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Changing Her Rules: Mary Clare Kellett’s Journey Back to Work

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Mary Clare Kellett faced a turbulent stage in her life. As she changed her marital status, she also moved, and some challenging health issues introduced themselves as she worked to find gainful employment. Oh yes, this happened in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic.

She recently landed her dream job at Profiducia Trusted Family Partners as a client success specialist in asset management. The company delivers peace of mind in estate planning, durable powers of attorney, personal bookkeeping and other administrative needs where discretion and integrity are paramount. We talk with Mary Clare about her road to this satisfying new stage in her life.

Q. You joined us last year for our Career Catalyst program. During that time you were unsure of what your next career steps would be. Were you able to find some clarity during the program or did it take more time and introspection? What types of things did you do during your discernment process?

When I started the Career Catalyst program I was worried about ever finding a match for my varied skill set. The most productive time was with Nancy Jensen, one of the Swing Shift Founders, as she pressed a hard reset button on my belief system regarding my skills and talents. Still due to a wide variety of skills I needed to identify and brand myself towards one skill set, which was not any easy task! I slowed down and really focused on what drew the best out of me.

The pandemic hit just as I was starting my search, so I shifted my focus from seeking a job to helping a local professional seamstress and woman owned small business with rent assistance and becoming an essential business, making masks for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and first responders.

Even though I was not paid it was good to be doing something to help protect people, and it led to me connecting with others at Seattle nonprofits on LinkedIn who shared my values and interests. It was through these contacts that I saw how my passion and interest while seeking a positive outcome to a common problem created an entirely new network.

Q. Huge congrats on landing your most recent role and during a pandemic no less! Tell us a little more about how you found this opportunity. What were the steps you took to get an interview?

One of my challenges was to select from my varied and deep bench of skills, deciding how to pick only one to market, and how to brand myself. In the meantime, I was going through a divorce that required me to produce an estimate of my future earnings. My lawyer arranged time with a career counselor who did extensive skill testing that further identified my strongest and best skills. It was during these sessions that he recognized that my skill set was an excellent match for someone he knew managing estates.

An introduction, a conversation happened and a few more interviews with the team members and I was onboarded! It is true that it all goes back to your network. And, the mission match was spot on.

One other thing I found to be very helpful with making connections was an AI application that matches people for professional meetups called LunchClub. You can sign up here It kept me sane and interested during the hunt. I was able to virtually meet new people and talk about our shared interests.

Q.How did you prepare for the interview? Were there any questions during the interview you found challenging?

Before my first phone interview I did as much research as possible about the firm and then reviewed what I believed to be my beneficial skills they would find useful. I listened carefully to their needs and afterwards pitched ideas and solutions to meet their challenges. The questions were hard. I acknowledged that I lacked experience with certain information while providing creative solutions on the fly. And I immediately followed up with a thank you email that included the references and website links cited in our conversation. The secret sauce was that I was able to relax and approach it as an opportunity to see if there was a mission match and accept that it may or may not be beforehand. Fortunately for me there was!

Q. What is your advice around the top three things people should do during their job search?

First and foremost, please take care of your health, both mentally and physically. After a year of intense medical scares I learned that health is everything. I created new habits: every morning I workout before touching coffee or any electronic devices. I invested in therapy sessions to create new mental habits that focused on the silver linings of life as I rewired my thinking processes.

Secondly, schedule time to discover your passions. Even if it isn't directly related to your field of interest it may be the basis of a new connection! People enjoy working with others who are curious and passionate about life.

Lastly, create a network around your work interests and passion, engage with others on platforms such as Linkedin, meetups, to reboot your connections towards the direction you are going.

Q. You've been open about your recent divorce and many women are facing this right now while going through a career transition all at the same time. What advice can you give to help those navigating both of these major life events?

Be forthright and upfront in the divorce process even when your partner is not. It is an act of self love that ensures respect for yourself. Ending a marriage is difficult. Lives and assets that have been enmeshed for years do not simply go their separate ways. In the midst of loss seek to live your truth by sitting in the pain and not running from it. Once I acknowledged the pain, it decreased and then rapidly faded.

Take extra care of yourself, call in all the favors you can from your friends and family. It is okay to need support during this time. Most importantly be there for yourself. Seek out some new interests, and invest in your passions. Be kind to yourself as you seek new employment, take breaks, be watchful about only filling out dead end applications without a contact at a firm.

Create new contacts that match the direction you are heading towards. Take time by yourself to honestly identify your needs and patiently seek to meet them one at a time. With time you may even find yourself gathering some of your wants as well.

If you find yourself needing some support during your job search be sure to join us for our Accountability Program kicking off January 2021! You will have a dedicated group for 6 weeks navigating, learning and cheering each other on through the job search or return to work process.


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