Spotlight Series: Meet Career Coach Loren Kelly

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a Career Coach for students and recent graduates. I began my work in this realm about 10 years ago and have experience at the community college, adult education, and university levels. I believe providing encouragement, guidance, and assistance to young people with regards to their career is one of the most powerful impacts you can have one’s life! I love helping students articulate their professional goals and then developing a plan to help them reach their goals quickly and efficiently.

2. What was your first job and how did you get it?

My first job was not glamorous! I was 15 years old and worked on the summer custodial staff at my high school. I painted the walls, buffed and waxed the floors, moved furniture, and prepared the building for another school year. It was hard and hot work, but it taught me the value of higher education and obtaining a specialized skill set for career success!

3. How did you decide and get to your career today?

I always knew I wanted to work in the realm of education as I have a passion for investing in young people. After getting involved in career education and seeing the powerful impact it had on moving students forward in life and on the pay scale, I knew I had found my niche within education. I have held a number of roles revolving around career education including Internship Coordinator and Career Planning Instructor at the college level. I decided to offer these same services privately as a Career Coach when I saw how many students weren’t seeking the services on campus due to intimidation factors. Students can interact with me from the comfort of their sofa as long as we have good wifi! My reach is greater as geographic location isn’t a barrier. In addition, being able to dive into such big life decisions one-on-one with someone for multiple sessions allows me to help students in a more profound way than the group classes or single sessions typically offered within the college system.

4. What advice would you have given your younger self? Or what is the best career advice you have ever received?

When I was younger, I struggled with perfectionism. I had very high, sometimes unrealistic, expectations for myself professionally. It caused a lot of stress and an intense fear of failure. The big advice I would give to my younger self is don’t be afraid of failure. Failure is how we learn. Everyone fails! Oprah was fired from her first job as a television anchor and J.K. Rowling was rejected multiple times when trying to find a publisher for Harry Potter. Can you imagine if those women had let those failures define them? When, not if, you fail, hold your head high, make note of the learning points and press on, sister!

5. In 5 years, where do you hope to be professionally and personally?

I would love to move into public speaking to groups of students. I would love to share my stories of imperfection and career bumps and inspire them to make a plan, set goals, and go after them! Having a vision is what keeps us going when we get knocked down or experience a set-back. Career planning is an extremely powerful tool that will serve you well throughout your professional life!

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