Moving Into a Senior Business Analyst Role with a $30K Salary Increase: Tracie Edwards

It’s my honor today to introduce you to Tracie Edwards, a founding member of the Circle of Success career coaching program, and one of the leaders in our community. Tracie recently received a new job as a Senior Solutions Analyst, with a very significant salary increase.

Watch or read Tracie’s story to discover:

  • How she gained more recognition for her role, in an organization that didn’t have a clear understanding of the value of business analysis.
  • The opportunities she said “yes” to, and how opportunity often slips in the back door when you aren’t looking for it.
  • How declining further job interviews actually led to an amazing job offer – and a $30K salary increase.
  • How she’s moving forward to establish herself in a new business analyst role, even with limited access to her manager.
  • Why celebrating her wins every day helps her maintain a positive mindset.

Connect with Tracie on LinkedIn

 

For those who prefer to read, here’s the full-text transcript of the interview.

Laura Brandenburg: Hello and welcome everyone. Here today with Tracie Edwards who’s a Senior Solutions Analyst out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Welcome, Tracie.

Tracie Edwards: Thanks, Laura. Happy to be here.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah, I’m super excited to meet with you today. Tracie has been a founding member and a huge contributor in our Circle of Success career coaching program and agreed to sit down and share some of the amazing accomplishments she’s had this year and talk us through how she ended up in that senior level role and some of the other things that have happened to help inspire you on your business analyst career path.

Tracie, why don’t you just start us off, maybe take us a step back towards where you were the beginning of this year in your career; what role you were in, what you liked about that, and maybe what some of your frustrations were.

Tracie Edwards: Sure. I guess it was probably December/November last year; I was working at a trucking company. I was a Business Process Analyst and enjoyed the organization. I was also in a Master’s Degree program through Penn State campus at the time and was looking towards my final semester. Was trying to figure out for myself where it was that I wanted to go with this degree and this career. Didn’t think that the current situation was going to be super long term. I felt really good about it at the time, but I knew that it probably could not become a long term thing just based on my ambitions and such.

As you posted on LinkedIn about what interests people would have in getting more of a coaching opportunity and that kind of thing, I felt that it was a great time for me to sort of jump into that and see if I could help to grow from where I was. I didn’t think there was an opportunity in that kind of thing where I was.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah, I’m kind of remembering back to that now, there was this shared kind of you were in a good spot and it was comfortable, but it wasn’t where you ultimately wanted to be and you also had just finished, or were almost finished to a significant degree. How long did you spend pursuing that degree? That was a big commitment.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah, I started in January of 2017. Just about 2 ½ years and I went to sort of on the calendar year, so I was going to school in the summers as well and taking one or two classes at a time.

Laura Brandenburg: What were some of your hopes when you joined the Circle of Success program in January?

Tracie Edwards: I was looking to maybe discover some things about myself that were, perhaps, keeping me from progressing the way that I wanted to and maybe trying to find some clarity around what I wanted to get from the degree, and that kind of thing. My degree is Enterprise Architecture, but I’m not a highly technical enterprise architect and that kind of thing.

I was more interested in organizations and strategic goals and that kind of thing. So sort of more on the business architecture side. But sort of uncertain there as well. Just trying to understand some things about myself and maybe find some clarity on where I wanted to go. And now I definitely had some ambition to go further.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah. As you think about the year, obviously the new job is a big one, but are there other milestones that stand out to you before that?

Tracie Edwards: Definitely graduating was huge for me. I turned that into a big memorable experience and went out to Pennsylvania and did the walk and a lot of that kind of thing. I think previous to that, I had been recruited a bit by this other organization and I know that was a cool thing to have somebody come looking for me. But it had been seldom for me before. I think those were a couple of things that gave me a little more confidence so that I could do some things to approach my then employers to see what the possibilities were and kind of stick up for myself and promote myself in the organization.

Laura Brandenburg: And how did that go? Before the new position, you also went back to your previous employer or current employer at the time to try to expand your role. What were some of the results there?

