Career Change

Case 1

Business development professional rebrands herself to transition into her dream career in sustainability

“Diana comes well equipped with amazing work and life experience, great insights, and there’s so much value in that. She’s always advocating for following your dreams and uncovering your potential, instead of focusing entirely on the pay, which I agree with. The dollars will come eventually, but the happiness in what you do and who you are might not.” (Irena)

What was your situation prior to reaching out to Diana?

My background is fairly unique and unconventional. My undergraduate degree was in political science and economics at York University and my goal was to get into the public service sector. Unfortunately, I graduated during the recession so I ended up dabbling around in different positions.

During this time, I also rekindled my passion and interest in Corporate Social Responsibility, so I decided to go back to school to facilitate another transition. That is to enter the commercial real estate industry and to focus on sustainability. I debated between pursuing an MBA and instead I opted for a Master’s degree in Environmental Applied Science and Management at Ryerson.

What challenges did you face in your career prior to the coaching program?

The challenge that I faced at the time was that I didn’t have a developed personal brand that I could market. I am very proactive and well connected in my industry, but I didn’t yet have a personal branding message that I could use to further myself in the career I was trying to build.

What steps did you take to differentiate yourself?

I came to Diana at the lowest point of my career. I had just been laid off, my confidence level was low, and I was stuck inside my own head. Coaching with Diana made me realize the potential of my strengths and we were able to identify my limitations, particularly my fears. What had the most impact on me was when she was able to identify what my fears were and guided me through them. She also helped me figure out objectives that would help me overcome them. Now that I know what they are, I can acknowledge that they exist and feel more comfortable in my own skin.

After three personal branding and interview coaching sessions, I exited the program with a better sense of my personal brand. Diana helped me hone in on my strengths and learn how to leverage them.

I was also able to have some mock interviews with her. They really prepared me for the real interview process. All of the questions she guided me through came up during the interviews, and the preparation she gave me in terms of helping me structure my answers was invaluable.

What was your success coming out of your coaching sessions?

When I re-entered the job market, I interviewed at top Canadian financial institutions and consulting firms. From there, I landed my dream job as a Sustainability Coordinator at a leading commercial real estate firm and now have the opportunity to apply the thesis I am defending in my Master’s program!

Are there aspects of your coaching with Diana that you continue to apply in your career?

Diana’s ability to polish and package me was very effective. We sat down and spent a lot of time going over my career-path, specific skills I did not realize I had, and the experience I’ve gained. Diana was able to really listen to me and pinpoint my strengths and synthesize them into a branding statement. I learned how to make sense of my unconventional background and create a strategy for how I can leverage it moving forward.

Are there aspects of your coaching with Diana that you continue to apply in your career?

1) Find out what your fears are and dance with them.

Everybody has fears. It’s so important that you figure out what they are and learn how to live with them so that you can move forward. Those fears will limit you, so learning to dance with them will be instrumental to your development. This is one piece of advice that Diana gave me, and it has been incredibly empowering.

2) Don’t be afraid to take necessary risks to find a job that will fulfill you.

If you’re making a big career change like I did, know that it will be hard. But, the rewards you’ll receive from a new career that you genuinely enjoy are endless. Diana is always an advocate of following your dreams and instead of focusing entirely on the pay, which is an idea that I agree with. The dollars will come eventually, but the happiness in what you do and who you are might not.