Who Says You Can't Switch Career Paths
At Centene, team members are encouraged to take on new opportunities, projects, tasks and mentorships that are in line with their career goals and aspirations. Missy B., a leader at Centene in the technology organization, has done just that — switching and transitioning from human resources into technology. She shares her story.
Architect to Higher Education
Missy B. has had a career journey that resembles a flowing stream, always moving forward with exciting twists and turns along the way. Starting out as an architect after college and gaining valuable communications skills, she followed her ‘calling’ and moved into higher education, spending 22 years and ultimately serving as a dean. It was during this career segment that she identified five themes important to her professional and personal life: people, experiences, design, marketing, and technology. These themes have guided her successfully when making important career decisions.
Higher Education to Human Resources
Drawing on her background in architecture and education, Missy felt like she wanted to explore a new frontier. This led to her first Centene role in human resources where she worked on a team that developed Centene's emerging talent programs, including university relations – an immediate connection point to her skillset and industry acumen. “When you make the decision to jump like that, you really have to understand what it is that drives you. What fuels you? When you do that, you can start to see what those transferable skills are.” While thriving in her human resources role, she still had the goal of learning more about and working in technology. “As an architect at heart, I go in and design and build sustainable programs. Once they’re built and operating well, I look for opportunities to design and build other programs and organizations.
Human Resources to Technology
After making her next career interest in IT known, she was able take on HR projects within the technology function. By taking on these IT-focused projects, Missy was able to leverage old and new skills when applying for an open IT role where she has now transitioned from human resources into technology. As the leader of the End-User Experience Group, she works to empower employees to adopt and thrive with technology.
A Bridge Between Teams
As Missy has settled into her new role, she has discovered one of the less talked about benefits of transitioning into a new area within an organization. “I became a bridge. I’ve been able to really see how HR and IT can partner on things. I think that there’s value to have individuals on your team that came from other areas of the organization. They’re helping you to connect to other parts of the organization.”
The Journey Continues
As for how she made the switch from HR to technology, she used her transferrable skills and love of people, experiences, design, marketing, and technology to guide the way. She also activated her network to identify what skills she might need to build. “I asked my friends and mentors on the technology side, ‘What can I do now to prepare for a career in technology?’” From those conversations, she would do further research to understand different methodologies. If someone suggested she learn about Agile, she would dive into that process and add it to her knowledgebase. And she hasn’t stopped after shifting to IT. She continues to ask her new colleagues if there are other processes or methodologies she should learn about. “I don’t have twenty years of experience working in tech like some of my peers, but what I do have is that fresh perspective. And I’m not scared to ask them what I need to know."