Employee Spotlight: Gabrielle Turner

Posted by:
Marissa Dorros

Publish Date:
8 Mar, 2022

As technology advances and the markets shift, invenioLSI adapts to its ever-evolving environment and continues to put the needs of its customers and employees first. For one invenioLSI employee, evolution has, ironically, been a constant. Gabrielle Turner has been with invenioLSI North America for nearly 11 years, and throughout her time here, she has worn many hats and grown her part-time role into a full-time career in SAP. We sat down with her to shine the light on her inspirational journey.

Reassessing Her Career

Gabi began her career in the music industry during her undergraduate work, traveling the world and building her portfolio with such firms as Sony, EMI, and William Morris. Soon after starting her graduate work for UT’s MBA cohort program in Austin, Texas, she was tragically involved in a car accident. Awaking from a coma to find her world completely turned upside down, Gabi was forced to abandon her life as she knew it so she could focus only on healing—no more computer screens, no school, no strobe lighting from career concert tours, no more running marathons. Seven, slow, painstaking months after her memory started returning and she regained use of all faculties step by step in rehab, invenioLSI was the first professional step Gabi took to forging a new path to rebuild her vision for her future.

Gabi started at invenioLSI (then LSI) as a part-time Project Administrator at Travis County. She intended to return to her MBA program and her previous career, but as her medical team continued to weigh in on the prioritization of her healing and its implications for her life, she knew this next stage was about arising anew and redefining her professional world. As her work on the Travis project continues, she shares, “I saw more of what LSI was about and wanted to make myself valuable. Also, I saw where consultancy could tick off some of the boxes that I really enjoyed in the music industry. So, I saw LSI as a way to satiate that and help me define a path going forward.” She continues, “When I realized I could get the same excitement, mobility, and challenges within this new SAP environment and utilize honed skills within my wheelhouse while continually learning more, I was hooked.”

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Carving Her New Path

invenioLSI gave Gabi the chance to rebuild. She voiced her enthusiasm to be a part of the company’s future and continued to work diligently to prove it, landing full-time employment in delivery as a consultant. When the company decided to make departmental changes, her project manager at the time, Rick Miller, now Vice President of Project Analytics and Resource Management, was aware of her skill set and work ethic and advocated for her opportunity to work in the growing proposal and contracts department. She reflects, “Rick was really looking out for me, and I appreciated it immensely. Still do. He knew I would miss the constant travel but when opportunity knocks…” His and others’ mentoring and advocacies for her along the way is something she has never forgotten nor takes lightly and tries to pay it forward to others. Moving into proposals and contracts proved a good next fit for her coming from a legal-heavy background in the music industry. This move refueled her desire to earn a law degree. She reveals, “Bringing that legal aspect back to the table piqued my interest. I thought, ‘Maybe this will position me in a space where I can go back to addressing this.”

Over the years, Gabi has been honest and open about her career goals, including her desire to finish graduate work. She recalls, “I came to a crossroads of where I knew both department and professional growth were necessary.” Thus began her journey to create her own window of opportunity that would be opened by leadership and aligning visions. She explains, “When partnered with stellar managers and keen visionary leadership who know you are capable, hungry, passionate and have the best interest of the company at heart, and actually listen, the sky is the limit for anyone. Taking ownership of this forging of my path to professional development has been key for me here. I was no longer the woman who had to reinvent myself. It was staring me in the face to make it happen.” She knew she was on an accelerated path due to the company’s needs and growth and wanted herself to grow in her legal education to not just harness best practices and lessons learned but also to build the solid educational foundation necessary to help establish an in-house legal practice. After she researched and presented the benefits of her vision, her managers and leadership listened, expressed their interest, and included this as a part of their vision as they moved forward in decisions and dialogue regarding the company and its future.

