Career Choices

Business Advice for Optimists

bert-jacobs Before The Life Is Good Company was a going concern, let alone a $100 million business selling positive messaging on apparel and accessories, it was two brothers—Bert and John Jacobs—peddling their artwork on T-shirts at a trade show. They had decided to wear suits to look more mature, but toward the end of that day, a customer asked what was with the suits—they didn’t seem like the kind of guys who wore them. Read More

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How to Know When You’ve Outgrown Your Job and Other Lessons Learned on the Way to the C-Suite

anne-marie slaughterSenior advisors to Cabinet members aren’t usually known for causing big stirs, but that’s exactly what happened when, in 2011, Anne-Marie Slaughter left her dream job as director of policy planning at the State Department and returned to an academic career that gave her more time for her family. Slaughter wrote about her decision in an essay that got people talking, “Why Women Can’t Have It All,” and now president and CEO of think-tank New America, she continues the conversation in her new book, Unfinished Business. She took some time out of her schedule to share with us the life and work lessons she has learned along her path. Read More

Posted in Career, Speaker Articles, Career Choices, Transitions, Job Advancement Tagged , |

About Face: Taking Your Career in a New Direction

PA_QVC2_-Nestor-230x300Featuring Antonella Nester, QVC Program Host, and Jennifer Ghazzouli, Director, Talent Acquisition & Strategy, QVC, Inc.

“Mom! You will never guess who I’m standing with… Joan Rivers!”

That was a phone call Antonella Nester never imagined she would make. She had finally landed her plum job as a QVC program host, a dream she had carried in her heart for years. “I remember sneaking out of my bedroom as a little girl to watch Joan on The Tonight Show and thinking, One day I want to do a show with her,” says Antonella, who has been a QVC program host since 2004. “I never thought my wish would come true! Every day of my first year on the job, I was constantly pinching myself. And it’s all because I took a chance and followed my heart.”

It’s an inspirational story for anyone who has a career dream, but Antonella’s path didn’t come without hurdles. Not long before her star-struck moment on QVC, she was working as a medical technologist at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camphill. The first in her family to be born in the U.S, Antonella is the daughter of a barber and a seamstress. They made sure she and her three sisters attended college, and were thrilled when Antonella joined the medical field. “I loved it, but if you ever asked me what I wanted to do, I would say ‘be an actress.’ My parents didn’t think that was a stable career choice and I was crushed.”

Despite her success, Antonella decided to leave behind her well-established career of 17 years to take a leap of faith. A fan of QVC since 1988, she attended open auditions in 2000 and 2002 but was passed over. “My friends were quick to point out that I had no sales, television or business experience.” Still, she was undaunted, and on her third attempt, in 2004 during QVC’s America’s Host Search, Antonella’s down-to-earth, engaging style dazzled the producers and she secured her dream job.

“Believe it or not, the contract sat on the mantel for two weeks before I signed it,” Antonella recalls. “I was thrilled to be offered the position, but the fear of letting my family down loomed over me—we would have to sell our house, move everything and leave friends, family and school. But once we made the decision as a family, I would come home from work and watch my shows, watch other hosts and study them for hours. I would get on the Internet for hours studying our products, not because I had to, but because I loved it.”

She adds: “What I’ve learned is that you can’t always get a degree for the passion that burns in your belly. You have to just go after it and not let anyone tell you that you can’t. Jump in with both feet, work hard and run your own race.”

Is a Career Change on Your Horizon?

Perhaps you are at a crossroads in your career, need a change because of a new life situation or are facing a transition with your current employer. Whether you hope to make a big change or just a tweak, the right move can do wonders for career rejuvenation and life balance. But how do you know if change is in the air?

PA_QVC1_-Ghazzouli-230x300“One sure sign that change is looming is that you feel you are less engaged in your current situation,” says Jennifer Ghazzouli, director of talent acquisition and strategy at QVC. “You may no longer be in sync with your peers or leadership. Your assignments may lack challenge or you find the pace of work is the wrong fit.” But before you jump, Jennifer recommends considering these four steps to set you on the right path forward:

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish from the transition—a different environment or industry, more money, greater challenge, increased flexibility, less stress, etc.
  2. Strive for balance. When one segment of your life is unaligned, it affects all others.
  3. Do what’s right for you. “It’s important to recognize and respect your values and personal goals and seek an environment, culture and people that align with yours,” Jennifer adds.
  4. Know your strengths (and weaknesses). Understand how those abilities fit into job opportunities. “For instance, I know I’m an analytical person, and even though I admire creative people, I am aware that I would not thrive in a position where I would be putting my creative skills to the test on a daily basis,” Jennifer explains.

