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I was ready to take a risk in the second half of my career and thought to myself, ‘What do I have to lose? This new role can leverage the skills I have already built.’ So, I moved from doing the work to advising on how to do the work.
HR Sales Director
Leaping with Confidence: A Second-Act Career Change
Making a successful career shift is absolutely possible when you leverage your current expertise. Your existing skills, depth of experience, and a can-do perspective can take you from your average daily grind to an even better second act. Take it from our Sales Director, Nikki Kietzer, who moved from a role in HR to sales after contemplating what more she could do with her career.
Hear Nikki’s thoughts on how she was able to harness her capabilities and confidence to succeed in not one, but two new roles at Salo.
Ready for a Change
I have been in HR my entire career—over 20 years—in both for-profit and non-profit and for a variety of organizations, industries and roles. When I hit that 20-year mark, I asked myself, ‘OK, so this is it!?’
I had had awesome opportunities to grow and develop, but still, I wondered whether this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my career. That’s when SALO answered the door.
The SALO Siren Call
I had previously been a client of SALO, and I was a fan. The team is professional, the consultants are solid, and everyone gets the job done. But being in HR, I had some skepticism. As I contemplated moving over to SALO, I wondered if my experience as a client would match my experience as an employee.
And it did because at SALO, we truly live our values. Decisions are based on relationships, not transactions. We don’t do the right thing just because it’s right, we do the right thing because we value our relationships.
And then there is the moment you walk through the SALO doors. The energy in our workspace is unbelievable. There are people, music, a disco ball. The energy is positive and collaborative, and you contribute as much as you take. I knew quickly this was the environment for me.
From Managing HR to Selling HR
When I started at SALO leading internal HR, I was quickly asked what would be next for me. I always told myself I wanted to take more risks in the second half of my career. So, as I started thinking about where the business could go, I realized there was potential in moving into the HR consulting part of our business.
As I thought about this new possibility, I started to feel an energy, different than before. I thought to myself, ‘What do you have to lose? The role requires experience I have —talking to clients, solving problems. Maybe I could do something different and add value, all using my prior experience!’
But it wasn’t that easy. I was used to leading the work and getting it over the finish line, rather than seeking to understand client challenges, advising them, providing a team, and then backing away. In this role, I would be moving from doing the work to advising on how to do the work. So, I asked myself, ‘Will I be successful’ and ‘Can I do this?’ In my career so far, I have been lucky to be successful, and I realized I could find a greater reward if I left my comfort zone.
The risk was more than worth it. And what I’m really enjoying is the pace.
When I previously talked with leaders about joining the team, they mentioned the fast-paced environment. I had been used to running a complex, large team, so I thought ‘I got this.’
What I’m finding is that there’s closure with the work, but it never lasts longer than ‘Yes!’ and then you’re onto what’s next. You’re always on and creating opportunities. It’s extremely fun and I’ll never be bored in this role. I am excited to be challenged in a new way that is so thrilling and rewarding – I’m having a blast!