From frustrated and underpaid to successful and making a difference.
Hi, I’m LaKiesha Tomlin.
I help technical and engineering leaders to improve employee engagement and retention – whether that’s increasing collaboration, growing careers or building professional relationships.
But that’s not where I started.
Early in my career, I was trying to get ahead the same way most professionals try to get ahead.
- I was “connecting” with everybody because I thought it was the right thing to do.
- I was applying to jobs online – (I think I applied to about 120 jobs within my own company, and even more at other companies).
- I went on about 40 interviews… and I got some offers, but none of them were great.
And I was frustrated.
I was putting in so much time and work, but it wasn’t panning out. I started doubting my skills (even though my resume was legit and impressive).
I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.
Fast forward to today.
I’ve had global engineering leadership positions at top companies in aviation and computer technology and I’m the founder of Thriving Ambition, Inc., a management consulting company that works with technical organizations and companies to increase engagement and improve retention.
I’m a leader that my team (and others) look up to.
I get to help others
- land their dream jobs,
- execute employee engagement initiatives,
- deploy employee retention strategies
- and share my engineering management thought leadership with thousands of people…
And I get to travel around the world, work on leading technology projects, make new friends in several countries – and I’ve even fulfilled one of my bucket list items of walking on the Great Wall of China.
So what happened?
How did I go from hundreds of job applications for “safe” positions, awkward interviews, and a handful of mediocre offers…
…to being a successful leader…
…and even someone executives seek out for advice about their own challenges and goals, like achieving work-life balance or figuring out their next career step.
It wasn’t that I just “worked harder,” or revamped my resume a million times, or slowly, painstakingly worked my way up the chain.
I was able to leapfrog to where I am today because I made 4 key shifts:
- Relationships – I started reaching out to leaders in areas I was interested in and building relationships with them – so when opportunities came up, I was already top of mind for them.
- Clarity – I learned how to talk about myself and my mission – not just in interviews, but also in conversations with other leaders and executives within my company.
- Confidence – I had to get comfortable talking about my accomplishments. (It’s not “bragging” – the people interviewing you WANT to know what you’ve done!)
- Positioning – I learned to “market” myself – i.e., talk about my accomplishments in a way that was appealing to the interview panels.
Today, I work with technical organizations looking to improve employee retention and engagement and career development.
I also work with technical leaders and executives who are successful and looking for ways to improve their work-life balance so they can have more time with their families and doing the things they love (outside of work).
Interested in working together?
What Past Clients Are Saying:
“LaKiesha was very efficient at developing steps that were easy to execute to get me to the next level of my career goals. I also greatly appreciated the fact that she followed up to make sure that I completed those steps and was genuinely concerned with making sure I achieved the expected outcome.”
– Michael H., PhD
LaKiesha took the time to hear my frustrations with my career. I loved the company I was working for, and I especially loved the people – but I didn’t feel passionate about that particular job.
I went through many job interviews before talking to LaKiesha, but when I used her advice, things started to change. Instead of just being a final candidate for most interviews, I was being offered jobs. I finally accepted an offer that best fit my passion.
– Walter S.
LaKiesha’s coaching is unique, insightful, and very beneficial for my upcoming interviews. Her techniques equipped me with ways on controlling the interview and negotiating salary. I had greater confidence after our coaching sessions.
LaKiesha listened, questioned, and identified the guidance needed and provided directions on what to do & how to achieve my desired goals. She opened my eyes to the need of a coach. I highly recommend her coaching sessions.
10 Facts About Me
#1. I absolutely love travel! I’ve been bit by the travel bug a couple years ago…solo international travel, conferences, birthday parties and meeting up with old friends. I like to stay connected.
Paris, France – 2016
#2. I’m not super-religious. I consider myself to be more spiritual. I believe in God/ Jesus. Connecting to God through prayer, appreciation of nature/life and expressions of gratitude. I also believe in: living a life of optimism, progressive thought, and simplicity.
#3. My diet is mostly pescetarian. It’s like being a vegetarian but you can eat fish and seafood. I cheat and eat chicken every now and then to make sure I’m getting enough protein.
#4. I’m always listening to music. I love Jazz, R&B, Gospel, some Rock and tons of old school music. Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Earth, Wind and Fire, Alanis Morissette, Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, Maroon 5, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Katy Perry, India.Arie and many, many more. Got caught lip-syncing and dancing in my seat a work too many times!
Mammoth Lakes, CA – 2016
#5. I don’t watch much TV. I can go weeks without. I ditched my cable years ago and got Netflix and will occasionally binge watch a few seasons of my favorite shows.
#6. I love movies. Action movies, the classics (black & white) and stuff that makes me laugh. Give me a good fight scene and tons of explosions over a sappy “romance” movie any day!
#7. I am a super nerd and total book lover. Usually, I’ll have a list full of chores to do on the weekends. Instead of cleaning or whatever, I’ll spend my time finishing a book. I’m a huge fan of non-fiction books based on: psychology, autobiographies, business, leadership and personal development. (Shocking, I know, haha.)
Copenhagen, Denmark – August 2016
#8. I am a minimalist. I realized that excessive material possessions only complicate life. I moved 3 times in 2 years. I focus on QUALITY vs QUANTITY. I still cull things from my life that do not bring me happiness, including personal relationships.
#9. I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri. I have lived in Maryland and California (SoCal and NorCal). My goal is to save up enough money to travel the world for 1 year primarily in Europe and Asia.
#10. I am an extrovert! I love hanging out with people, making new connections and being sarcastic and goofy with friends. After a long day of talking to dozens of people, I unwind by kicking off my shoes and pants, grabbing a snack and firing up my computer to recharge.