Shortly after graduating from Boston University in 1999, Carson Converse found herself rowing at Riverside Boat Club, living with Gentle Giant Moving Company employees, and in need of a job. Carson’s roommates encouraged her to apply to Gentle Giant, but she resisted initially because she felt her 5’5 frame was not “Giant” enough to handle the physically demanding aspects required to move furniture on GG’s level. Once her roommates successfully convinced her that her years of rowing and training made her just as strong as any taller Giant, she agreed to interview with Gentle Giant’s Director of Human Resources David Lister, who was thrilled to hire her to work on the trucks.
Speaking to Carson now, almost 10 years out of the moving industry, she still chuckles while reminiscing about the first job she was on. After completing an extensive training beforehand, she spent a day packing a customer’s house to make sure it was ready for the big move the following day. Little did she know this particular move day would be an 18 hour ordeal that took her up to New Hampshire and back. As she rode her bike back to her home at 2 in the morning after the job, she reflected not on how physically tired she was, but how impressed she was by her Crew Chief that day, the legendary Steve Hart. One of Gentle Giant’s finest Crew Chiefs, Steve had a calm, assertive approach to running a job that showed Carson exactly what it took to take charge and complete a seemingly monumental task, all while laughing and making the crew and customer feel comfortable and engaged.
This is one of the most important lessons that Carson learned while working at GG. While anyone that knows Carson now will find this hard to believe, but she claims that when she first started, she was really shy. However, the combination of working with such charismatic people and the customer-facing nature of the job forced her out of her shell. As she felt more comfortable on the job, with coworkers, and with customers, Carson took on more responsibility at the company and became a Crew Chief.
As a Crew Chief, Carson enjoyed the experience of showing up at the job each morning to see the look on customers faces that read, “This is the ‘Giant’ I hired? How is this petite woman going to muscle my sleeper sofa up four flights of stairs?” This disbelief was soon erased after they saw the strength, hustle, and command Carson displayed as the leader of a well oiled moving machine. One valuable lesson she learned and then preached at Gentle Giant was “never judge a book by its cover” because “everyone has something to teach.”
Looking back, one of the reasons Carson chose to work for Gentle Giant at this time in her life was the flexibility the job afforded her to pursue her many interests. It has always been Gentle Giant policy to support employees, which includes allowing movers to take extended time off from work
whenever it is needed with the promise of a job to come back to. During her tenure, Carson took advantage of this benefit to pursue rowing and traveling, which included several road trips around the US, backpacking in Utah and Costa Rica, two trips to Baja, Mexico, Henley England, New Zealand, and Israel.
After leaving Gentle Giant, Carson attended graduate school at New England School of Art and Design to get a degree in interior design. Once she graduated, Carson went to work in hospitality design, and now focuses specifically on hotels and restaurants. She still relies on the spacial awareness she honed while working at Gentle Giant. “In my work now, it’s important for me to see in my head how furniture will fit in a spot before it is moved there. This saves a tremendous amount of time.”
Today, Carson lives with her husband and longtime Gentle Giant manager and trainer Noah Duarte in Charlemont, MA with their adorable pup Flynn.