Career Plans and Bungee Snaps with Brooke Threewitt

Brooke Threewitt, Manager of Learning and Enablement at People Data Labs, shares her career journey and insights with Jordan.
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Show notes

Some people are planners, preferring to have everything laid out; the future is clear. And some people are like bungee cords, preferring to be stretched, wanting to grow and learn, not sure where they’re going to end up, but enjoying the journey there.

Brooke Threewitt doesn’t have a 10-year plan. The career journey that has brought her to Manager of Learning and Enablement at People Data Labs is not one that she was always prepared for.

She shares her journey and insights with RevOps Therapist (and self-proclaimed planner), owner and CEO of Greaser Consulting, Jordan Greaser.

Jordan  00:00

Hi, everyone, this is Jordan, the owner and CEO of Greaser Consulting. We have Brooke on the call with us today who is in charge of some revenue enablement. We worked together really briefly at Outreach; we did some trainings together. And the thing that’s always interested me, just in conversations with her, she’s always been extremely confident, even in the situations of the unknown. And what I mean by that is she came in to learn this Outreach stuff with little knowledge, and right out of the gate, like it didn’t matter if she was ready to go, okay? As she’s approached career, and life, and 10-year plan, she’d be the first one to tell you, she doesn’t have it figured out. She doesn’t need to have it figured out. But she’s ready to go. She’s ready for today and just enjoys the process. You know, for me, I’m kind of a planner. I do enjoy the process, so to speak, but I want to… like what am I driving toward? What am I… what hurdle am I coming over? And it’s refreshing sometimes to talk with somebody who… their wiring is just a little different. And I mean that in a really good way. So I hope everybody listening today enjoys just the conversation with Brooke. We had a lot of fun. My kids make an appearance at the end. So go ahead and listen in for that. Enjoy.

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Jordan  01:38

Hi, everyone. This is Jordan. I’ve got Brooke with me today. Brooke, introduce yourself.

Brooke  01:44

Hi, everyone. I’m Brooke. I am a Revenue Enablement Manager at a small startup called People Data Labs.

Jordan  01:53

People Data Labs. Do you have any like what, what does People Data Labs do?

Brooke  01:58

Yeah, so we are… it’s a little bit, like, in the weeds technically to fully describe. But it’s a data as a service startup; that’s a data provider. We have a suite of APIs that other technical teams can take, feed our data into it, and build products on top of that data.

Jordan  02:17

Alright, so listen, if you’re in the need for some data services, Brooke is your girl. That’s the way that works. So I always like to tell a story about how I got to know somebody, how we first met, whether it’s just, you know, prowling on LinkedIn and saw some good content or work previously. And the way that I met Brooke, back in the day, was she came in… it’s like, I think one of the first new trainers at Outreach after I had left, and Outreach was in a really interesting spot where I kind of, I left, but then I came back to retrain the new trainers. And I distinctly remember, and this isn’t a shot at anybody else that was a trainer. But I distinctly remember training the other trainers, and there was this, like, sort of deep hurdle of let’s get the confidence to train salespeople. And like, what are the buttons? Where are we going? How do we do this? And then I came back and trained Brooke, and like the first day halfway through Brooke’s like, “No, I’m good; I got it.” And, like, I believed her. I mean, I believed her 110%. And by the end of that, like, two-day training, like she was training back with, like, more confidence than I had after nine, like doing it for nine months. So just so you know, that’s who we got on the line today. I don’t think there’s… I mean this with the most positive sense, just like fantastic trainer. A lot of confidence. So I’m really glad to have you here today, Brooke.

Brooke  03:47

Thank you. I’m so glad it comes off that way. 

Jordan  03:51

Oh, yeah. Like I said, no, no, no negative connotation here. So hey, jumping into this, I know we’re going to talk about sort of career path and pursuing opportunities. And before we even hit record today, you were talking a little bit about your eclectic path to today. So before I even ask you any questions, just to set the stage. Could you tell us a little bit about what your career journey has looked like up to now? 

