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!
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!
Interested in a consulting career with Simplicity?