Tracie Edwards: I worked pretty closely with the VP of Technology there and he had asked for some feedback on how things were going and I sort of said, “Here’s what I’ve been doing this last year here, so I’ve been contributing. I think I should be a senior level analyst.” He said, “Okay,” but didn’t say anything beyond that.

Then sort of along that time a couple of people, other business analysts left the organization and that made things a bit uncomfortable. Several people had left within a certain time frame. I sort of went to the boss and I said, “Here’s what I’ve been doing. I need somebody’s who’s willing to help put me forward and be an advocate for me.” And it was something that had never really crossed her mind before, but it seemed like sort of a light went on there and she said, “Oh, okay. Well, I can do that. And let’s kind of start working on that.” I think it was rather mixed, but positive mixed. There was no, “I think you’re crazy,” or anything like that. They seemed to sort of accept that, yes; they needed to address something at some point.

Laura Brandenburg: So you really went to somebody and asked for an advocate, to be an advocate for the role and for you in your career?

Tracie Edwards: Mm-hm. I think I had a well-intended boss, but one who didn’t really know how to grow her people and stuff, and I don’t know that it was like a priority for her as much. But when I did bring it up, there was some recognition that she may be needed to think more about this. So, it ended up being a positive conversation.

Laura Brandenburg: Did some results come from that, too? I imagine a lot of confidence came from just having the conversation.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah. Definitely, I think confidence was a big one because I felt like when I joined the organization, I needed to do some things to boost my confidence and I felt like I kind of grew in confidence as that year went along.

We did have a conversation about, “Well, here’s what we can do for you now, and then here’s what we think we can do in a few months after that.” It’s sort of a plan in place although it was sort of an undefined timeline and stuff. There was definitely an attempt to, “Let’s see what we can do for you.”

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah, that’s awesome. Anything else you want to share about that before we talk about the next opportunity that came up?

Tracie Edwards: I think there were some learnings that I needed to get in. I think I was kind of weirded out why people were leaving and I got into kind of a negative space a bit and I needed to have some constructive feedback from some people to help me turn that around. Some of that came from friends and some of that came from the Circle of Success. I think that was super helpful.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah, it’s always good to have that kind of outside perspective just to see it in its full awareness.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah, it helps me reframe and sort of rethink how I was approaching things with my manager and stuff.

Laura Brandenburg: Tell us about the next opportunity. When did that start? Was this the company that had been recruiting you?

Tracie Edwards: This was the company that had been recruiting me. Right as I was on the east coast for graduation, I found out that I did not get the job. I had interviewed that month and did not get the job.

Well, I was kind of making some other plans. I know we talked about I was thinking maybe relocating or doing some things to jump-start how I was feeling and they happened to call as I was considering some of those other things. They called me again and asked if I were still available. They had a new role. They felt I’d be a great fit for it. It was a senior role and would I come in and talk about it, and so I did. That was very unexpected. I went in and talked about it.

Laura Brandenburg: That one, I remember you bringing up and it was either in Slack or one of the calls, “I don’t know that I should even go down this road with them anymore.” And I think Paul and I were both like, “Nope, this is opportunity saying yes.” You started to get clear about what you wanted and you’d been exploring all kinds of things and then this same opportunity kind of slid in the back door for you.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah, it really kind of stunned me and I was glad to have the group to sort of bring me out of that shock a little bit and sort of move forward. That was a big help.

Laura Brandenburg: But then you still had, at some point, you still withdrew yourself again.

Tracie Edwards: So, what ended up happening is I had already, I think, interviewed with them three times back in April. Then I took another day off and went in and interviewed again and they basically replied back and asked if I would talk to the hiring manager. “Well, sure.” I took some time off to do a Web-Ex with the hiring manager. Then they said, “Will you come in for a few hours and interview with these other people?” And I said, “You know, I can’t keep doing this.”

