Margaret Carey: New Opportunities

Maggie Carey is a new consultant at Propulo, an international human performance consulting firm that was founded in Australia. She and I were in the same cohort while earning our master’s in organizational psychology at William James College and I’ve admired her ever since our first class together. She is crazy smart, driven, and adaptable.

I’m a consultant of human performance and business transformation. It’s more of a junior role. The role itself is obviously very new for me, but the industry is probably what’s most challenging at this point. Right now I’m traveling and acting as a sponge with the intention of developing into an associate or principal partner position.

One of the most interesting parts about the role is using neuroscience and exploring what motivates us to be safe. I’m also learning to facilitate, mostly observing and slowing getting my feet wet in the industry.

When I’m not on site with a client, I typically work about 35-40 hours/week, mostly focusing on business improvement projects. Then, when I’m with clients I work up to 80 hours/week. The work is really engaging, so that part is good, but I can see how the travel can wear on you quickly.

We had a short conversation to explore how she landed this exciting new gig several months before completing her degree and what it’s like to work at a company like Propulo.

So, tell us about this new job. 

I’m a consultant of human performance and business transformation. It’s more of a junior role. The role itself is obviously very new for me, but the industry is probably what’s most challenging at this point. Right now I’m traveling and acting as a sponge with the intention of developing into an associate or principal partner position.

One of the most interesting parts about the role is using neuroscience and exploring what motivates us to be safe. I’m also learning to facilitate, mostly observing and slowing getting my feet wet in the industry.

When I’m not on site with a client, I typically work about 35-40 hours/week, mostly focusing on business improvement projects. Then, when I’m with clients I work up to 80 hours/week. The work is really engaging, so that part is good, but I can see how the travel can wear on you quickly.

That sounds fantastic, how did you get the job? 

I actually just applied through a LinkedIn Easy Apply process. I accidentally applied for the partner role which requires 15 years of experience, but when they saw my application it made them realize that they wanted to create a junior level role, so I essentially created my own position. I’ve been telling people to just put yourself out there and don’t be afraid of rejection. Do a lot of online research. The company also said they had seen success in this type of master’s degree, so that was one thing that helped me stand out.

What’s great about working at Propulo?

They have an almost European way of dealing with business. Whereas some businesses I’ve interviewed with, you have to really work to prove yourself, Propulo didn’t seem to be looking for my faults. When I walked into the room, they already seemed confident in me and my abilities. They have a much more humanistic approach, so I didn’t feel like I was being attacked. It’s pretty empowering, and we do the same with our clients. We go in saying, “You wouldn’t be a functioning organization without your talent, etc., so what can we do to help with your issues.”

At this company, you can just be real. A lot of people have an academic background, so we typically have pretty intellectual conversations, but everyone is also really transparent with each other. The interview didn’t feel like an interview as much as just a conversation with each other. They want us to be learning and growing constantly and they’re making an effort to make sure we have a work-life balance.

Are there any challenges about being a woman in your job?

It can be a challenge dealing with a range of people like executives and CEO’s to front line employees. A unique struggle is dealing with men with 30+ years of experience who struggle to see past two things: my age and my gender. It’s actually been vocalized on several occasions. You have to have a thick skin, learn how to engage and talk to people, get them to respect you. Once I get into the psychology of it and convince them that we care about their safety and want them to go home at night with all of their limbs, and their lives, then I can usually get their buy-in.

Being a woman in business in general can be a challenge sometimes. Especially while trying to earn the respect and attention of higher ups, with men who can’t as easily empathize the female struggle. But dealing with these hardworking, “backbone of America” type guys, it helps to fluff their ego — talking to them about how important their role is and what their value is. Many of these employees are responsible for keeping the lights on during crazy storms and providing necessary utilities that we take for granted, so it’s easy to engage them by emphasizing their importance. I’ve also become more knowledgeable about how important everything I do and say is. They are scrutinizing every word. I go in there already having a fight.

I’ve always said this with sports, even when I was young, just “fake it ’til you make it”. Confidence is the number one thing that’s going to make them think I know what I’m talking about. Some of my male counterparts can play dumb or ask questions if they don’t know something, but if I asked, they would think, “of course you don’t know that”. I also focus on being energetic and engaging.

Do you know someone else I should interview? Let me know

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