Brooke  04:20

Oh, gosh, sure. Um, I kind of started out early career, I did not know that learning and development or learning and enablement was a career choice when I was in school. Like that wasn’t a thing that was presented to me. So I kind of fell into that by accident just from, you know, a parent of a friend who had this opportunity for me kind of soon after college to try out. And it was like HR learning and development. So I started my career out there, um, doing a lot of things like career development, training and manager training for kind of a larger, older school company. And then over the years, I’ve kind of dabbled in a lot of things. I’ve done a little bit of my own startup, did some project management. And then of course, ended up back in learning and development, mostly for startups. Reason being, just getting to do a little bit of everything. When you get to work at a startup, you get to wear all of the different hats, got a chance to kind of like dabble in genetics training, which was an interesting field to play around in, and then ended up at Outreach, where I met Jordan, really specializing on the sales side of things. And we were speaking about this before as well. But I feel like I got my, like two-year crash course in sales and sales enablement, specifically. And now I’m doing that at a startup as well.

Jordan  05:46

So the thing that’s kind of interesting to me about this is, I’ll hear all the time about people who did career shifts, right? Like, I went from a teacher to tech, or, you know, I was driving truck, and then I saw this opportunity; I took it. So it’s not, sort of, unusual to hear that somebody don’t, like they don’t take a completely linear path. But I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of somebody doing genetics training, which, like, you got to tell me what that even means. And then say, “Oh, I think I’ll be a sales trainer.” Like, first off, what is genetics to like, like, what are you talking about here? And like, what, what’s your guiding compass that can make you go “Yeah, I’ll go from genetics to sales training.”

Brooke  06:31

You know, for me, the reason I ended up with a genetic startup was just because it was a cool product. And so the thing that attracted me to that specifically was that it was a product that I had never heard anything like it. And it was very interesting to me doing cool things for the world. And they were just looking for someone who could do all around L&D. But that startup was called Arivale; it’s basically a genetics and healthcare startup that would pair you up with a dietitian, and you could get like a full genetics panel and blood panel done, and have a coach kind of do a very personalized program for you over the course of a couple of years. And the really cool thing was that we were collecting genetics data so that we could do some interesting predictive analysis with all of this anonymized data. So, kind of, my role as learning and development coming in anywhere, it’s not to be the expert in that topic. My expertise is taking complex things and making them really simple and understandable for people. And that’s kind of the thread that you’ll find throughout my whole career, I think, is taking complex things and making them simple. So for me, I’m working with whoever the expert is to take that really deep knowledge and turn it into something that anybody could understand. So we’re training dieticians on how to interpret genetics panels, for example.

Jordan  07:57

So I’ve heard that before; the, the worst trainer that you could choose is the one who’s the subject matter expert, because they’re gonna go way too in the weeds, versus somebody who’s kind of learning for the first time, like, it’s too hard to draw back. And so it’s not the first time I’ve heard that concept of like, you know, I don’t need to be the expert; I just need to make hard things simple. But I gotta ask this sort of in reverse, though, if you go from training, in enablement from like, an Outreach sense, where, like you weren’t the SME coming in, but you sort of be… you almost did the reverse, though, right? Like you sort of became this SME, and then moved into a position where that’s required, or am I like, am I going off script here, so to speak?

Brooke  08:43

No, you’re absolutely right. That’s actually something that was a challenge for me early on is because, you know, after two years at Outreach, and getting to see, because I was on their professional services teams, so I got to see how, like thousands of different organizations run their sales teams and run their Outreach strategy. So I came in really hot actually at PDL, with like, all this advice about how we were going to change everything about how they use Outreach. And I actually think it didn’t serve me well, initially; I had to like, slow my roll and kind of meet us where we’re at and do a little bit more incremental change. But I do get to be kind of fresh eyes for the data as a service side of things. That was something that was new to me, and getting to do a little bit of product enablement for the revenue team is where I find that piece of it a little bit more.