Laura Brandenburg: And this is travel. You had to travel.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah, I had to take time off. I had to make special plans and that kind of thing. I said, “If you’re obviously uncertain about me, then, I think maybe we should both move on and I hope you find a great candidate. I really appreciate you coming and talking to me again and that kind of thing. They said, “Oh, wait a minute, wait a minute. What if we have you just talk to one more person and we’ll do a Web-Ex.” I just said, “No, I think I’m good with my decision.”

Then the hiring manager’s boss called me and said, “Hey, I don’t know what happened, but we really like you. I think you’re the right person for the job. It’s yours if you want it.”

And so I thought, you know, how could I not want to work for someone who wanted to reach out and make things right and that kind of thing. And so I asked them to send me an offer.

Laura Brandenburg: Just the power and the confidence to say “No,” like that. Obviously you had a current job, so it’s not like…it’s more difficult when you’re in between, but still, I don’t think there were other opportunities right then that were surfacing. So the trust that if this isn’t it, something else will materialize, that you had in yourself.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah, I felt like I had an iron or two still in the fire with some other things. I knew that I was secure where I was and it was going okay. I felt that I would be okay if I said no. It was one of those things where I think sometimes we worry about choices, but really, any choice could be the right choice. We just need to make a choice.

Laura Brandenburg: If we could feel good with it and move forward. That’s so true.

Tracie Edwards: Right.

Laura Brandenburg: What would you like to share about the offer?

Tracie Edwards: This was on a Friday afternoon and they couldn’t get the offer to me over the weekend. But I just did a lot of thinking over the weekend and thought, well, I probably have to go for it and if it comes anywhere good, I need to say yes and that kind of thing.

I got the offer Monday morning and it was about $30,000 more than I was currently making. Definitely on the high side for what I think the market is here in Salt Lake. And it came with a bonus opportunity, and it came with a stock opportunity. It was a senior title and I said, “Yes,” pretty quickly.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah, I remember you sharing. You were so excited on the offer. It was a great offer, too.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah. Just strictly from a numbers perspective, that’s sort of what I went back to with the other company. I said, “Just from a numbers perspective, I need to say, “Yes,” to this. I really appreciate the opportunity to have been here and all the things that have occurred while I’ve been here, but just the numbers are such that I need to take this.” They ended up being very good about it.

Laura Brandenburg: It was the numbers and I know you felt like the connection from that VP and the title, kind of all the things combined.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah, I think there are very few leaders that will ask for constructive feedback and make an effort to apologize if something didn’t go quite right. I was really, really impressed by that. I’ve never seen that in my entire career. I knew that I needed to really reconsider and see what they could do with that.

Laura Brandenburg: Tell us about the role. You’ve been in it a couple of months now, right?

Tracie Edwards: Yeah, so about 7 – 8 weeks now and it’s a Senior Solutions Analyst. I work on the telephony development team. Most of my team is in San Francisco. That’s where my boss and the team engineers are located. And then myself and the VP are located here in Salt Lake. It’s a contact center organization operations side of the company. There are a lot of inbound and outbound sales, customer service, and that kind of thing.

The telephony team works on the IBR and phone administration products and that kind of thing. I am the Senior Business Analyst for that and I’m interacting with the business stakeholders trying to understand what their needs are, what their priorities are, and trying to bring those to the team.

Laura Brandenburg: And as a new business analyst, like a lot of them haven’t worked as a business analyst before, right?

Tracie Edwards: Yeah, that’s been sort of the situation. They haven’t worked with a BA in a while. They don’t know what to expect or what my expectations are. I’ve noticed that there’s some hesitation to sort of engage with some of the standing meetings and such like that, so trying to understand what’s going to make it most effective for them. They want to get in there with them and sort of promote their requests and that kind of thing and that’s definitely a work in progress.

I’ve also been asked to manage the backlog. Trying to really go through the backlog. It’s got a list of requests and maintenance items and it’s kind of all over the place. Not a lot of the things are really business driven. I’m trying to work on that as well so that they kind of have an understanding for you to make sure that the things we’re working on have value.

