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. During her last three years there, 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.
Elizabeth then changed careers, taking multiple steps and learning new skills at each position, eventually finding a job working for an international company as a marketing coordinator. Marc and Elizabeth discuss why she initiated her career pivots, where they took her, what she learned along the way, and how long it took to land a position that met her needs.
At the end of the interview, Elizabeth returns to the podcast to give a 2018 update on her career.
[1:28] Marc welcomes you to Episode 108 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[1:41] CareerPivot.com brings you this podcast. CareerPivot.com is one of the very few websites dedicated to those of us in the second half of lives and our careers. Take a moment to check out the blog and the other resources that are delivered to you, free of charge.
[1:57] If you are enjoying this podcast, Marc asks you to share it with like-minded souls. Please subscribe on CareerPivot.com, iTunes, or any of the other apps that supply podcasts. Share it on social media, or just tell your neighbors and colleagues.
[2:13] This will be the last week you can take the 2018 Repurpose Your Career Podcast Survey. If you would be so kind, please go to CareerPivot.com/podcast-survey (where you will be redirected to SurveyMonkey) to take the survey. Marc will publish the results in January 2019. Marc thanks you in advance for your participation.
[2:39] This will be the last episode of 2018. Marc will not be publishing an episode on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. Marc will restart the podcast on January 7, 2019, with an interview of Elizabeth White, author of Fifty-Five, Unemployed, and Faking Normal: Your Guide to a Better Life.
[3:03] This week will be an encore episode where Marc interviewed Elizabeth Rabaey. Elizabeth has made multiple pivots to go from an air and water environmental permitting specialist, to be a creative marketing type. After the replay of the episode, which originally aired in March of 2017, Marc will bring Elizabeth back to give you an update.
[3:29] Marc welcomes Elizabeth to the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[3:43] Elizabeth started working with Marc in 2012 to pivot her career journey. She is grateful for Marc’s mentorship to keep moving forward. It takes longer than you might think to make major changes, especially after being in one industry for a long time.
[4:32] Elizabeth also had help from Jean LeFebvre of Panacheimages.com, an image consultant and others along the way.
[4:40] Elizabeth’s first half of life included working for a year in St. Paul, MN, after college. The winter 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.
[5:15] Elizabeth had wonderful opportunities at that firm, 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.
[6:32] One day, Elizabeth felt that she wanted more, and she opened the door to looking for a different opportunity.
[6:42] The spark for Elizabeth to make a change was that 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 volunteer activities, hobbies, or travel.
[7:29] How did Elizabeth start looking for ‘that next thing?’ LinkedIn was an influence. Where did she meet Marc Miller, and how did he catch her attention?
[8:39] 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 several of Marc’s clients.
[11:40] What did Elizabeth do to improve her networking skills? She has three opening questions to get a 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.
[14:08] Elizabeth talks about her multiple job pivots. The first pivot came by way of a networking contact at a bigger firm, where she got a job and learned marketing and project management. Elizabeth stayed there for a year. Why did she go back to her former firm, and what did she learn?
[19:04] Marc notes that Elizabeth worked with Vicki McCullough, of Sequitur Marketing, who markets to engineers. Elizabeth comments on the challenges of marketing to engineers and service companies.
[20:45] Elizabeth explains how she found her current position on a job board and on their website. 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?
[23:21] 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 she will perhaps have one more job. For right now, it is a good place for her to be.
[25:16] One skill Elizabeth has now that was not in her dreams of five years ago: her use 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.
[27:05] Elizabeth does all the graphics for Marc, and she is good. She has learned Canva and other apps. She is a closet ‘creative.’ She wants to learn the Adobe Creative Cloud and become somewhat of a graphic artist. Marc comments on her progress.
[28:33] Elizabeth leaves some parting advice. Keep moving forward, and surround yourself with good people who push you to better things. Don’t let the bad things bring you down.
[29:40] You can reach out and start a conversation with Elizabeth Rabaey on LinkedIn. If you send her a connection request, say you listened to her on this podcast.