Jordan  09:35

So let’s, let’s like, let’s go, you know, I’ve sort of veered us off; we’re gonna come right back to the center here. Because as you talk through your career, and the different places you’ve gone to, the different things you’ve done, like, clearly there’s a learning and development thread in all of it, you know, even when I’m sort of baiting you and saying, “Well, you’ve become the SME.” And you’re saying, “Well, now there’s a learning and development side of what I’m doing here.” Like, what is it as you’ve sort of chosen your path? It’s been a little eclectic. Like, what are those core things that you’re holding on to as you’re looking? Like, how do you know it’s time to be done? How do you know, like, this is the right company? And what are you looking for in between as those, like, indicators that this is the right time to be done, right time to move on, and this is the right place?

Brooke  10:22

Yeah, that’s a great question. Because I think I have a little bit of a different approach to that than a lot of people do. I’ve never really had, like a 10-year plan in mind, or the next step in mind, really; there are just a few things that are really important to me to be getting out of where I’m working. And I’ve been very lucky to be provided with new opportunities at the right times as I’ve gotten throughout this journey. But for me, the key things are, do I like and respect leadership? You know, am I interested in this product? And does it have business merit? But the biggest things for me is what can I learn? Have I learned everything that I can learn here? Can I still see the path to adding value here? And once those things kind of start to dwindle out? That’s when I know, alright, it’s probably time to be open for the next opportunity.

Jordan  11:12

So I hear two things. Like, do I want to work for this leadership? Am I interested in the product? And like, is this, is this something to learn? Like, have I maxed out my learning? Is there any one of those three things that you sort of put above the rest, like… And what I mean by that is, “Man, I love the leaders here. But you know, as I’ve gotten into the product, like, there’s nothing more for me to learn, I’m kind of done,” or is it like, “Man, if I, if I love the product and I’m still learning, I don’t really care who I’m working for because this is fascinating,” or is it really, like, it’s all three or nothing?

Brooke  11:51

Oh, that’s a good question. I would say the learning for me personally, at this stage in my career, is probably still the most important. But that being said, there’s a certain level of like toxicity of leadership and things like that, that no amount of learning is worth. So there’s definitely some balancing act between those three factors. But for me, personally, I feel like I’m a professional learner, that’s, you know, I’ve been lucky enough to build that career for myself. So that to me, if I’ve, like, gotten to the point where I’m not growing, that I gotta go, that’s the key.

Jordan  12:24

What’s the, what’s the difference maker for you with leadership?

Brooke  12:29

Hmm, this is a good question. Um… for a direct manager, the difference maker for me is investment in my career path and in my growth; that, to me, has really been the differentiator between managers that I would follow from job to job, versus ones that I just kind of work under and live with. Um, yeah, I think that is the key thing is investment and growth and mutual respect at the end of the day.

Jordan  12:58

So you’re, you’re less concerned. I mean, this might be like, if this is too political of a question, so to speak, I’m not going to ask you specifics. But if, if it’s too political of a question, just tell me. But, but to some, for some folks, it’s real… I mean, we even see this with our consumers now, right? “I’m not gonna buy that product because of some list of like, you know, this is their beliefs,” you know, for the good or the bad, or the ugly, right? I’m not getting into specifics, but “I’m going to buy or I’m not going to buy because they support or don’t support.” So when you think about leadership, is it really important to you that sort of macro level, that you feel the leadership layer is, like, aligned to certain causes? Or they’re, they’re active in certain ways? Or, or maybe quiet and other ways that are really important to you? Is that part of the decision-making? Or is it, and it might be both/and; it might be neither? But is it more like, “Well, no, like, if someone’s pouring into me personally, and I’m developing and I’m learning like, like, to me, that’s more important than any, like, sort of public stance or silence”?