Laura Brandenburg: Right. What I keep seeing from you in the group, too, is this commitment to being that Senior BA. Getting it in your head how it is a senior BA does this in bringing that forward, which is pushing you forward, too. Some of that’s been uncomfortable. These people don’t know how to work with a BA. You’re really kind of bringing that to them. It’s been fun to watch that over the last few weeks, I’m sure.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah, that’s definitely been an ongoing thing for me, especially. I know we’ve had the conversation around how much access do I have to my boss and that kind of thing. And, so how do I move forward when I don’t necessarily have the access to him when he’s really busy and stuff? And so I’ve been very consciously, in my head, “Okay, what would a Senior BA do in this situation?”

Laura Brandenburg: Yes, and sometimes asking, too. Great way to use the group.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah.

Laura Brandenburg: I love your journey. I think it’s so exciting to watch just in these nine months that we’ve been together where you’ve grown. Obviously, you were doing a lot of work before that as well.

When you think about this year, does anything in particular about your participation in the Circle of Success kind of stand out to you? Any of the teachings or elements of it that was helpful as you made some of these transformations?

Tracie Edwards: I think, definitely, some of the teachings around, as we’re growing and as we’re succeeding, here’s how we’re helping other people. Being willing to sort of make sure the things I’m doing are also helping other people as I go along.

The Einstein Time has been a big thing, especially as I’ve been trying to kind of calm myself down when I’m commuting with time and that kind of thing. Einstein Time has helped.

Just being able to ask questions when I really don’t know who else to go to. I know that I can go to the group to kind of get my questions out there and everybody’s usually really good at responding and giving advice. That’s been super helpful.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah, you’ve been there sharing your wins regularly, too, which I love to see. One of our win hunters, as we like to say. Every day’s a win.

Tracie Edwards: It helps me stay positive. It helps me to see the good things happening in my life. Sometimes we don’t always, as easily, recognize it. Being more aware of those wins have been a big help for me and being aware of all the wins of the folks and the rest of the group is a big help as well.

Laura Brandenburg: Is there anything else that you’d like to share?

Tracie Edwards: I think just being willing to put ourselves out there, being willing to grow and pushing if we feel like we’re not getting where we want to go is helpful. Looking for constructive feedback in all those different things, I think, just continuing to sort of act and move forward.

One of the things that I remember you saying was action leads to clarity. Sometimes when I don’t have that clarity, I just need to do something to move forward, and that’s a big help for me.

Laura Brandenburg: And we can get so stuck kind of rethinking.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah.

Laura Brandenburg: I have a final question that I like to ask which is one of the things that I have come to appreciate even more so building a successful program is how success looks a little different to everyone. And so I’d love to hear what does success look like to you? How would you define that for yourself?

Tracie Edwards: Oh wow. I think sometimes I struggle with success needing to be a more visible thing than it is. I think success, for me, is just knowing and feeling like I’m in the right place right now, that I’m helping other people and that kind of thing seems to sort of validate me these days.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah, that’s awesome. You’ve mentioned that a few times, the impact that you’re making and as you grow, how that actually affects other people.

Tracie Edwards: Yeah.

Laura Brandenburg: It’s definitely a core principle in my life, too, so I appreciate you for being part of that and carrying that torch as well.

Tracie Edwards: You bet.

Laura Brandenburg: Thank you, Tracie.

If anyone listening in would like to learn more about the Circle of Success, we’ll make sure to share a link with that below.

But in the meantime, Tracie, I’d just like to thank you for sharing your story and sharing your win and letting us know, like, what it took to make those things happen because I think your journey has been amazing. But also people would be like, I would have never have thought to approach that in that way. And so sometimes these opportunities come in unexpected ways, and I just really appreciate being able to share that with people.

Tracie Edwards: Thanks for giving me the opportunity. It’s always fun.

Laura Brandenburg: Awesome. Thank you, Tracie.

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