[30:28] Elizabeth started as a client of Marc’s. Then she became an intern and then a paid consultant. She’s not the same person she was when she got started! Marc thanks Elizabeth for being on the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[31:06] Marc notes that episode was originally released in March of 2017. Next, hear from Elizabeth again about where she is now in her journey.
[31:16] Marc welcomes Elizabeth back to the Repurpose Your Career podcast. Marc invites Elizabeth to tell everybody what has happened these last 18 months.
[31:36] Elizabeth is with the global heavy-duty mining equipment manufacturing company she described joining in the previous interview. She works on marketing projects supporting company offices in Canada and the U.S. She is on a team of three people.
[32:12] Elizabeth does the national and regional trade show management. She coordinates and gathers all the equipment to be displayed at the show, as well as working with vendors to build and tear down the company booth. She gets everybody registered manages travel, and arranges company speakers for the conferences.
[32:40] Elizabeth also produces printed marketing materials, designing the layout and writing the text. She has learned a lot and gained new skills through managing a lot of projects. It’s totally different from her earlier career. She works with a manager who gives her guidelines and boundaries and lets her go. That works very well for Elizabeth.
[33:18] Her earlier job of air and water environmental permitting was primarily Texas-based. In her new job, she travels to Canada and Australia as well as the U.S. There’s always something new and different. She uses creativity to solve problems in campaigns.
[34:30] Elizabeth markets things such as slurry pumps. A slurry pump is a big, heavy-duty pump used in a mining operation that moves slurry (water mixed with dirt, minerals, and mud) from one point to another. The material is usually very abrasive and so is the environment around the pump. Pumps need to withstand severe conditions.
[35:08] Elizabeth has been stretched by this job. She has added InDesign to her skillset to print brochures. She has learned logistics and how to work with a variety of vendors to coordinate events.
[36:23] Marc would like you to notice about Elizabeth — she is willing to learn and take chances. Four or five years ago, Elizabeth did not imagine anything close to the position she has now. She praises her manager and how they work together.
[37:09] During trade show season, January through the middle of May, Elizabeth travels to trade shows, arranging vendors setting up the booth, attending the show, and tearing down the booth. She does two big shows in the U.S. and one big show in Canada.
[37:51] In her permitting job, she traveled primarily in Texas. Now she gets to go to Montreal, Vancouver, Denver, Vegas and other places like that.
[38:56] Marc thanks Elizabeth for updating on her pivot. Elizabeth says she is already looking ahead and keeping herself fresh for the next pivot opportunity.
[39:38] Marc hopes you enjoyed this episode. Marc has more encore episodes planned where he will bring back the guest at the end to update you on where they are now.
[39:46] Susan Lahey and Marc are working on the next edition of Repurpose Your Career, and Marc is looking for your help. Marc is forming a release team of readers who will get access to pre-release chapters of the book to provide feedback. You can be part of this team by going to CareerPivot.com/RYCTeam where you can sign up.
[40:08] When you sign up, you’ll receive the pre-release versions of chapters when they become available. What Marc asks in return is that you provide feedback and be prepared to write a review on Amazon.com when the book is released.
[40:22] Marc and Susan are adding around eight new chapters to the book and re-writing several others. Marc will release a new pre-release chapter on the podcast and to the team every four to six weeks.
[40:57] The CareerPivot.com/Community website has become a valuable resource for almost 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project. Marc will start recruiting for the next cohort in early January.
[41:10] If you are interested in the endeavor and would like to be put on the waiting list, please go to CareerPivot.com/Community. When you sign up you’ll receive information about the community as it evolves. Those in the initial cohorts will get to set the direction for this endeavor. This is a paid membership community with special content.
[41:46] Marc hopes you have a joyous holiday season. Marc and Mrs. Miller will be celebrating the holidays in Ajijic, Mexico.
[41:56] Check back on January 7th, for Marc’s interview of Elizabeth White, author of Fifty-Five, Unemployed, and Faking Normal: Your Guide to a Better Life.
[42:07] You will find the show notes for this episode at CareerPivot.com/episode-108.
[42:20] Please hop over to CareerPivot.com and subscribe to get updates to this podcast and all the other happenings at Career Pivot.