Expert helps people find a career that is the right ‘fit’

Christie Gilbert

By Kelley Carlson

Local resident Christie Gilbert’s career is helping other people find a career.

The principal and owner of Gilbert Consulting Services often works with college students in their third and fourth years, new graduates, and people who are finding themselves in the wrong career and are needing to transition.

Gilbert has developed a process to help her clients understand who they are and what career fits them. Then she helps them network and find opportunities that are interesting to them.

“The more self-aware you are, the easier it is to find and pursue your passion,” Gilbert said.

The Colorado native knew she was on the right career path from her first job, at Digital Equipment Corp. (HP). During her time there, from 1981 to 1996, she served as an education program manager and later as an organizational development management consultant. While she was employed there, Gilbert earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Regis University in Denver, and a master’s certificate in curriculum instructional design and technology from the University of Colorado.

Gilbert then became an independent management consultant, facilitating learning programs and simulations in the areas of team effectiveness, process improvement, change management, performance technology and organizational development, for nearly a year.

After working for Compaq/Digital Equipment Corp. (now Hewlett-Packard) and Kinko’s Inc., Gilbert landed her dream job as director of learning and development at the now-defunct software company Peregrine Systems in March 2002. She moved to Carmel Valley from Ventura with her husband, Marty Streim, to be close to her job — and was laid off four months later.

Yet Gilbert kept a positive attitude.

“It all worked out,” she said.

Her next step was to become an independent consultant for Strategic Organizational Solutions, before being named director of global learning and organizational development for Memec LLC.

Finally, in 2004, she established Gilbert Consulting Services, offering executive coaching and leadership training along with organizational development services. From 2006 to 2010, she provided coaching services for early tenure professionals as a faculty member of leadership development for a top global consulting firm.

More recently, Gilbert started spending time helping friends and clients handle career transitions, and subsequently began transitioning into a career development coach. She helps people find jobs suited for them, but is not a life coach.

“It’s very rewarding when working with a client and when they have those ‘a-ha’ moments,” Gilbert said.

There are two important steps in finding satisfaction and success in a career: becoming self-aware and identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and building and leveraging your network, Gilbert advised.

“Most people in successful careers have relationships they built along the way,” she added.

Gilbert has aided hundreds of people from around the world in their jobs over the years, and identifies a local woman as one of her top success stories. The woman was a high achiever in high school, and enrolled at UCSD as a finance major upon advice from her family. However, she was struggling academically in her second year. After Gilbert had the student take an assessment test, they discovered the major wasn’t “right” for her. Deciding to instead pursue international business, the woman switched majors, and Gilbert coached her with networking and internship interviews. The student said she now has the best internship she ever dreamed of.

Kim Perl, a friend of Gilbert’s, said that as a favor to her a few years ago, Gilbert met with her sons to help them get past a few obstacles so they could continue collaborating on their iPhone app business.

“She (Gilbert) was a huge help... As she began to help more and more people find their way forward in meaningful and fulfilling ways, she began to realize helping people identify and achieve their career goals was her passion!” Perl said in an e-mail. “That’s when she decided to fully embrace this new direction in her own career. Her coaching approach focuses on the use of assessments to aid in a client’s self-discovery of strengths and personality traits, followed by guidance as to how to leverage them, and she’s very good at it!”

Gilbert said her goal is to help build the next generation of leaders.

“It’s great to watch folks progress,” Gilbert said.

She meets with clients for an average of three sessions, although the number depends on the services needed. Her hourly fees vary, and sliding scale is available.

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