Meet MJ!

Sara LeHoullier
October 14, 2022

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