skills with every contract.

Are you interested in the consultant lifestyle? Please visit our consulting page to learn more and start the journey!

Homepage Heroes: Josh Sanderson

It's time to get to know Josh! He's a Partnership Lead for one of our client's Product Marketing Teams, and we had a fantastic - and truly eye-opening - conversation about working as a consultant with Simplicity.

Sara:  First, let’s talk a little bit about your career journey, the path that led you into consulting. What did you do before all of this?

Josh: My career spanned through a lot of different areas. I started in educational research as a salesperson and then went into marketing there, left that industry and moved to Chicago where, you know, I kind of I stayed in the educational area, but in a different role. Then I moved to LA, where I started navigating through the entertainment industry, and landed at William Morris Agency. I started as an assistant to some talent agents, and then moved into the music side of the business where they did touring. I found that I was really good at what I did, so I moved to management, where I was an assistant for a manager for various electronic acts. After awhile I started my own company and did music licensing for four or five years of that, and I got a call from a friend who was working at Microsoft who said I'd be perfect for a role opening up in her team. I didn't really want to move to Seattle, but my business at the time was really challenging for a number of reasons, so I took the plunge and that is what ultimately what led me here. I got laid off in 2014 and did some entrepreneurial things, and eventually started looking to get back in with Microsoft, but I didn’t really want to go back full time. I met a woman who was consulting and she connected me to the firm she was working with – when my last contract there came to an end in the middle of COVID I decided to take a three month hiatus before getting back to the job search. When I started looking again, I talked to people who worked with a lot of different consulting firms and Simplicity was one of them – and this opportunity came up that was perfect, and the rest is history. I'm actually really enjoying being back in partnerships after good entrepreneurial stuff and taking a ride through product management, which was fun, but maybe not the best fit for me.

Sara: This type of meandering is really typical for the consultants I’ve spoken to – you look back and you think - "Oh, I did all these seemingly unconnected things, but it just all comes together a lovely way that reflects continual learning and passion around supporting and building relationships." What are some of the things that you like about consulting?

Josh: As an FTE, I felt a little bit more like there was an understanding between the employer and me that I was going to work until the job was done, whether that was 40 or 50 or 60 hours. And when I would push back and say I'm, I'm overloaded and I can't do the amount of work I have, the feedback was always well, you know, how can you be more efficient? It wasn't about helping me reprioritize. What I really enjoy about consulting is the consulting firms have worked had been very supportive and saying the contract is 40 hours, and what you're being paid for, and that’s what you’re encouraged to do. Of course, there will be times when there are more deliverables, and more hours can be put in within a week, but there will be other weeks where you work less, so it’ll balance out. The work life balance for me has been much better than when I was FTE previously, and I really love that. I enjoy being I enjoy being in a position where I'm a part of a team - I feel very closely knit with his team – I’m not just another vendor. And I know that I might be here for years, and I might go on to a new project – there's a little fear in that, but there's also a lot of exhilaration in that. I can explore different interests, I can be parts of different teams, I can show up and, and be a problem solver and take on big tasks quickly and efficiently and know that I can deliver. I enjoy not having to do annual reviews and some of the other things that go along with being an FTE.

I really love the fact that I can just focus on the work because that’s what I want to do – I’m not super interested in plotting out my 5-, 10-, 15-year career goals. I just want to show up and be of service and enjoy my time enjoy my teammates, and focus on creating cool things.

Sara: A lot of people have also mentioned flexibility is something they enjoy. That's something that really helped me because I was homeschooling my kids for the last two years - those boundaries, they're easier to do to draw when you're consulting.

Josh: Absolutely, and I also get the sense that the team I'm on is taking a much broader view of flexibilities related to FTE; I don't think there's anyone on my team that feels pressured to work when there's something personally like they need to do. That's really reassuring to know, not only that I am being taken care of, but also my teammates are who are FTE. And I think it leads me back to this idea that I'm 40 hours, but I'm not expected to work in the night - put my kid to sleep and then work another three hours - unless I want to.

Sara: What would you say that some of your what are some of the soft skills you have, or have cultivated, that have helped you as a consultant?

Josh: You know, I have spent a lot of my adult life kind of getting over myself, getting over the fear and the stories I told myself as a child - maybe that I'm not cool enough to hang out with the cool kids. After having done all of this work, and learning to trust in who I am, and really liking the person I've become, it allows me to show up in a way that I can walk into any room in any situation with any level of person and feel comfortable - and make others feel comfortable. I think one my skills is the ability to show up with another human being and not be intimidated, and not be overcome by the parts of me that used to be fearful. As a consultant, that’s a huge gift because I'm always being put into situations with new and different people. Starting over with new teams, you just have to be you, and have a certain level of self confidence and the ability to adapt to different types of people.

