Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #116: Betsy Simpson

Betsy Simpson

Listen to the interview (approx. 52 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2009 from the Boston Conservatory, with a major in Voice Opera.


Position:  “Human Resources Business Partner” at Gartner, a large research/consulting firm specializing in performing and aggregating technology and other research for their business clients.  Betsy works with their roughly 800 people on sales teams.  She deals with day to day issues including problems, but also plays a major role in determining people’s compensation and how teams are structured.  She also spends a lot of time coaching new managers on how to do their jobs most effectively.


Overview:  Betsy moved back to Connecticut after graduation, and spent the summer waiting tables and doing community theater.  A woman in the chorus of the community theater production mentioned that her employer, the large hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, had an open receptionist position that Betsy would be a good fit for.   Betsy aced the interview and was offered the position, which the took, as the money was good and she figured it would be temporary.

By the end of the year she was taken on permanently.  After another year she was asked to apply for an Administrative Assistant position on the technology team, which she got, and continued to work extremely hard.  Two more promotions and she had a HR-position on the same team.  Eventually, Betsy felt like her career had plateaued and she was looking for the next step up.  A friend who worked at Gartner suggested she look at the company and an informational interview and real interview later, she was hired into her current position in June of 2016.


You can see Betsy’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “Every day is different. I’m never sitting at my desk feeling bored with nothing to do. In HR, you get to partner with someone and if you do a good job they rely on you. I really get a lot out of that partnership, like when you have a great musical relationship and the music is all that much more beautiful.”

Too many people want to do HR because they ‘want to help people,’ but your’e on the wrong job if that’s your attitude–the first time you fire someone you’ll realize you’re not helping them. You’ll have a lot more of these difficult conversations than ones you feel you’re helping an individual.  HR is a tough job–you have to be emotionally stable. Like an ER room nurse, you can’t get too attached.

“As a musician we focus on building & breaking down of music–musical phrases, the meaning behind each passage, etc. We also try to get to know a character so we can better emote. In the business world I take the same tactic in my job. I try to figure out the person I’m working with–who are they, how do they thing, so I can learn what to expect and be ahead of the curve there. That level of empathy you have to learn and build and in HR that’s what we do.”

“We musicians see an obstacle and rather than avoid it we’re determined to decimate the obstacle and overcome it. You don’t just do the job, but everyone in the corporate environment notices and realizes that you’re the person who will do what it takes.  That attitude is more valuable than skills–skills can always be taught, but grit can’t be.”

“By working a day job and being active in community theater, I’ve played more dream roles in the musical theater canon than if I’d stayed in music theater profesionally. I’ve played Maria in the Sound of Music, Mary the Librarian in teh Music Man, and all these other incredible (unpaid) roles!  Sometimes we’re performing in a glorified back yard, but I’ve performed at some really great venues too.”



See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.