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How she did it: Joyce Wallace

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

Each month we feature inspirational women who've made it to the other side of career change. Learn how they did it and take away usable tips from their career journeys! This month, we're proud to feature reinventor Joyce Wallace.

After a successful 20-year career in government, Joyce made a successful pivot to the private sector, using her expertise in tech and finance to land a dream position in the retail sector. Read our interview with Joyce below, gain from her experience and find out How She Did It!

What's your personal mantra, mission or manifesto

I challenge myself and others to achieve excellence by challenging the status quo, thinking outside the box, and learning new skills without forgetting to laugh along the way.

What inspired you to launch your current career/launch your business?

I spent too many years letting fear keep me from leaving the public sector. Like many people, I experienced loss, grief and other personal challenges last year. These experiences caused me to step back and ask, "if not now, then when?"

I took the time to invest in myself in the form of training, coaching, networking and reflecting. I realized that I love the people aspect of every job I ever had.

During the pandemic, I became fascinated by human behavior and how people coped with extraordinary challenges which led me to investigate the retail sector. I was obsessed with one company that was never interested in me! :) But following that company opened my eyes to other opportunities out there, eventually leading to my current role at Williams-Sonoma, which is such a perfect fit for me. I've always loved this company as a customer, but it's been great fun to learn about how and why the company is successful.

What's unique about returning/pivoting in midlife? Challenges & opportunities?

My experience became more specialized as I progressed in my career and I was concerned I would be pidgeon-holed into a similar role. People have mixed reactions to government sector experience, sometimes overestimating the challenge of transitioning into the private sector. It was important for me to talk with people who had worked in both the government and private sectors. This research helped me understand how to address potential concerns and highlight advanced skillsets that are needed but less common in the private sector.

What’s one intention you have for your work this year?

I intend to continue to cultivate my networking skills so I can solve problems more quickly and learn from others experience. Also, I am working with a highly capable team. I intend to figure out how I can help them advance their careers.

What are you most passionate about right now? I am passionate about advancing women in technology and executive leadership.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Right now, most days are like drinking from a firehose! I'm trying to soak in as much as possible about a large, diverse and interesting project portfolio.

What’s the one thing that has advanced your career in the last year?

I met people from various backgrounds and asked a lot of questions so I could understand how my experience would translate into a different context.

Who’s your “tribe” when it comes to professional inspiration or support? Professional women who have overcome obstacles.

Favorite book, app or podcast? Podcast - Cautionary Tales

You’re granted an extra hour in the day, how do you spend it? Listening to one of my many Audible books.

The advice I wish I had given to my 20 year old self is… Don't undersell your experience. Build a diverse network and recognize there's an abundance of career paths out there.

The advice that I want to give to my 75 year old self is... Don't stop learning new things.

Your theme song that played every time you walked in a room would be? Brave

Best career advice for other women? Don't be intimidated by insider vocabulary or people who are overly confident in their own abilities. Recognize the value you bring and be bold enough to ask for a seat at the table.

When did you feel you got “you” back? Through spending time with women in my accountability group, I was able to process my experiences and recognize the fears that were holding me back so that I could see and celebrate my strengths.

What’s up next? As part of making a transition into a new sector, I know I will be in a learning mode early on. One thing that I love about my new role is that my company encourages us all to be recruiters! I want to continue networking and connecting exceptional people with great opportunities.


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