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All About Legal Affairs

As her team grew, she soon moved on from proposals and contracts to all legal all the time. As Gabi became more and more versed in law and legal affairs, she was asked to take on customer contracts full time. This new role included providing the end-to-end legal link needed from pre-award status through post-award contract negotiation work, managing contract component compliance, and the nuanced statement of work for delivery follow-up. She maps the legal process line from its inception during the pre-award legal requirements of a proposal through to project award, contract signing, and expiry. She explains, “Currently, being able to legally weigh in sooner rather than later on the twenty plus points around legal requirements and risk mitigation that we look for in each proposal, allows for an accelerated contract negotiation process to win projects faster and aid delivery to move forward on a project.”
Gabi Quote
Now, as the company and its departments grow, this expansion has also created a surge of new work on her end as new processes and systems are warranted and instilled. She shares, “Right now, the most challenging aspect is defining my department’s specific scope within the context of what our merge into invenioLSI has brought to the table. This is an evolving position and department that is still a work in progress. Trying to juggle the varying scope and change management with law school has been next to impossible but there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Fortunately, the company’s success and merger mean that she has been able to hire someone on her legal team who can help her to build out the infrastructure, formalize processes, and manage compliance. She shares, “Working with Mia on the team has been great and her contribution is palpable. When we get the chance to partner with other department heads who want to strategize around new systems and processes to streamline overall company workflow and mitigate risks, the opportunities have been gold in helping us restructure internally in Legal.” Gabi looks forward to coming out the other end of this tunnel stronger as a department with well-established parameters of scope and procedure. Defining this structure will allow legal to better serve the company and create space for her to use her time more effectively at work while finishing up her law degree.

The Blueprint

Gabi’s qualities of perseverance, tenacity, resourcefulness, and reliability, combined with her career development, served as the base framework for our invenioLSI Grow program and the Associate Consultants, who start with little to no SAP experience and flourish into industry leaders. She admits, “I didn’t know at the time that I was forging a path. I had no idea what SAP was when until I applied 11 years ago and had to google it. Funny enough, it’s just been a journey of learning and sharing ever since. I am never bored here, and that is huge for me. I thought, ‘How do I make what’s presented to me fulfill what I need it to fulfill for me personally and professionally, and how do I keep going with this company? The associates in the Grow program have such a leg up.’”

Reflecting upon her invenioLSI journey, she comments, “I wanted to be a part of the team and the vision. This place gave me a platform and a runway for that and a place to reinvent my professional life. I will always be grateful for that opportunity and for management allowing my voice to matter and in turn allowing me to create my own seat at the table where it didn’t previously exist.” While she did not initially expect her role to last longer than her first project, she shares, “I keep choosing invenioLSI year after year because they keep choosing me, believing in me, and I keep believing in our potential as a company.”

Personal Life

Aside from her career success, Gabi has recently faced personal hardships that have reshaped her priorities outside of work. For instance, just four months into her first year of law school and eight months before her wedding, she shattered her knee and endured multiple taxing knee procedures, surgeries, and months of physical therapy. She shares, “Exercising and my health is a huge factor in creating an emotional and physical reservoir to healthfully balance all the challenges that I continually face both professionally and personally. Strong mental and physical health is necessary for a volatile industry like ours.”
Gabi Last Quote
Moreover, during the time when she was getting married, her father unexpectedly fell ill and passed away. She ended up having two weddings in the same week. First in the hospital room with her father holding her hand and as much family as possible, and second in her childhood church with her brother walking her down the aisle. She held her reception at the same location where her parents met and dated in Houston, now aptly named State of Grace. This heartbreaking incident of her father’s passing brought the brevity of life into focus for her. She shares, “I instantly realized how spoiled and blessed I was to have both of my parents and all my five older siblings alive and well for so long up until that point. My parents had been married since ‘58, met as teenagers, and had me later in life. Walking through that journey of grief with everyone, especially in my first year of marriage, has allowed me to focus on reconnecting not just with family and friends, but with the journey to better align the rest of my life to spend my time and effort where it matters. It has led me to facilitate opportunities to be with those I love and adore and work only for big-hearted causes and with big-hearted people with vision who affirm and foster positivity. We are not promised tomorrow.”

At the time of her father’s illness and passing, partners reached out and directed her to take the time off she needed. Steve Roach, former CEO of LSI, called Gabi after her father’s passing and shared a common phrase that stuck with her in the aftermath—“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This saying, while so simple, really helped Gabi to recognize her fortitude and ability to utilize the structure of work’s demands to push through grief and gain perspective of the larger picture. She shares, “Not just my family, but my work family wants me to heal, thrive, and succeed. We are not here to stand stuck in grief. There is rebirth. It is a true unceasing circle of life for a reason that billions of people have been navigating forever. Steve’s comment was a perfect antidote to feeling lost in pain. Bringing my work family into the fold to understand what had been happening in my personal life was a godsend. It was authentic and allowed them to be a much more powerful source of support.”

At invenioLSI, we are constantly inspired by our employees. Gabi especially sparks inspiration in us with her grit and dedication to personal and company growth. It takes extreme motivation to pursue a law degree, work full-time, and overcome the adversity she’s faced, but if there is anyone that can do it, it's Gabi. Keep up the amazing work Gabi and continue to be a driving force for invenioLSI!

 

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Blog Author

Marissa Dorros

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