Episode 20 – Elizabeth Rabaey talks about her career pivots and her safe landing.
Elizabeth Rabaey has had to take multiple pivots to get where she is today. It wasn’t just one step. Elizabeth is a creative, with a love for details. She spent 25 years working for a Texas-based environmental engineering consulting company, providing project management, and technical assistance on many innovative engineering projects. During the last three years, she transitioned to the marketing and business development side of the company, which enabled her to combine both her creative and technical skills to promote the company.
Recently,Elizabeth found a new job working for an international company as a marketing coordinator. She provides her marketing, content development, and social media support for the North American division of her company, that sells equipment, products and services to the mining industry. She’s taken multiple steps, and in each one along the way, she’s learned something, and gained new skills. Marc and Elizabeth discuss several topics, including why she initiated her career pivots, where they took her, what she learned along the way, how long it took, and how she finally landed a position that meets her needs.
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[3:06] Elizabeth talks about working with Marc for five years to pivot her career journey. It takes longer than you might think to make major changes.
[4:15] Elizabeth’s first half of life included working for a year in St. Paul, MN, after college. Weather inspired her to move to Austin, where she worked for the state government for three years. Looking to private industry, she went to a small environmental engineering company, and worked there for 23+ years.
[4:53] Elizabeth had wonderful opportunities, and learned technical skills, like calculating air quality emissions, managing hazardous solid waste, planning around groundwater and stormwater, and more. She worked in many roles, and learned new software. There was always something new, and she had great mentors.
[6:07] One day, Elizabeth felt that she wanted more, and she opened the door to looking for a different opportunity. She felt like she had reached the end of what she wanted to do in that company. She also wanted to rein in her overtime and weekend hours, to make room for travel or volunteer activities.
[7:05] Where did Elizabeth start looking for direction? Where did she meet Marc Miller, and how did he catch her attention?
[8:14] At the Metropolitan Breakfast Club, Elizabeth met style and image consultant Jean LeFebvre. Used to T-shirts and shorts, Elizabeth needed a new image. Jean started by tossing out all Elizabeth’s clothes, and then she helped her select a business wardrobe. Jean LeFebvre has had remarkable success with many of Marc’s clients.
[11:17] What did Elizabeth do to improve her networking skills? She has three opening questions to get the conversation going. Just get out, and do it! It’s necessary, and it takes practice. Do what you feel works for you. The Metropolitan Breakfast Club was a good place for Elizabeth to learn networking.
[13:43] Elizabeth talks about her job pivots. The first pivot came by way of a network contact at a bigger firm, where she got a job, and learned marketing and project management. How did she go back to her former firm, and what did she learn this time? Why did Elizabeth find it hard to market for engineers, and to guide them in marketing?
[20:20] How did Elizabeth find her current position? How did her five years of pivoting help her to get the job? What does she especially like about this job? How is it different from past roles?
[22:57] The most interesting thing: her company has no office in Austin. There are three employees who work in Austin from home, including Elizabeth’s boss. Jobs are largely becoming location independent. Jobs do not have to be where you live. Elizabeth feels it is a good place for her to be.
[24:51] One skill Elizabeth has now that was not in her dreams of five years ago: her application of social media for marketing and branding. Another skill: collaborating with separated project team members, using text, and conference calls. Let go of “the way you’ve always done it,” so you can grow. Elizabeth has learned to be a creative.
[30:44] Marc’s notes: It took a long time for Elizabeth to leave the environmental engineering world. She needed to maintain an income. It had to be done incrementally. Getting out would not be quick or easy. She nudged the firm forward in marketing for three years as she grew. She was very persistent, but leaned on a lot of people to help.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Contact Marc, and ask questions at: Careerpivot.com/contact-me
Elizabeth on LinkedIn: Elizabeth Rabaey
Elizabeth on Twitter: @2ndAct4Me
Jean LeFebvre, Panacheimages.com
Vicki McCullough, Sequitur Marketing
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