Career Change

Low Stress High Paying Jobs

lostresshipay Need a change in career?  Can’t decide how to make a living while doing what you love? Is your career giving you stress?   Are you thinking about a career shift?  How would you like to have a career that pays well and gives you the balance that you want?

Here are some things to think about.

Read this article by Terri Williams published at Yahoo.


Three Valuable Lessons I Learned in my Global Assignment

woman globeIt has been several years since our expat assignment in Belgium but the experience remains fresh in my mind. The two years we spent in Belgium strengthened not only my career and understanding of global business but also my family’s bond.  The experience enriched our lives. Being an Asian American female executive in Europe sent by an American company holding the top job was not common those days.  I was not the typical expat, therefore I was not stereotyped and eventually, I think my uniqueness worked to my advantage.


  1. I learned what it takes to work closely and intensely with people from different countries. I learned to accept and appreciate differences including my own uniqueness. I learned that No did not necessarily mean No and Yes did not mean Yes.  I learned to probe further to understand others. I learned to flex my style to be effective.
  2. Since time was limited and we knew this experience would not last, we made instant friends.  We valued our new friends and chose which ones were going to remain our friends even when we moved back home.
  3. I learned a lot about myself. My executive coach was invaluable to me.  At our very first meeting he said since I am Filipino American, I am viewed as an Asian in Europe even if I came from the US.   They expected me to demonstrate typical Asian norms, because this what they know.  I realized how much I’ve forgotten or abandoned being Asian having lived in the US for most of my career years. I took a journey back to who I really am. It was quite an experience to have the freedom to be me again and get in touch with my “Filipina-ness”.

I will never forget my coach, Robert Brown, who helped me navigate through several difficult situations. He became an ally to me, a trusted advisor, mentor and friend.  He introduced me to a new business network who helped me understand local business better. He genuinely cared for my success and became a close family friend.  Sadly, Robert passed away a few years ago.  His influence on my life, career and our family was invaluable and we are forever grateful.

If you are in an expat assignment today or working outside your home country, you may be experiencing a range of emotions – from excitement to frustration.  From loneliness – missing your friends and family , to enjoying meeting new people and discovering new sights and experiences.  How are you viewed by your local colleagues?  What impact does your presence have on them?  How can you make the most of your expat assignment?


Join us at The Conference Board, Global HR Academy on June 9-12 and learn more about what it takes to be successful in a global role.  To read more about the Academy, click here


To apply and receive special pricing, contact Fana Tekle at or call her at 212-339-0210.


Stuck between Your Job Search and You’re Hired?

ent-laptopLooking for a better way to manage your job search with online resources and tools?  Finding a job can be confusing and at times overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be.  Track your job search and get hired through
JobDash develops software solutions for job seekers and career services professionals. Individuals create free accounts to set a target hire date, follow an effective path to success, and track their progress along the way. An intuitive dashboard and CRM makes it easy to check and modify personal behavior for best results. If you track your finances and fitness to save money and be healthy, why not track your job search to get hired? JobDash for Enterprise helps colleges and universities guide students from classroom to career with real-time metrics to predict and analyze employment outcomes.
I am delighted to work with Job Dash as their Career Coach.  Here is their featured article on my background and interview with JobDash


Transition with Ease and Grace. 3 Powerful Coaching Questions to Ask Yourself

golden gate cloudyOne of my potential clients is going through a major transition and called me to inquire about executive coaching.

She is a new mother of 15 month twin girls and is having a tough time balancing her work and personal life.  After working in a senior role for 15 years in a major company, she felt compelled to put in her resignation.  She needed time to rethink her career, finances, and family life and hopefully find a family friendly employer.  She is now in the process of winding down and closing this chapter of her life.

Transition times are tough and can be very stressful.  There is a sense of loss, maybe some humiliation, and a lot of anxiety about the unknown future.  There is also a tinge of excitement and anticipation about creating something new.

You may find yourself in the midst of a major transition.  Here are some coaching questions that could help you during these times.

  1. As you go through this process, notice how you are feeling.  Label it and acknowledge your feelings of the moment.  Do not judge or make this feeling wrong.  Whatever you are feeling is yours and you are entitled to this. Notice the change in your feelings as the transition progresses.  Do not be alarmed if it gets tougher before it gets better.
  2. Notice your thoughts.  What would you like your team and colleagues to remember about you?  What would you like your transition theme to be?
  3. Who are you being throughout all this process?   I’ve been through several transitions throughout my career and continue to do so during my encore career.  We moved 17 times and lived in 3 continents, all transitions have been very stressful, some more than others.  I have a theme or mantra that helped me tremendously whenever I am in transition and that is — “Move with Ease and Grace”.  I meditate on these words every spare moment I have and it never fails to center me.  It keeps me calm and greatly influences how I behave.

