I know that anyone in any line of work has a calling, whether they know it themselves or not. Ready or not, may people have to look at pivoting their careers right now and my advice is to dig deep as you transition so you get on the right path for you.
My colleague, Karen Radtke’s story supports this. As Founder of Beacon Street Coaching, she is a pioneer in the areas of organizational development and executive and team coaching. Her career has included positions in not-for-profits, government, and multinational corporations in addition to running her own consulting company. Her experience will inspire those of you looking for a way to create a happy and fulfilling career path.
Early in her career, Karen became fascinated with the dynamics of leadership, teams, and community. Her passion for discovering what made organizations tick informed her career path. She took on a lot of responsibility at not-for-profits including her alma mater the University of St. Thomas, the American Heart Association, and as the Director of Alumni Affairs at Loyola University where she attended graduate school.
She went on to be a Training and Development Director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She continued to develop her expertise and leadership style at the Federal Reserve before entering the private sector as an internal OD specialist at Square D. Karen later became a consultant for Right Management, traveling extensively to help international companies expand leadership capacity and create healthier cultures. Her affinity for developing internal strategies that fostered greater company-wide success prompted Karen to strike out on her own. She formed her own practice as preparation for adopting twin toddlers from Ethiopia with her husband Jeff.
Karen has been alternating between full-time leadership roles and freelancing coach and consultant throughout her career which has been one of her keys to success. This routine provides her with the challenges she craves allows for flexibility and sustains a devotion to her own learning and development. She approaches both roles with gratitude and is very intentional about what she is looking for in the terms of her own clients and the type of culture she wants to embrace when seeking employment.
After four years of entrepreneurship, Karen moved out of her home office to a position at an established property management. One of the highlights of her role was creating a Women in Leadership program. She has a passion for teams and culture (naturally, for someone so tuned into the business framework and identity) but lost this dream gig when the company restructured. I hate when that happens! Fortunately, Karen had her own business – and host of immensely engaging client projects – to go back to. Now, she’s looking forward to her next chapter as an executive at a startup.
Karen’s story is a testament to focus, faith and resilience. She offers a list of questions you should ask yourself while you’re preparing for your next career adventure or in the midst of a job change:
- What do I care most about? Simple, right? But if you don’t ask – and answer! – this basic question, you’re starting off your search at a disadvantage, like not taking a map or GPS with you on a road trip.
- What do I want to learn next? This may be as straightforward as a hobby that could point you in a new career direction or it might include a topic requiring more serious, professional study.
- What is the right move for me? What is the right move for my family? These may differ so it’s a good idea to sit with both before making any change.
- What is mine to do? What are the tasks you need to complete to get where you want to go next? Hiring managers hire. Your job is to put yourself out there!