I believe in non-linear career paths. A serendipitous opportunity, a shift in priorities, the ‘what if’ sparked by a door that opens, or closes, unexpectedly – these are some of the elements that give our professional identities texture and depth.
My own story has plenty of colorful plot twists. Some were thrilling, like the strategist position that took me to Brussels, Paris and Rome in my 20s to cover the political events that created the Euro. (It’s also how I met my husband.) Others were less so, like my corporate communications role at a large investment bank, where the stifling culture overshadowed the interesting projects that came my way.
In my early 30s, I joined a strategic consulting firm specializing in transaction and crisis management. We worked with companies involved in complex, high-stakes situations including mergers + acquisitions, proxy fights, restructurings and litigation. It was a challenging job (I remember trying to catch a few desperate hours of sleep on my office floor one night during a deal, three months pregnant), but also exhilarating. I loved the fast pace, the intellectual rigor and the collaborative way we engaged with our clients.
Working closely with CEOs and their executive teams also sparked my interest in leadership. I observed that the best leaders tended to be self-aware, transparent, and decisive yet flexible, and I saw how those attributes shaped and fortified the broader organizational culture.
These insights informed my own professional development, and I eventually became an equity partner in the firm. After I had my second child, though, I discovered that a) I wanted more time with my kids and b) I was ready to do something new that had less to do with transactions and more to do with relationships. When I thought about the kinds of activities I enjoyed most, I realized that they hinged on my ability to relate to a wide variety of people and make meaningful connections with them.
Now, as a partner to individuals and teams confronting change of all kinds – from promotions and reinventions to new ventures and rapid growth – I’m still helping my clients navigate complex, high-stakes situations to achieve successful outcomes. But this time, the focus is personal. I can’t imagine a more fulfilling way to combine my business acumen and professional development expertise.
When I’m not working, you can usually find me spending time with my husband and three kids – ages 14, 11 and 6 – and our friends in New York City or the Hudson Valley.
• Partner, Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
• Director, Medley Global Advisors
• Senior Communications Specialist, Merrill Lynch
• Europe Strategist, The G7 Group
• Italy Tour Guide, Butterfield & Robinson
• Director of Communications, The Frick Art & Historical Center
• Account Supervisor, Kendrick Communications
• M.A., Executive Coaching, Middlesex University (London), 2011
• M.A., European Studies + Economics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, 1996
• B.A., Political Science & Italian, Northwestern University, 1990
• The New York University Stern School of Business (Office of Career Development, Leadership Development Initiative, Stern Teaching Effectiveness Program)
• The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
• Institute of Coaching, Harvard University
• The Hogan Assessments
• The NBI WholeBrain Creativity Assessment
• The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
• Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin; like cheese and brats but not football
• Myers-Briggs type: ESFP
• Like freakishly spicy food
• Love almost everything Italian, except Silvio Berlusconi and ill-timed ferry strikes
• Can’t imagine a more perfect magazine than The New Yorker
• Am a night owl
• Own too many books
• Fantasy last meal: Don Pepe’s linguini with white clam sauce, lamb chops from Fleisher’s with garlic festival rub, something involving eggplant, a bottle of Back Porch Cellars Buck Road Red and a piece of dark chocolate. Served al fresco here.