Spotlight Series: Meet Career Coach Kimmie Ferretti Hammett

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I'm actually a South Florida Native (weird, right?) with a ton of Greek/Italian family in the Midwest which I think set me up for always seeing a balance in life. A love for the comforts of family and stability and a comfortability with the strange, diverse and unpredictable city life has made me adaptable. With this and a strong sense of empathy, I've always been able to connect with and understand multiple perspectives. I get a lot of energy from meeting people and talking to them about our thoughts and experiences and analyzing their deeper motivations. I always knew I wanted to work in a career that had me doing this as much as possible. I originally explored hospitality but found my "home" in Talent Development and Coaching. 

Outside of work I have too many interests to fit. In fact, at a young age when my parents made me choose only 3 extracurricular activities, I created and proposed a 10-day week that allowed me time for all of the sports and clubs I wanted to participate in. I'm still not sure why we haven't adopted this. I'm the most relaxed with wind in my hair and a natural view like the ocean or mountains. I enjoy writing and wine so I occasionally review cheap wines on my wine blog (with a very sarcastic tone). I think everyone should take an improv class, it will teach you a lot about yourself like how to trust others and positive ways to handle life. I enjoy travelling and am totally happy to do so alone (of course meeting friends along the way... like the Irish family that was in New York for a funeral with whom I drank whiskey and sang songs with before I saw a Broadway show. 

What I want in life and my career can pretty much be whittled down in my all-time favorite quote "To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

Other than serving jobs and dog-sitting through high-school and college, my last semester of college I was hired as an Event Coordinator at a country club. I was the one in charge of planning, promoting and managing all of their member's social events. I was a server there first and just a few months in I asked to meet with the GM and I said to him "I'm not here to be a server. I'd like to work in events" and I asked if I could shadow the current Events Coordinator. She was so gracious in showing me the ropes and because she knew she was interviewing for another job. She essentially just started training me to take the role. (Ps- to this day we are great friends, just celebrated at her wedding a few months ago!) About a month later when she left I got all dressed and prepped for the interview and the GM just asked me when I would like to start.

I'd love to also throw in that years later when I was working front office at a hotel and was interested in HR, specifically Training & Development, I volunteered to help our training specialist with projects and reached out to the VP of HR for the brand to ask her some questions. Again I experienced someone gracious with their time and she also introduced me to several key players in different areas of corporate HR. When a position opened up with the Training & Development team I jumped for it and already had two referrals from the resort. After interviewing with the manager he told me the next step would be to interview with a certain HR manager. I said "Oh them? Great, I know them!" The hiring manager's brow went up and asked how I knew him (as far as he knew I had never stepped foot in the corporate offices!) I nonchalantly said "Oh, (VP of HR) introduced us a while back, she's great!". Now his brows are crossed wondering how I know his boss. A couple of days later I got the call with the offer, no second interview needed. I like to tell this story because I really encourage people to reach out to others you want to learn from. The worst they can do is ignore you which is worth risking for an opportunity to gain knowledge and connections.

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

While I was working in Talent Development my role had me filling multiple buckets so I was lucky to gain a lot of experience and exposure. My boss at the time would swear he was a terrible developer but he gave me a lot of room to try things and contribute and gave me really valuable feedback and insight. He was the first to point out that even though I worked well with facilitating to groups, I would be happier with one-on-one because I prefer to individualize my development. I really enjoyed the coaching opportunities I had and even outside of my responsibilities, I became a trusted colleague and many team members came to me for guidance. I started to work on clarifying what I wanted to do, almost creating my own job description hoping to create a position within my organization that I knew would be beneficial to the teams. Unfortunately, I was laid off before that could happen. 

While it was stressful, this was such an amazing opportunity for me. I was lucky to be able to be a little picky in my search and as I poured over many job descriptions and applications I started to question if I really needed a big organization to give me permission to do what I knew I could do. So I did what I have done in the past, I reached out to others and asked a ton of questions. Once I had heard from several Career Coaches I started to formulate what career coaching would look like for me. I created a basic structure and began putting it out there that that's what I did. 

The first time a client booked me I felt terrified. Of course, as soon as things started going it felt completely natural and I almost immediately was able to uncover some of the client's real roadblocks. That same first client (who has since completed his package) recently reached out to me just to let me know he had landed a new role recently that gave him the flexibility he wanted, more pay and a better work environment. This role will be so excellent for his growing family and the home they hope to purchase this year. It makes my heart burst to get these kinds of results for people!

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

I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason so as much as I'd like to say I'd tell my younger self not to let comfort and fear hold me back, I feel like I needed to learn that lesson and to meet those people in order to be as equipped as I am today. I think I would word it as "Trust yourself. you have everything you need. If you don't have it, you have what you need to get it."

I've gotten a lot of great career advice (and quite a bit of terrible nuggets) but one that stands out to me came after I interviewed for a role that changed direction and I didn't get it. I came back to my desk disappointed and my desk neighbor asked me about it. After telling her about the role that wasn't right for me she just said "Welp, I guess you'll just have to create your role!". This completely snapped me into a new perspective. I knew what I had to offer was valuable but was waiting for someone else to define it and match me with something similar. The truth was it didn't exist (within the company anyway) but it should have. It didn't end up working out internally but that statement gave me permission to make my own job which helped lead to me starting my own business.

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

Professionally I hope to have built a community with my coaching clients and also be using my hospitality background to host events, possibly retreats that provide an intensive coaching experience that offers a lot of value in one very supportive environment. 

Personally, I hope to be travelling regularly (and not just for weddings), feeling confident and becoming the sugar-momma of the household, and, though we've been taking our time, I do look forward to starting a family of our own with my husband at some point. Oh, and just in my spare time I'll help my best friend, Tina Fey, with writing for our sitcom

Stay connected with Kimmie!

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