How did I go from a part-time school lunch worker to a high-performing operations professional at a growing, high-tech Salesforce consulting practice? My career journey has been an uphill climb, and I now celebrate my 65th year on earth at the top of the mountain, with the proudest smile on my face.
After earning my Criminal Justice degree, I made a choice to postpone my professional career and focus on raising my two children. As I considered a career shift to an office job in the late 90s, I knew I needed more technical skills as the workplace began to transition, so I decided to get proactive and signed myself up for computer courses as I embarked on a job search.
I landed a Program Assistant role with the New Jersey Technology Council and managed NJTC’s office and events for 6 years. With the ongoing support and mentorship from the amazing women in my life and in the workplace, I continued to develop my networking skills and learned new aspects of the local tech community, ultimately getting involved with the creation of the JumpStart Angel Network (NJ), the NJTC Venture Fund, and served as a liaison between the council and the regional venture capital community.
Fast forward 16 years. It was too early for me to retire, and I knew there was more that I could offer; I was ready for my next career move.
Leveraging the relationships I had built over the years, I reached out to my professional network and secured many interviews. After a series of “you’re overqualified” reactions/responses, I began to wonder if anyone was going to give me the opportunity to continue on my career journey.
In 2016, I attended Internet Creations’ 20-year gala event. I’d known Chad (CEO & Founder) for 20 years, and I was thrilled to attend and celebrate his company’s success. Shortly after the event, I was recruited into the organization as an office manager. As I was rapidly approaching the typical retirement age, I had concerns about fitting into a contemporary high-tech organization. I quickly realized that IC had as much to offer me, as I could offer it.
“While we knew Ellen was overqualified for the office manager position, we also envisioned the potential to leverage Ellen’s wide range of skills as we ramped further into company growth,” says Glen Wilson, IC’s Director of Talent. “Ellen quickly expanded her impact on the business to include: collections, renewing SaaS licensing subscriptions, provisioning licenses to our products, and organizing team events. Ellen identified a need and opportunity to contribute her experience and skills into those areas, and more importantly, she has been fearless with embracing new technology, proactive in learning, and unafraid to ask for guidance or help.”
I was willing to embrace learning new things on the Salesforce platform which has opened my eyes to a new way of working, while at the same time, has provided IC Account Executives more time for partnering with their accounts on Salesforce strategy. Because I was also willing to embrace collaborating with a younger workforce, I’ve been given an opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the years with the team here – and they are teaching me, as well.
Navigating the interview process in my early 60’s was daunting; most companies had written-off any new potential l could bring to their organization. Internet Creations leveraged an innovative mindset to envision what I could contribute to its team dynamic, and I’m now thriving in my career and feeling 20 years younger.
In many ways, I’m just getting started.