Brooke  14:10

Oh, this is a great question. I think to an extent, it does matter to me to feel good about the cause, or to feel good about what I’m doing. In terms of like specific causes that people speak out about or don’t, I’m hesitant to take that as the thing and run with it only because I think there’s a performative aspect to that too. Like oftentimes when you see you know, C-suite leadership oversharing, about certain political values, you start to wonder, like, are you living that in your actual culture? Or is this marketing, like really good marketing that you’re doing as well? So for me, seeing it acted out in a company culture is a lot more important to me than what the company is speaking out against or no. Like, for example, the company I work for now is very insistent on being apolitical, which I actually really appreciate. But I find that internally the culture is very inclusive and accepting. And that to me is much more important than the lip service that’s being put externally, if that makes sense. 

Jordan  15:15

Yeah, I know I went a little sideways on that one. So Thanks for, thanks for being willing to answer that one. But I like that, that ends up being It might even be like, generationally an important question… seems like at the boomer layer, right, it’s like, “what are you talking about, you go to work, you shut up, you got home,” right? You start going down the line, you get all the way to Gen Z, and I’m talking really general statements here, but you get to Gen Z, and it’s almost the exact opposite. Like, “if I can’t see your report card, then I’m not coming.” You know what I mean? And so like that, actually, I’ve been, maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’ve been sort of surprised, like how important that report card has become. And so I like your take there about, is it, is it real? Or is it lip service? And let’s just see how the company actually behaves. But how do you? Like, is there a way? I know you didn’t even say this is the most important thing, but I think it’s, it’s a necessary thing to ask, is there a way when you’re in the interview process, or you’re looking to shift jobs, if you’re not going to just go and see what’s being posted everywhere, like, how are you determining that that company culture is actually aligned in a way that you can, you can sort of lean into, without, if you’re not going to say, “Oh, I’m gonna use LinkedIn as my guide”? You with me?

Brooke  16:38

I’m absolutely with you. Yes. Um, for me, it’s been throughout the interview process, and not just with like, the top-level person, but definitely with them too, asking those questions like, what is it that you value? Or even like, data as a service, for example, you could put some big brother implications on that, and world implications on that. And I did ask those questions in the interview process of, you know, like, is this ethically-sourced data and wanting to know that, feeling like you’re interviewing them as well, for a mutual fit, instead of just feeling like whatever I can do to get my foot in the door has been really crucial for me in finding that information out and making sure it’s a fit culturally. And then also even like Glassdoor; I definitely will snoop on not just the things that leadership is public, like posting publicly; I will also look at like, what are their current and former employees having to say about the actual, like, boots on the ground culture there? And what is that like?

Jordan  17:42

Let’s come back to your, your sort of main driver, which is that learning piece. Why is learning sort of that central, like that North Star for you, that sort of captures things above? Like, why is that something that just since you were a kid, learning has been important, or, you know, you ran into a situation and then you know, knowledge is power? So like, what is it about learning that just, okay, that’s my true north?

Brooke  18:15

Oh, there’s a couple of things in there.

Jordan  18:18

I’ll take that. Ooh.

Brooke  18:21

You have good questions today. These are the hard-hitting questions. Um, but yes, I had my… I had a parent who was an entrepreneur; my dad was an entrepreneur growing up. So I think that’s what sparked my interest in startups and kind of that getting to do a lot of different things in your role. But for me, it’s really just boredom. I am very easily bored at the end of the day. And so having something to look forward to, something to grow in is what keeps me satisfied in my career. I think that I am somebody if I, you know, was lucky to win the lottery tomorrow and able to retire, that I would still want to find that thing to, you know, keep me getting up in the morning and growing that day. And so I intentionally built that into my career so that it’s always interesting to me.

