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?