Sara: Yes, and ask questions. You always have to ask strangers questions and not feel embarrassed.

Josh: Absolutely, and with maybe age and wisdom I find that I can ask a question without saying ‘this is a dumb question’ anymore. Because it's just a question. There's something I don't know, some knowledge I need in order to pursue what you have asked me to do. And I'm going to ask for that knowledge, whether you're the CEO or somebody else, and I'll do it appropriately. It’s wonderful to be able to be in a position where you can be curious and constantly learning. And I'm sure that's an FTE thing as well, but I really love that as a consultant, being in a position to always be learning.

Sara: That’s so great – it seems like a wonderful fit for you! So we're doing these homepage hero posts for a variety of reasons. We love to hear your stories, obviously, but it's also about showing people who might not be familiar with consulting or what it entails, or what kind of people are currently doing it – so they can start seeing themselves reflected in some of your stories.

Josh: When I used to think about a consultant, I thought I want somebody who went in and kind of got the lay of the land and then told people how to change their business or how to do something. It seemed more like being a coach or an advice giver. Now that I’m doing it myself, I can tell people that I really am hired into a role as if I were an FTE, but I work for a consulting firm, so its’ more like being a temporary employee; I act like an employee and I act like a standard teammate. That’s how I look at this type of consulting that I'm doing today, and maybe one day I might do a different kind of consulting where I am that person who just goes in and says you should do this, not that.

Sara: Yes, you’re basically there to support your manager and your team and help them be more efficient and do their jobs better – help them be successful! What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about consulting, but they're not sure they want to dip their toe in?

Josh: I would say if, if you value variety, and learning and constantly stepping into something new, in order to tackle a new opportunity, this is perfect for you. And if you're someone who really relies on a very deep stability, then it may or may or may not be for you, because you might find yourself in between positions for a month, or three or six or eight. One of the biggest things I say is that as a consultant, I have to focus on my personal finances; I don't spend my money that I make as if I'm going to make it every single month in perpetuity. I make sure that I have an appropriate reserve to make through six or nine months, so that if I hit one of those spots uncovered, I can continue to effectively pay myself a salary to cover my day to day expenses. In my opinion, that’s something that new consultants should know, especially coming from standard career paths.

Sara: I think it’s great that at Simplicity, as your contract is coming to a close, the talent team starts trying to figure out where you’ll want to go next, but you’re right – there’s no guarantee that you’ll find another good fit right away! I know we make an effort to put consultants with clients who are going to be a good match for them – not just skills-wise, but they look at personality and team culture fit too!

Josh: I know, that's become a one of the things I shared with each one of the consulting firms that I met with when I was looking for new work was that, certainly, income is important to me. But the most important thing for me is to find a good fit. I want to be in a team with people who respect and care for one another, a team that looks out for one another. I'm not interested in being part of a shop or a team that is anything other than that, really, because I spend 40 plus hours of my week with these folks, and I want to be a part of something that feels good.

Are you interested in the consultant lifestyle? Please visit our consulting page to learn more and start the journey!

Homepage Heroes: Martha Brent

Martha is one of our senior consultants - like many in our community, she brings her experience as an FTE into her roles with Simplicity, and we're so glad took the time to chat with us!

Sara: Tell me a little bit about the path that brought you to Simplicity!

Martha: If I look back, I can see three main forks in the trail that led me here. Early in my career, I sought the perfect FTE spot to grow, advance, and retire. That aspiration was disrupted by tons of turbulence in the telecom industry – mergers, acquisitions, and constant change. When I shifted to being an FTE at Microsoft, transformation and change were part of the culture and I adapted to that. Following a re-org, I took a chance on a consulting gig, to tide me over while I planned my next move. Much to my surprise, that side path opened up to huge possibilities. Instead of feeling like a temp, I became empowered to select roles that suited my skills and preferences. The third shift occurred when I realized that being in the right firm positioned me better to find the best gigs for me. That’s what led me to me to Simplicity.

Sara: What role are you doing right now?

Martha: Up to now, I’ve worked all over Microsoft but never in office of the CMO, which is where I am now. I was really attracted to being inside the marketing office, and it's fun to experience all of the tools and processes there. Also, this is a part-time role, so I now have the flexibility and time to do my board work, prioritize exercise and self-care, volunteer at the food bank, and have fun. I can be independent and have a great career at the same time. I will say that it was a little bit difficult to choose part-time instead of full-time, because I'm hard-wired to work, but allowing myself to ease into this new lifestyle has been an interesting challenge!

Sara: What are some of your favorite things about consulting - and with Simplicity in particular?

