I graduated from college with a marketing degree in a small college right outside Detroit. Just as I finished school, Detroit was ripped apart. First by the .com bust followed by 9/11. Almost overnight, the Detroit economy turned to a complete mess. Known as the motor city, It was said for every one job at the big three (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) 5 additional jobs in Detroit were created.. or lost.
Right out of school, I worked directly for R.L. POLK & CO for nearly three years before I began contracting. I was married by then, on my husband’s health insurance, which gave me the flexibility to take on contract roles that in place of benefits, I was offered a much higher salary with an opportunity to rapidly gain new skillsets. I took on a spectrum of roles related to marketing, ranging from promotional products, survey design, market research, data analytics, and sales with an emphasis in automotive, ranging from OEMs to suppliers to aftermarket. I learned SPSS, mTab, Worked with JD Power Data, Wards Auto, and learned firsthand about Ford’s fleet Remarketing program while onsite at Ford.
Fast forward to 2005, I became pregnant with my first son. I was working for a struggling automotive supplier and ironically as I started to show, I was laid off, told my role was eliminated (I was a direct hire at this role and qualified to receive benefits)
After my role departure, I interviewed for a contract role at an OEM and when asked openly was I pregnant, I said yes and did not get the job. Because I was several months pregnant and now showing, I couldn’t land another job anywhere.
By the time our first son was born in January, Detroit’s economy was a mess. Even our little 1950s ranch’s value dropped to about $170,000, and I stayed at home with our son. During this time, my husband was offered an opportunity to move to Atlanta, and off we went.
Soon after arriving in Atlanta, we knew something was off with our son. He was too perfect and quiet… mother’s instinct kicked in, and I knew something was wrong. After a lengthy process, We soon learned our son was on the Autism Spectrum, and so we began intensive therapy consisting of speech, OT, and music. My days at home were soon filled with regular doctor and therapist visits. At a doctor’s suggestion, I placed my son into daycare to work on his communication skills. I went to work part-time as an Office Manager to continue having the flexibility to take my son to all of his ongoing doctor appointments. I drove whatever value I could into the role, subsequently saving the company $15,000 in Health Insurance while streamlining the procurement of invoices, resulting in $10K savings.
The small business I worked for was bought out shortly after my second son was born, and after a test to even land an interview, I was hired at IHG as an Executive Assistant.
Soon after joining the company, I was promoted to support the Chief Brands Officer, who reported directly into the CEO, my first exposure to senior leadership, and serving as a business partner to the C- Suite in a $64 Billion organization. My role varied, and I did what was necessary to drive our business forward by keeping my boss on track as he was pulled in so many directions daily. I took on various projects ranging from authoring a monthly newsletter to event planning and organizing community relations events… all the while being closely mentored by the man credited with creating brand journalism; his concepts are part of many colleges marketing curriculum, even more relevant today.
All the while I was working, I was now a mom to two boys. Unlike my first son and due to financial reasons, my youngest was placed into daycare at six weeks old. Daycare for both my boys was cut abruptly when my youngest developed pneumonia and so began a revolving door for childcare. My boss was supportive, complete understanding on days I had to leave to pick up my oldest from daycare when he fell off playground equipment, and had to go to the hospital for stitches to understanding that life happens and babysitters don’t show.
Instead, my boys were part of our ways of working; he had countless dinners with my family, and it was never a big deal on days I didn’t have childcare to bring my boys into the office… and the story goes on.
To this day, I don’t know how to write a resume in a chronological format to suit ATS while bringing my story to life in a way that doesn’t age me yet encompasses what I am capable of doing.