Jordan  19:09

So I had a director of education that I worked with once, and I was chatting with him about things. And you can tell me if you found this to be true or not. I was chatting with him. And anyway, we got on the topic of like, where I come from; I’m from Central Pennsylvania; it’s a rural area. That’s where I grew up. When somebody sort of goes somewhere, they’re going to work there for 20 years. 30, you know, 10 years. I mean, you get into the tech world, and people are there, six months, two years, you know, 18 months, whatever. It’s real quick. So I was talking to him the one day about learning and development specifically, and I said, “Hey, why is it that every time I look at like a learning and development resume, there’s always this like, two-year window? Like it’s really specific. This is like two years, two years, two years.” He said, “Well,” he said, “So you’ve broken into the world of the learning folks.” And I’m like, “Well, yeah, that means nothing to me. But what like, what do you mean, the learning piece?” “Well, it takes two years to get 80% of the knowledge that you need for that subject. It takes 10 more years to get the other 20%.” And he said, “In the learning field, when like, everybody doesn’t need to be a SME, and they’re sort of guided by this ‘I want to learn.’” He’s like, “It’s, it’s a consistent problem with learners, that… two years, they’re 80% of the way and now anything else they need to learn, it’s just going to take too much time, and they need to just consume more information.” And I sat there; I was a little mad at him, because I thought, “Well, I’m wired that way. Like, I’ll punch you in the face.” Right? But like it, does that resonate with you at all? Are you like, “oh, man, this guy’s nuts”?

Brooke  20:52

No, that definitely… I say no to mean, yes, that definitely resonates with me. Yeah, because at that point, when you’re at that 80% mark, you have a bit of a choice, like, do I double down and make this specific thing my expertise and my niche and my career? Or do I become you know, that jack of all trades and learn the next thing up to 80%, so that I can have agility? Because you know, that’s attractive as well, just economically; it makes you a little bit more recession-proof because you can do a lot of different things when you’ve just like surface-level learned all this information. But doubling down feels like a very big commitment niche-wise to me.

Jordan  21:34

Well, I’m glad you said it that way. Because you said something at the beginning of this call when you said, learning… and then you said, at this point in my career, is the most important thing. So let’s qualify that statement: “at this point in your career”. It sounds to me like you might even be asking yourself some of those questions, right of like, “oh, you know, I’ve been in this a while, is it double-down time or not?” Is there a phase in your career, where learning won’t become the most important thing anymore? Again, I’m just asking because you specifically mentioned like, you know, “at this point”.

Brooke  22:15

Yeah. Um, for me, I think that’s also just life progression as well. I currently do not have any kids. My career is kind of, like, the main thing that I have going on. So for me, that’s, right now, it’s really important to be learning and to be growing in that way. Maybe someday, if that changes, I would want to kind of be able to coast or double-down and settle on one specific thing that, you know, I haven’t had that experience yet. So I don’t know, maybe learning will continue to be the priority, but maybe not. And that’s I’m trying to remain open to that eventuality as well. 

Jordan  22:58

Interesting. Yeah. Well, I wasn’t wasn’t trying to get you there. But I was just thinking about, like, I talk to people about this all the time is like, folks will take a job. And they’ll be like, “This is my dream job. I’ve, I’ve always wanted to do this.” And then two years later, they’d be like, “Oh, man, I’m not fulfilled; I’m empty. I need to go do something else.” And then they’ll, they’ll ask the question, like, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just be happy?” And my sort of, my sort of common thought here, and I’d like to get yours. It’s like, “Well, listen, the person that you were two years ago, that signed up for that job, like, you were blissfully happy for 18 months. And then, you know, you changed.” And I’m not saying that in like some big way, like, you’re different, or it’s bad or whatever. But like the process of life is you develop, you learn, you grow, tastes change, preferences change. And so, you know, you’re not the person you were two years ago when you started, and maybe you did find your dream job at that point. And now the compass has shifted. Anyway, you got any, got any take on that? Or are you like, “no, no, when… you are who you are, and that’s the way it is.”

Brooke  24:11

I’m with you 1,000%. I think that’s part and parcel of the learning mindset is that if you’re learning and you’re growing, you will be a different person in two years. And rather than thinking of a career as like, a destination that I’m trying to reach, or a certain title that I’m insistent on having, I really think of it as, like, a personal development journey. That’s not just my professional life. It’s my whole life. That goes along with that. And of course, you’ll be a different person in two years. I hope so; otherwise, you’re not growing.