Transitions are wonderful, they give us hope, enable us to change to have a better life.  When I think of my major transitions, I was fortunate to have a coach guide me through it.  My coach helped make a cloudy and foggy journey clearer and certainly made me aware when I have reached my destination.

How to Succeed while on a Global Assignment

global assignmentHave you just moved halfway around the world, sold your belongings or placed them in storage? Do you struggle to learn the local language? Are you on a plane most of the time, constantly jet lagged and have a huge fog in your head? Is headquarters calling you for regular updates? Do you feel like you owe your company for sending you in this assignment that you are willing to work day and night to prove your worth? You take conference calls at all times, they seem to forget that you are in a different time zone.

In the meantime, your personal life is non-existent, business pressures don’t seem to lighten up and you have not had the time to explore your new world.  You set some goals before you took this assignment – trips to explore the local sights, learn the local language, make friends with locals, but your work and travel have taken priority and you are stressed and lack sleep.

As glamorous as the word expat may sound, the reality of many expats lives are far from it.  Expats do not travel for leisure or live a life of discovery and exploration. Expats work long hours and take on the pressure of running the local business. They do not have their support system and they miss their family and friends.

The difficulties of expat lives can be managed and the assignment can be memorable and career enhancing.  Handled well, this could be a period of huge growth and development for the expat, their family and their careers.  What are some of the ways that your expat assignment can be successful?

  1. Keep headquarters regularly informed.  Set up regular calls or emails to let your bosses know the local conditions.  Try not to surprise them.  If you have bad news, deliver bad news in a timely manner with a couple of solutions that you have vetted out with your local team members.  Stay connected with mentors back in the home country and set up regular calls with them.
  2. Develop a new support system locally.  Find people who you can trust inside the company and outside.  Join your local professional organization and make the time to nurture new relationships.
  3. Learn at least 10 most popular local words – words of greeting, respect, agreement or disagreement, common courtesy words.
  4. Find a way to exercise regularly or find ways to keep your mind, body and spirit clear and centered.
  5. Figure out the number of weekends or vacation days that you have and plan to see the local sights.  Book your tickets.  Before you know it, your assignment is up and you would not have been able to see the sights if you didn’t plan in advance for it.
  6. Plan your home vacations yearly so you have something to look forward to.  Keep connected with friends and family through social media.
  7. Hire a local coach, find a trusted mentor.  This has been the most valuable thing I have done while on expat assignment, one that I would recommend to everyone outside of their home country.  Your trusted coach will help you gain perspective, reframe your thinking, challenge you when needed or push you out of your comfort zone to grow.


Being out of your comfort zone, while difficult, is a period of high growth and eventually high rewards.  An expat assignment is not for everyone, but you have that call inside you and you have it in you to succeed. With the right moves and a trusted support system, the benefits of an expat assignment far outweigh the challenges and difficulties.  Enjoy the journey.

6 Personality Traits You Must Have for a Global Assignment

global assignmentMy clients often ask me – What does it take to be successful globally?.  Aside from the many details of a relocation, learning a new role, a new language or new culture, there are some internal reflections you need to do if you are thinking of taking a global assignment.  What are the key traits that will make you successful in a career move outside your home country?

1. Curiosity – are you interested in what is going on in another part of the world, or even in another part of the country or the other side of town?  Do you have an inner desire to learn how new environments work, how people live and work?  Do you care to know?  Are you wiling to try  new experiences, taste new food, see new places?.

2. Determination.  You must really want it. Moving globally for a career entails a lot of sacrifice.  You will be pushed into new situations that seem strange or difficult for you.  If you are determined to have this experience, you will view problems as situations that have solutions and will not get easily frustrated.

3. Courage.  This is the heart of global citizenship.  Are you willing to take risks and are not afraid to make some mistakes?

4. Respect.  This means unconditional respect for others, their culture, their norms, their way of life.  Do you respect others who are very different from you even if they have not earned your respect?  Are you willing to suspend judgment and criticism?

5. Ease of meeting new people and making new friends.  Is it easy for you to approach strangers even if they do not speak your language? Can you comfortably meet new people and foster a positive friendly attitude? An international assignment can be very lonely, you will miss your close friends and family.  Meeting new people, joining groups or activities that you enjoy will make the assignment more enjoyable.

6. Can you have fun even if you sometimes feel embarrassed or frustrated? You will not always be understood by others, sometimes you will feel dumb.  Are you willing to laugh about it and enjoy the experience, good or bad?.

We are comfortable within our own culture, our own ways and therefore think this is normal and good.  Something new, or strange may be uncomfortable or awkward to us, it doesn’t mean that it is wrong.