Martha: I like the control and the focus I get to maintain on doing what I do, very well. Simplicity has a great support system with recruiters and operational support. Most of my time and focus get to remain on my work and my client’s goals. I also like that it’s a women-owned business with an excellent reputation and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. I love knowing that I'm working with a team that works as hard as me.

Sara: What would you say to someone who's considering becoming a consultant but they're not sure it's for them?

Martha: Hmm… I would say, jump in. It’s a very low risk investment in yourself. You may find, like me, that what you thought was a little side path is actually your highway to more freedom, flexibility, and career growth. I would definitely tell them to research the firm they join to make sure its market specialties align to their own or where they aspire to be.

Are you interested in the consultant lifestyle? Please visit our consulting page to learn more and start the journey!

Homepage Heroes: The A Team!

We asked these three stellar consultants on the Global Brand Creative Team at Tableau Software the same four questions, and we got some fabulous responses - as always, we're #BetterTogether here at Simplicity!

Question 1: What is your current role?

Anya: I am currently a Project Manager on the Global Brand Creative team at Tableau Software. I co-manage the creative marketing assets for the annual Tableau Conference, manage the incoming requests for the Tableau Brand Blog, and I manage the Tableau Racial Equity Data Hub.

Alberto: I'm a Project Specialist on Tableau's Global Brand Creative Project Management team. I provide end to end PM support to the product team on product releases and other projects.

Aimee: My current role is a Project Manager on the Creative request queue for the Global Brand Creative marketing team at Tableau.

Question 2: How did you get here? Tell us a little about your career path.

Anya: My career path has been relatively all over the place! Fresh out of college, I got a job working with the City of Seattle and bounced around in different administrative roles. I decided about 3 years after graduating to go back to school to get my Masters in Finance. At that point, I didn't really know what I wanted to do but knew I would probably need a more specific degree (as opposed to my Bachelors in Business Management) and I had minored in Finance so it seemed reasonable. Just after starting grad school, I got a job at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a Registration Manager on their events team. I graduated from grad school in 2020 (right at the beginning of the pandemic) and still had no clue what I wanted to do! In the summer of 2021, Reiko reached out to me because she knew my educational and professional backgrounds and thought I could be a good fit as a PM and told me to check out the Simplicity job board. I started applying and here I am! I am very thankful she put that bug in my ear because I absolutely love the work I do now.

Alberto: I've been consulting for around 2 years now. I studied at the University of Washington and was lucky enough to work as a consultant on a marketing contract for Microsoft with another firm during my Junior/Senior year. I loved the experience and decided to pursue consulting after graduation.

Aimee: What really helped me get to where I am today was my previous role as a consultant being an event coordinator for Microsoft's Go-To-Market One Channel Partner program. I gained most of my marketing skills in that role, which allowed me to have a seamless transition as a PM on the marketing team at Tableau. Before I started work full-time upon graduating from the University of Washington, I had studied journalism and was very interested in writing and producing news stories. My strong ability to communicate with all sorts of different people, tell stories, and engage with the media has enabled me to step into the marketing industry with my unique background and experience as a journalist. 

Question 3: What do you like/love about consulting and/or working as a consultant with Simplicity specifically?

Anya: I think my situation as a consultant for Simplicity is a bit unique in that I was lucky enough to find a position that has the end goal of a FTE conversion. But I think the great thing about consulting, even with that caveat, is the freedom. Knowing that you have the opportunity to be involved with different teams and get experience in different departments is really cool! And of course working from home lol I feel so comfortable in my home office and feel like I can really focus and get things done, believe it or not!

Alberto: Working as a consultant with Simplicity has been a great experience. Simplicity's vast network of connections allows you to keep work interesting, contract after contract.

Aimee: What I like most about consulting at Simplicity are the endless opportunities to explore the different roles and areas of expertise Simplicity has to offer. There are so many different types of projects you can work on and the opportunity to grow in your role in such a short amount of time is very rewarding.

Question 4: What advice do you have for someone who's thinking about becoming a consultant?

Anya: If you think you want to do, DO IT! It's a great way to gain experience in departments that you may not have considered for yourself before!

Alberto: If you're interested in becoming a consultant, my advice is to give it a try and see if you like it! One of the best things about consulting is the flexibility to work different roles on a variety of different teams. This makes the work always interesting. There are opportunities for everyone, regardless of what work you love to do! 

Aimee: The advice I would give to anyone interested in becoming a consultant is to always believe in yourself and to never downplay the experience you have on your resume. Create an elevator pitch if you hate talking about yourself and always express enthusiasm in wanting to learn and grow because consulting is essentially the power of owning whatever skills or expertise you may have to share with others!

Are you interested in the consultant lifestyle? Please visit our consulting page to learn more and start the journey!