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Stories from the team: from employer branding consultant to Director of Client Services

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Jill Shabelman is Stories Inc.’s new Director of Client Services. In this post, Jill shares her story about her transition from corporate employer branding to consulting several progressive employer brands. Jill then made the decision to go full time into a client service leadership role. Meet Jill! Additionally, learn her journey from employer branding consultant to full time.

After nearly four years in a corporate employer branding role, I started to wonder what it would be like to work in a setting that gave me the opportunity to see a lot of different environments. I also wanted to find a place where my experience would be valued, I could explore my interests, and my personal values aligned with the culture. Coming from the employer brand world, I knew I’d need to look deeper than a company’s career site to understand what it’s really like somewhere new!

Timing is everything

As a former recruiter, I knew patience and timing is critical to landing the right opportunity. And, I didn’t want to rush such an important decision. On a whim I mentioned to Lauryn that I was open to project work as I conducted my search. The timing was perfect: Stories Inc. had just won a global branding engagement that would take their team around the world for a few weeks. I could support their U.S. clients in the meantime. So, I started consulting with Stories.

Coming up to speed

My first on-the-ground experience at Stories Inc. was in Kansas City for an interview day with Children’s Mercy Hospital. I heard the incredible stories of nurses, care assistants, and research team members and I was hooked. My first project was inspiring and so impactful!

As I got up to speed on our methodology and approach, I started managing projects and building relationships with clients across a variety of industries. 

The moment I knew

I immediately and naturally connected with my colleagues. One of my first onboarding conversations was with Anna, our project manager. Anna was swamped, spending a lot of her time preparing for the global project she was managing. But, the first thing she did was jump on a video call and ask a ton of questions about me. She took the time to get to know me before launching into the Stories process and methodology. Anna checked in with me almost every day to see if I needed anything and was with me every step of the way as I created my first piece of client content.   

I loved every minute of the work I was doing. Stories continued to grow and after a few months, I was offered the opportunity to move from employer branding consultant to full time and permanent team member. In fact, I was asked to lead our project team as Director of Client Services. I couldn’t say yes fast enough!

Contractors as strategic talent sources

My story is not unique. In fact, plenty of people start as a consultant and eventually convert to full-time. However, the 2019 Deloitte Human Capital Trends report found that most organizations see contractors or freelancers as a transactional solution to work they need done. Unfortunately, far fewer organizations see these contributors as a strategic source of talent, which are missed opportunities.  

There is so much value in ‘trying’ before ‘buying’ a new career, I believe. Consequently, we’ve heard this from our storytellers too, such as Joanna of BAE Systems, Inc: “I was offered a job as a contractor and of course I said, ‘Yes.’ This is honestly one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I made it very clear, even as a contractor, the minute they had an opening I definitely wanted to be here as a full-time employee.” 

Personally, I could not be happier with Stories Inc. I found a job that leveraged my experience at an organization that aligned with my values. Having the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture and a job with a light commitment gave me the “real look” at a company I was hoping for. 

Did you see our comic strip introduction to Jill on LinkedIn? Enjoy below, and connect with us for the latest industry news and trends.