Before you raise your hand for that special project that would take you to far and exotic places, think again and be very honest with yourself.  Do you have what it takes to handle a global assignment?  Ask your coach to help you assess your skills and work with your coach to prepare you for your global assignment.



Define Your Non-negotiables Part 3: Career Flexibility

work life balanceWe have been discussing the importance of setting priorities and non-negotiables for work life success.  Having a set of priorities helps us make choices.  Being clear with our non-negotiables, free us from stress and indecision.  We realign our priorities as our lives and needs change.

An important non-negotiable for high achieving women is career flexibility.  This is the ability to be fully present at home when needed while having a career that supports your personal needs.

Georgia Smith, corporate executive and one of the women I interviewed for my forthcoming book – You Can Be It All, Secrets of High Achieving Women (current working title), was able to achieve career flexibility, working full time while raising her son.

Georgia always knew that she was going to be a working mom even before she got married.  Georgia and her husband discussed what they would be willing to do for each other’s career and where they will live.  While her husband was raised in the East Coast,USA, his preference is to work and live in the West Coast. They knew that they may have to pass up advancement opportunities by making this decision.  Georgia did not regret this decision. She knew that she would forego  making a lot more money and would take longer to get to executive ranks, but it was more important to her that she felt good about the positive contribution that she was making at work, still made good money and lived comfortably close to her extended family.  The ego was probably the only thing impacted by these non-negotiables and this was not an issue with her.

When she had her son, she had the classic struggle of all working women: “How can I be a full-time mom and a full-time professional and give everything needed to both, without short changing either?”.  Her husband traveled most of the time, so balancing childcare and her own career demands rested primarily on her.  She was fortunate to be able to explore different roles within a company that recognized her skills and potential.  When she  wanted to have flexible hours, she decided to stay in the same company and changed  to field work.

Georgia’s non negotiable is career flexibility. While her son was young, she benefited from a flexible schedule on the road as a Sales Account Manager. She had the ability to be in the field and would take the time to watch her son’s sporting events.  As her son moved to high school, she decided to finish her college education.  They had dinner together every night to catch up on their day and studied together after dinner.  As her son moved on to college she shifted to a regional role and was able to do more travel.

She considers herself fortunate to be have a career that met her personal needs and did not give anybody less than they deserved.  Her son is now an accomplished lawyer with his own family and never felt short-changed having a full-time working mom.  He remembers that she was with him for all the important moments in his life.  

Georgia’s non-negotiable, career flexibility, enabled her to be the best mom that she can be while achieving career success.  Georgia is a high achieving woman.  Do you know a high achieving woman?  What is she doing?  What is your non-negotiable and how has it served your needs?


What do they have that I don’t? 4 Additional Tips for the Job Searcher

happy guyHow come it seems so easy for some people to get a job offer and others have a difficult time?  What do successful job seekers have?

Three months ago a brand new client came to me for coaching.  He was not sure if he wanted to continue his consulting business which he had for the past 5 years or if he should go back to the corporate world.  After a few sessions, it was clear to him that the next step would be to go back to a corporate job.  I challenged him with a goal and a deadline and we agreed that his goal was to have three fantastic offers in 90 days.

Four days shy of his 90th day, despite the competitiveness of our job market, he received two fantastic written job offers from 2 successful companies.  The offers were both great but different in industry, scope and responsibility.  The financials were very close, which made it more difficult for him to decide which one to accept.  Either job would have been perfect.  We were both so happy about the outcome and as a coach, I couldn’t be prouder and more fulfilled than to see my client and his family very happy!

This led me to think, what does my client have that other’s don’t?  Aside from having a coach, what else did he have?  Sure, there are several books about the techniques of job searching, there are classes on resume writing, use of Linked In and networking skills available – all of these are important.  Are these enough?  What else is needed?

Anyone who has ever looked for a job knows that this is not always a pleasant experience.  It is not fun; it is stressful and can leave one feeling rejected and vulnerable.  While no one is immune to these emotions, the successful job searcher has a couple of traits that might prove helpful:

  1. Positive mindset.  Most people view the job search process as a burden, a failure of some kind.  View it as a positive challenge. My client was excited to start the search process, with the full support of his wife and a coach; the three of us operated as a team.  Ensure that all resentment or negative emotions about the job search process are processed before you begin your search.
  2. Share what is going on with your support team.  Do not feel that you need to go about this alone, don’t make it a secret. Share every bit of progress or disappointment with your support team or mentors; this is what they are there for.  They are there to encourage you, guide you and cheer you up.
  3. Focus on what you can control.  It is important to create a goal and timeline, no matter how outrageous this may sound.  Focus on this goal to keep the momentum going.  I once set a goal of 3 offers in 30 days and surprisingly, I met that goal!  Set aside daily focused time and organized space for leads; follow-up phone calls and networking.  View the search process as a job that needs daily consistent attention.
  4. Manage your emotions.  When you get discouraged, remember that all you need is one job.  The more openings you apply to, the more chances you get.