Charting Your New Path Forward

“Change doesn’t always have to come in the form of leaving your current employer,” Jennifer says. “Often, seeking a new position within your company can keep your career fresh and exciting.” After all, a well-balanced career path typically will have peaks and spikes with an occasional lateral move to learn a new skill or broaden one’s leadership experience. As your new path unfolds, she recommends keeping the following in mind:

  • Do your research. Today, a wealth of information is available online, but there’s nothing better than building real relationships with people within the company.
  • Hone the skills you will need. It’s worth having a conversation with a team leader to learn their needs and the necessary skills to succeed.
  • Be able to articulate your strengths and how they align with the new role.
  • Leverage your mentor. If you don’t have one, get one!
  • Choose an industry with a future.
  • Join networking groups, whether they are virtual like LinkedIn, or meet-up groups and industry organizations. Consider groups outside your industry circle to broaden your horizons.

“Keep in mind that career change is a process that can take time, but if you do your homework, and stay true to your values and life goals, career change can be an exhilarating and fulfilling experience,” Jennifer adds.

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Posted in blog, Speaker Articles, Career Choices

The Right Way to Jump Career Tracks

Jessica BacalWhether you just started a career or are three promotions into it, chances are you will be doing something different when you reach retirement age. “Career paths aren’t what they were for our grandparents and parents who climbed the ladder at one company or in one field,” says Jessica Bacal, director of the Wurtele Center for Work and Life at Smith College and author of Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong. “Things are changing so fast now because of technology, that often, all you can do is build skills and follow your interests.” Make your next move smoothly with her advice. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Career Choices, Transitions Tagged |

Lateral Moves for Long-term Career Growth

Mary Campbell PhotoBecky O'Loughlin photoFeaturing Mary Campbell, QVC Senior Vice President of Commerce Platforms, QVC, Inc. , and

Becky O’Loughlin, Vice President HR US Business & Corporate Shared Services, QVC, Inc.

“Twice in my career, I took a step backwards to move forward,” says Becky O’Loughlin, Vice President HR US Business & Corporate Shared Services at West Chester, PA-based QVC, Inc., the world’s leading video and ecommerce retailer. “I believe that the best way to achieve longevity in a career is to follow your passion, even if that means making a lateral or backwards move.” Read More

Posted in blog, Career, Career Choices, Transitions, Success & Leadership, Job Advancement

Inspired By: Glenda Hatchett

C.G_Hatchett.5_06_01 015“Always act with the utmost integrity…your word is your bond.”

Judge Glenda Hatchett, host and star of Judge Hatchett, has had a distinguished legal career, completing a prestigious federal clerkship, spending 10 years at Delta Airlines and rising to the highest-ranking woman of color worldwide, and as chief presiding judge of the Fulton County Juvenile Court. One of our highest rated speakers ever, we’re honored to have her return to the Pennsylvania Conference for Women to help celebrate our 10th anniversary in 2013. Read on to learn how her career path took an unexpected twist and led her to the intersection of purpose and passion. Read More

Posted in Career Choices, Inspired Tagged |

5 Things Holding You Back from Career Transition

christie mimsThere are often 5 big things that hold us back from making a change in our career, and if you can get past them, you’d be amazed at what happens. Click the link below to listen to a 15-minute podcast from career coach Christie Mims to learn more about these fears, and learn a tool that can help you overcome them.

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Posted in blog, Conference Sessions, Career, Embrace the Unknown, Career Choices, Transitions

Career Evolutions—Achieving Your True North

Hornback, NancysmRubino, BethsmAt some point in our lives we’ve all asked ourselves if we have found, or will ever find, a job with meaning. If you are searching for a fulfilling career, or wish to add more meaning to your current position, you may be surprised to discover that it is within reach! QVC’s Executive Vice President of HR and Workplace Services Beth Rubino and QVC Host Nancy Hornback share their tips and personal stories of how they found their true norths. Read More

Posted in blog, Career, Career Choices, Transitions Tagged , |

Inspired by: Meryl Levitz

Levitz-Meryl-headshot-Summer-2011-200x300“Look at the person, not at the title.”

Everybody learns differently, and sometimes you can learn the most from someone outside your chosen field, says Meryl Levitz, president & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and Pennsylvania Conference for Women advisory council member. Click the link below to listen to the full interview. Read More

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Inspired By: Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake

Lorina Marshall-Blakesm“Always look for opportunities to assist and help and create the path.” 

Get a mentor, volunteer and be open to new opportunities, are the top three tips for making a career transition, says Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake, president, Independence Blue Cross Foundation and board member, Pennsylvania Conference for Women. We recently asked her a few questions about other lessons she’s learned while navigating her career path.  Read More

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