How to pivot your career in your 40s with Amy Evans of Mooncake Consulting

amy.jpeg

Interview by Breanne Thomas

Hi Amy! Can you tell us a bit about what your do and how you ended up founding your own consulting business?

I’m a customer experience strategist. Recently, I joined forces with my partner in crime, Sophie Jasson-Holt. We help companies answer an all-important question:

“What customer job are you solving with your service/product?”

This question goes to the root of customer motivation, and the emotional and social reasons for using a service or product. Through our handcrafted research process, we listen deeply to customers and become ridiculously passionate — verging on obsessed — with our clients’ business. Recently, we launched a new service: our service design blueprinting pop-up. This co-creation workshop generates ideas and gets everyone on the same page. We walk through a customer scenario, step-by-step, and discuss the people, systems, and policies that deliver the customer experience. Together, we transform what can feel like a wild and freeform brainstorming session into actionable plans.

A little bit about how I got here. I founded Mooncake Consulting when I moved to NYC in 2000 with only my bags, no job, no apartment, and a hefty dose of optimism. As a child, I had a strong will and an entrepreneurial spirit. My parents were small business owners and they succeeded against tremendous odds. Now was my chance to go for it in the Big Apple. I found my first job through cold calling — by flipping through the Manhattan Yellow Pages.

As someone who has been in tech since the 90s, what challenges have you repeatedly run into and how have you handled them?

Tech has changed so much since the 90s. When I think about my career, a few key beliefs rise to the top:

  1. Take Charge. Be the champion of your career and do not be a passive bystander.
  2. Lend a Hand. Be the person who helps others. Let’s make “paying it forward” a contagious mindset.
  3. Be Curious. Tech is an industry of change. You are part of the change. Let curiosity open opportunities for you. Embark into the unknown, learn new skills, and read a ton.

What advice do you have for fellow Tech Ladies looking to pivot later on in their careers?

Great question. Because I’m actually in the middle of a career pivot, I have something to offer here. At the beginning of this year, I listened to a nagging feeling in my gut that I wanted to do something different. Months later, I’ll be honest and say it is still both exciting and a bit scary. Add to the fact that I’m a mother with kids, have family commitments, and financial responsibilities.

I’ve learned that a career pivot doesn’t happen overnight. If you are considering a pivot, create a plan, be patient, and stay committed. While you are exploring your pivot, don’t lose sight of your amazing kick-ass skills. This is your foundation, your bedrock. Dip your toe into new areas slowly. Learn a little, test it out, and adjust as you go along.

Here are a few pivot tips:

  • Tap into your vast network — there is a diamond here, go find it!
  • Check out books for free at your local library
  • Learn new skills on Lynda.com for free with your local library card
  • Join new online communities in your career pivot area
  • Tag team your pivot with a friend or buddy
  • Take a course or two or three

Good luck to my fellow career pivoters! And to learn more about pivoting, here’s a good book to get you going — Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One by Jenny Blake.