Job searching is a skill to be learned.  The mental, emotional and psychological aspect of the job search process is tough but manageable. Reach out and share your experience and encourage those who are in the process.  Your story could be an inspiration to others.  And once you get that fantastic job, do not forget those who are in need of one.  Continue the networking, not just for what you can get from your network but also for what you can give your network.

4 Ways to Prepare for Your Career Conversation.

young employee meeting w managerMy client is ready to move to another role within the company after only a year in the job.  Although there continues to be a lot of valuable work sent her way, she feels that she is not learning anything new; she is not challenged.  She is concerned about bringing up the topic to her manager, someone she greatly respects. She wants to stay in the company, in her current location, but she is ready for something new.  Here is how we prepared for this conversation.

1. Do your homework before you meet with your manager.  Figure out your bigger picture, where do you see your career 5 to 10 years from now?  This is not an easy exercise; you may need to take a couple of weeks or even months to figure this out.  It does not need to be accurate and perfect, you can tweak and update your vision along the way.  The long-term career vision is critical to help you decide on new skills and experiences you will need. My client sees a few possibilities in her career: Country HR Manager, Vice President Human Resources of a business unit, Corporate Human Resources role in headquarters.

2. When you have this picture in mind, figure out the relevant skills and experiences that you need to acquire to get you there.  My client has developed strong analytical and financial skills over the past 10 years and has a master’s degree in Human Resources.  Due to her strengths, she continues to be tapped for similar planning and analysis roles. She would like be in other areas of HR: talent management, business partnering and organizational development to round-up her portfolio.  She will review specific roles with her manager and seek guidance on how to acquire these competencies for current and future roles.

3. Have a transition plan and timeline in mind.  She has a rough idea of how work will get done when she transitions into a new role; she also has a timeline.  While these are not definite, your proactiveness will relieve your manager’s initial concerns about backfilling your responsibilities.

4. Be confident and ask for what you need.  You will be surprised how helpful and supportive your manager can be once you share your career plans and request for specific assignments.

Your career journey is as important, fulfilling and fun as achieving your career goals.  While keeping the end state in mind, be flexible and welcome the occasional twists and turns that may come your way.  These are opportunities for you to consider and don’t be afraid to step into unknown open doors or knock on new interesting ones.

Through our coaching conversation, my client became more prepared and confident to speak to her manager.  I am so excited for her and can’t wait for our next coaching call.

3 Ways to Make it Easy for your Contacts to Help you find a Job

job listingsMy client is job searching and gets disappointed when some of his contacts do not have time to meet for coffee or for a networking phone call.  I asked him why he wanted to meet with one contact in particular – she has an influential role in a reputable global company.  He said it was to seek advise on his job search, though he was not aware of a suitable role in her company for him.  We worked on a plan to be more purposeful in his networking.

The reality is – your contacts are extremely busy.  They are juggling job and family pressures and although they want to help, they simply don’t have time or honestly don’t know how.  Here are 3 ways to make it easy for them to help you:

1. Research their company or industry.  Learn what is going on in their company and be relevant. Are they going through a growth or downsizing phase?  Are they expanding into new markets or divesting off pieces of their business.  If you find a recent interesting article about their products, market, or competition, send it to your contact.

2. Apply on-line at their job site for roles best suited to your experience and background.  Send your contact a note that you have applied for this posting and ask if they are willing to put in a good word for you.  Give them a brief summary of why you are a perfect fit for the role.

3. Be very specific on what you need from your contact.  Do you need a recommendation, an introduction or  a reference?  A recommendation is a request to say something positive about you to the hiring manager. An introduction is a connection via email or phone to the hiring manager then you take it from there. A reference is requested by companies at the later stage of the job interview process.  This is appropriate if your contact has directly worked with you and can attest on your work ethic, talent, skills and/or abilities.

I suggest sending a request via email followed up by a phone call.  If you do not get a response, try again 2-3 times depending on your comfort level.  Don’t be offended if you do not hear back, simply move on to the next contact in your network or try again after a couple of weeks.

My client followed this targeted approach and successfully engaged his contact on a specific job within her company.  She was so delighted to send a note to the hiring manager and even asked that he keep her posted.  Purposeful networking is being respectful of your contact’s precious time and yields better results.

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Why Hire a coach?

Top Reasons Coaches are Engaged:

(HBR Jan 2009)

    • Develop high potentials or facilitate transition: 48%
    • Act as a sounding board: 26%
    • Address derailing behavior: 12%