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!

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!

NTXGD22 Denise Fundraiser

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 www.northtexasgivingday.org/story/shesupply1m and more about She Supply at www.shesupply.org.


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: 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.

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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: 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. 

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Ty Hagerott
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Ty and his boys motorcrossing!
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Ty with his beautiful family!
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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!