Consultant Spotlights

Jen Gadient: In the driver’s seat of her own career

After almost 20 years in healthcare staffing, Jen Gradient’s new career was just what the doctor ordered.

When Jen, an HR pro, wanted a change, she got an exciting new career, a bigger network, and a great copilot.

Jen had been working in HR within the healthcare staffing industry for nearly two decades—doing recruiting, sales, and also filling leadership roles. After her company went through a fourth acquisition, she wanted a change.

She needed a map to the next destination

But, she was asking herself, what was the next destination? “One thing I knew for certain was that I didn’t want to work in the industry I was in anymore, but I wasn’t sure how to get my foot in the door elsewhere. I needed an opportunity to figure out what area would be right for me without making a full commitment.”

Jen was familiar with Salo from industry events. “I was really impressed with Salo’s model and reputation in the market,” she says. She called because “there was change and opportunity there to do something different.”

It was the beginning of an exciting career …

“It was really exciting, and I was, of course, a little bit nervous—but I felt very supported,” she says. “That took some getting used to. I felt like I had to say yes to every opportunity, but the business development directors cared about whether it piqued my interest. They didn’t want me to do something if I didn’t want to.”

And the concerns she had about transitioning to other industries have evaporated, in part thanks to a shift in perspective. “With every client, I hope I bring, at minimum, 80 percent of my experience. But 20 percent should be what I will learn from them,” she says. It can be process, strategy, or a tool—anything that continues to add to her repertoire or help her grow. “You have an opportunity to not only share your knowledge but really expand your knowledge even more.”

… And a great networking experience…

And after being a part of a team so long, she also found that she was able to develop a great network despite—or perhaps because of—her consulting status. “I have a deep, meaningful home base and an expanding network of colleagues and peers I tap into. I am still in touch with the first person from my first consulting project. It’s the best way of building a network without awkward meet-and-greets. I have meaningful engagements and relationships without the corporate politics of being with one organization.”

Now she’s been a full-time consultant for six years, and even recruited her mom—who she worked with at her previous job—to consult with Salo, too.

…With Salo as her co-pilot

But perhaps the most helpful thing Jen found after working as a consultant was that she was always going to be in the driver’s seat of her own career from now on, albeit with her trusty navigator. “That copilot is Salo,” she says. “When you align with an organization that truly walks the talk and encourages that, it makes it really different. I’m not being told or pigeonholed. There’s a true appreciation and relationship. There’s something magical about that. It makes me feel empowered to really follow my interests.”

Did this story spark your curiosity about consulting?

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