FOCUS Panel Discussion Explores Career Pivots

Becky RasmussenEvents

Preparing for Career Pivots

On Dec. 3, 2019, FOCUS St. Louis brought together professionals from across industries, as well as members and alumni, to discuss how to plan and manage career transitions. With an average employee tenure of four to five years, the ability to handle these  pivots (whether chosen or forced upon) is critical to long-term career success and satisfaction.

Thank you to Spire for hosting the group, and to all of our panelists for sharing their stories:

  • Dr. Isaac Butler, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, St. Louis College of Pharmacy
  • Dawn Gipson, Director of Marketing, Centene Corporation
  • Dr. Raegan Johnson, Public Communications Manager, Spire
  • Jorge Riopedre, Departing President, Casa de Salud
  • Erin Warner Prange, Executive Director, The Big Muddy Dance Company
Lessons Learned

Although each story was personal and unique, there were some common themes. Here are a few takeaways:

  • Know Yourself. Take time to reflect and explore what you want using the 3V’s: voice (finding your voice and using it to tell others what you want); values (understanding what matters to you most and why); and vision (creating a vision or statement of purpose for your life). Reflection is critical, and authenticity is key. Periodically step back and take stock of where you are. Here are a few questions to guide you through the reflection process:
    — Who am I?
    — What/who do I care about?
    — What do I want?
    — What do I need?
    — What are my non-negotiables?
    — What am I seeking in a role/position?
    — Do I see myself in this place or position in 5-10 years?
  • Leverage your network. Many of us have established relationships with others who can serve as a personal board of directors. These individuals know us and want to offer support as well as be our accountability partners in life. Consult with these trusted advisors when you are planning a career pivot.
  • Do it afraid! Making a personal or professional pivot can be scary. There are many unknowns and no matter how much you attempt to calculate the risk or have a solid plan, there is always a potential for things to go sideways. It’s worth the risk to avoid being stuck in a place or position that no longer offers you an opportunity to be challenged, to grow, to influence or to serve others in a way that’s meaningful to you.
Additional Reading Resources
  • Pivot: The Only Move that Matters Is Your Next One by Jenny Black
  • Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck
  • Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers — and Seize Success by Dr. Dawn Graham
  • When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? 2020: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles
  • Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career by Herminia Ibarra
  • Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans