To say that this week was busy is an understatement!
TUESDAY: On Tuesday, I was at The Annie E. Casey Foundation for a full day of meetings and shadowing. I’ve worked on foundation projects before but I learned a lot about what makes Casey unique, for one their focus on race, equity and inclusion. I also gathered lots of insights on strategic grantmaking, community development, community interventions, and research and evaluation. Many of the Casey staff members have PhDs, and for one reason or another decided to launch into a nonacademic career. But to call their careers “nonacademic” is quite a misnomer. It’s more useful to think of it as putting the PhD into action.
WEDNESDAY: After spending the day in Baltimore, MD at Casey, I drove 3 hours back home to NJ to get ready for my strategic planning facilitation on Wednesday. I am working with an amazing parents, teachers and staff of the Greater Brunswick Charter School to draft a 5-year strategic plan. As an innovation and strategy consultant, I get to help organizations and companies better serve their constituents. This project is no different. I facilitated a 2 hour session with the School Review Committee, helping them to assess where they are, where they want to go, and how to get there. I’m super excited to have brought my friend and Beyond the Tenure Track coaching client to this project with me. Natalie has a sharp eye for strategy and for reading the room, maybe it’s a special gift of Anthropology PhDs, I don’t know. 😉 But we had a blast and there’s more work to do.
THURSDAY: I gave a presentation “How Can We Improve Healthy Food Access in Vulnerable Communities?” to LeadNJ, a statewide leadership program for leading policymakers, businesses, philanthropists and others. Can you believe that put me on right after lunch!? Who wants to compete with that? The presentation was based on my work as the first program manager of the NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids, which aims to reduce childhood obesity through policy and environmental change in vulnerable communities. Though I no longer work on that project there are many learnings that state leaders need to help them shape policies that build healthy communities. And I cannot say no to Mark Murphy’s invitation to present. After all, I landed my first innovation and strategy consulting client at this same seminar last year.
I managed to sneak in dinner with one of my college friend, and from that dinner got a lead for a new consulting gig.
FRIDAY: I told you this week was packed! I met with a new client for the first time. She’s an amazing tenure track professor and academic researcher who’s wondering if academia is where she’ll stay. It’s an honor to work with someone of her caliber, and I take seriously the work of asking the right questions and providing solid information for her and others to make informed choices. It’s also rewarding to see my clients begin to think of themselves in new, expansive ways, and even create new career or entrepreneurial paths. I look forward to the next two months with her.
One of my Human Resources friends and I had a brainstorming session in the afternoon. We’re working on something for you! And somehow I managed to play soccer last night with my family and friends before crashing for the night.
SATURDAY: If you’ve skimmed through this blog, you know that I am super committed to helping PhDs and PhDs in training understand how amazing they are and how they can leverage those skills in broad career areas. Jenn Polk and L Maren Wood took on the task of organizing and hosting Beyond the Professoriate Virtual Conference. I headlined the second day of the conference with “Career Exploration Strategies to Jumpstart your Career Transition.” Sixty-six PhDs logged on and tuned in to hear concrete strategies for answering “if not academia, then what?” The questions rolled through on Twitter (see #beyondprof). Let’s keep the momentum going!
Conferees shared their key takeaways from my talk on Twitter.
- “Just remember, there’s a difference between exploring new careers & launching a new career. Start early.” @afjones
- “Don’t underestimate the importance of exploring. Takes time, crucial step, get support.” @fromphdtolife
- “There’s power in knowing your options.” @Laur705
Wanna dig deeper into career exploration? We’ll work on your “Who am I?”, job search criteria, casting a wide net then narrowing down, and creating powerful resumes and networking pitches that get your foot in the door. Join me and other PhD job seekers and undecideds for Options for Success Career Exploration Program. It’s virtual, safe space, and there’s a special rate for Beyond Prof attendees. $179 Rate expires on May 22. Inbox me to sign up, just say “I’m in!”
Now, time for me to enjoy the sunshine!