Jordan  24:43

So… have you ever heard the old phrase of like the 10-10-10? You said you don’t have a 10-year plan, but like, “you need to sit down; you need to write your goals in. You need to say like, ‘what do I want to be in 10, 10 days? Where do I want to be in 10 months? And then where do I want to be in 10 years?’” Right? It’s like the airplane analogy, right? Like the runway, and then the sky and all this stuff. So, you’ve talked a lot about the… you take a different approach; you’re not a 10-year planner, or you’re not, or whatever. But I’m going to ask the question anyway: as you look out into the future… is there looking out into the future for you, I guess, is actually the question of like, maybe it’s not a title or whatever, but I want to be at this place in life, or are you really a sort of, you know, c’est la vie? As life comes, I’ll deal with it, or are you sort of pushing toward anything out there in the ether, so to speak?

Brooke  25:43

Sure. I think my personality is a little bit triggering for people who are very comfortable with having a specific plan. I’ve just found in life that, when I plan, things don’t typically go that way anyway. So being that open, and being that willing to, you know, accept new opportunities that come along, even if they’re not within that plan has served me well thus far. But in order to stay, like, motivated and goal-oriented, I mean, there’s value in some planning, but what I tend to do is have it be a little bit more abstract. So rather than “I want a C-suite title, by this age”, it’s more like, “I want to be in a role where I am growing in this way, in 10 years, or where I feel this kind of fulfillment in 10 years” where that could apply to a lot of different things. But it’s still goal-oriented. And that mindset has kept me open to opportunities that have gotten me further and taken me in different directions in my career that I don’t think I ever would have had the opportunity to do if I was really set on something more rigid.

Jordan  26:54

So, Brooke, you just said the word “rigid”. As… this is kind of funny, as I’m looking out the window here as we’re chatting, let’s talk about something’s not rigid. This is way off-topic. But I just looked out the window and saw my son trying to push my daughter on the swing. But he had gotten a bungee cord and was stretching the bungee cord and, like, pulling it so she would go higher. And I just thought, “Oh my goodness, I got to hit pause on this thing and yell at him that like it’s going to snap back and hit you; don’t do it.” And just as I thought that, you said the word rigid; it snapped off it slug and hit one of them.

Brooke  27:36

Oh, no. That’s creativity, though. I’m impressed with that plan.

Jordan  27:43

So there you go on this, on this podcast today. Listen, we had, we had career plan, and we’ve had bungee snaps, right? Oh, what else? What else could you want life? Brooke, I appreciate you, you coming today and sharing some of this. I know. You know, we didn’t spend a lot of time preparing. And we just got on and chatted today about pursuing these opportunities, how folks are wired differently. And I think, just listening to you talk about how you might drive the Type A personalities a little mad, but, you know, there’s some balance here, you know, at a minimum of, of like, enjoying the spot where you’re at and not being so stressed about tomorrow that I think, you know, even myself listening to you speak today, like that’s an important takeaway for me. And I’m sure you know, folks listening sort of can catch on to that thread. Is there anything else that you’d like to just share before we wrap up?

Brooke  28:45

No, you know, I really am grateful and flattered that you asked me to come on and share a little bit about my weird, my weird career path thus far. Yeah, I’ll leave it at that.

Jordan  28:58

All right. And for everybody listening, no, I didn’t just leave my kid outside crying. They stood up, screamed, rubbed it for two seconds and then went running away, so they must be just fine. Thanks all for tuning in. Brooke, thanks for being here. And we look forward to catching everybody next time. See ya.

Brooke  29:16

Thank you so much.


Hot dog. That was a great episode. Thanks for listening. If you want to learn more about Greaser Consulting or any information you heard on today’s episode, visit us online at Be sure to click the Follow button and the bell icon to be notified on the latest here at RevOps Therapy. Thanks and see you real soon.

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