Career Field: Enterprise Sales
Years of Experience: 25
My Career Challenge: I was struggling with what to do next with my career. I wanted to stay in sales, but I wanted to change course and make a career transition into something else. I needed to overhaul my resume and figure out my personal brand.
How Coaching Helped: Eleven years ago I hired Ellen to help me with a career challenge I was experiencing at the time. Based on that invaluable experience, I knew I would benefit from Ellen’s amazing insights to help me get clarity on where I was headed with my career. This round of coaching taught me something both new and remarkable: I am a brand. I never thought of myself like that until we began identifying my personal values, pinpointing my passions, and digging into what made me unique — and who in the marketplace needs what I have to offer.
Outcome: Not only do I have a resume that speaks to my strengths, showcases my results, and makes me feel more confident, but I was able to identify a new career path in business development that really excites me, and pursue it. In fact, I shifted my career direction entirely from selling a product in the federal market to selling a health and wellness service in the private sector. And it’s in alignment with my personal values, too. I made an important shift: thinking about myself like a brand and selling THAT. I had become so accustomed to selling my employer’s brand after being in sales for so many years, and coaching helped me focus on selling my unique skills and experience and how I can contribute to an employer’s mission and business growth.
“Building my personal brand and learning how to market that to a new audience has helped me move each stage of the job search process along with greater confidence. By focusing on my strengths and developing my brand, I was able to let go of seeking traditional sales roles and pursue a new career path in this phase of my life. I am much happier now — and I have a great new job!” - Chuck
Career Field: Journalism
Years of Experience: 11
My Career Challenge: I was in a challenging work situation where I felt undervalued and underappreciated. My boss and I had a conversation about transitioning out, and she asked me to give at least three months’ notice. My goal with working with Ellen was to get advice on moving forward from that role.
How Coaching Helped: It was my first time working with a career coach and it was great having an outside voice giving me expert guidance on both managing a challenging work situation and navigating the job search. I didn’t realize how much I was lacking positive reinforcement on the work/skills front until I started working with her and she bolstered me up.
Outcome: Working with Ellen helped me un-hook myself from my boss and build back my confidence in my capabilities and work. As we focused on the job search, she helped me build my tool kit to prepare for interviews and reminded me that I have valuable skills that other employers will appreciate.
“Ellen is a thoughtful, caring coach who helped me boost my confidence while dealing with a challenging work situation and helped me move forward with a job search strategy. She helped me recognize the value of my skills — and that I needed to ask for a salary equivalent to that.” - Nicole
Career Field: People Development/HR
Years of Experience: 10
My Career Challenge: I wanted to make a change and focus on the kind of work I really wanted to do: lead a people development function and build communities within an exciting organization. Ellen was recommended to me by a colleague and I contacted her to get short-term help on strategizing for an upcoming phone screen for a job I was really interested in.
How Coaching Helped: I realized that I needed to better tell my story in my marketing tools and when communicating my value to potential employers. During our 90-minute on-the-spot coaching session, I practiced what I would say during my interview. I never realized how often I came up with incomplete thoughts or got stuck answering tough questions. I learned from our coaching how to better translate my experience and skill set through storytelling backed by visual examples that brought my professional experience and unique skill set to life. Ellen had me create and share my examples during a mock interview, and helped me link my skills and past experience (especially my role as a Peace Corp and Consultant in Turkmenistan working in small villages) to how I could do what I felt was my purpose: build a compelling culture and engage employees in being part of a community.
Outcome: I learned that I could pursue my dream job, allowing me to strengthen my strengths and do what I love. I also learned that equipping myself with stronger marketing tools and better storytelling skills made me more confident. I found myself reconnecting with who I really was, and what I was meant to do with my career.
“Months later after working with Ellen I got a great job at an exciting organization where every day I inspire employees to strengthen their sense of belonging to the organization and I contribute to fostering a culture of connectivity and empowerment.” - German
Career Field: Software Engineer
Years of Experience: 8
My Career Challenge: I lost my job. When I began my (involuntary) job search, I was happily getting a lot of phone screen and in-person interviews, but I wasn’t getting any offers. I needed help with my interviewing skills, and I called Ellen a week before I was to fly to an in-person interview with the entire team I would be working with. The job was with a great company and closer to my family, so really I wanted to knock it out of the park and get an offer.
How Coaching Helped: I didn’t realize that I needed well-thought-out examples that illustrated my career achievements. Ellen taught me to pinpoint five that would help me with any tough interview question I might be asked, from describing a recent challenge and how I overcame it to how I resolved conflict with a team member. I practiced using them again and again during my interview prep with Ellen, to improve my recall ability. Ellen also had me mentally visualize how everything would go, from organizing myself for my trip to arriving at the interview to answering questions confidently. This tactic helped calm my nerves and interview successfully in front of a group. In fact, they commented (unsolicited!) on how well I had interviewed.
Outcome: I got the job! And I was even able to negotiate a higher salary, above the range they initially described for the position.
“Ellen brought out the knowledge and confidence that I needed, to get to the level I needed, to land my new job.” - David
Career Field: Emergency Management
Years of Experience: 20
My Career Challenge: I was being constantly undermined by my manager and was at the point of quitting my job altogether. My morale was at an all-time low and my confidence in my abilities was eroding. I felt the need to quit my job, so I contacted Ellen for help.
How Coaching Helped: Through implementing Ellen’s recommendations and techniques, as well as completing key exercises and assignments, I not only recognized and avoided old thought patterns, I effectively stopped others who were undermining my attempts to grow and advance. She also helped restore much of my confidence and motivated me to become more visible with top executives, many of whom were advocates of mine. At one point during our coaching, I told Ellen I had received a poor (and highly inaccurate) performance evaluation from my manager, which would become permanent record. Ellen helped me shift my thinking from letting it “just be” and coached me on taking charge of the situation. I succeeded at refuting my manager’s claims and changing my record so that my performance was evaluated fairly and reflected the high marks I deserved.
Outcome: In less than one year, I went from wanting to leave my job out of desperation, to being promoted to a management position that included a 45% raise. And my value keeps going up considerably in the eyes of those top executives she encouraged me to network with. Thank you, Ellen! Your insights, guidance, and coaching were invaluable to my career growth.
“While I initially contacted Traverse to explore how I could leave a destructive work situation and ‘repackage myself,’ I left each session empowered to actively change my toxic work environment for the better.” - Beth
Career Field: HR Executive
Years of Experience: 15
My Career Challenge: I needed to increase my executive presence and be recognized as a true business partner vital to the success of my organization. I also wanted to fine-tune my personal brand and better market my results.
How Coaching Helped: Ellen’s coaching had a transformational effect on my career, powerfully disrupting my perception of myself, my role, and my impact. The transformation is apparent inside — it’s like walking around in a new body -– and out. My wildest dreams were of doing this, but none of this was possible without Ellen’s insightful coaching and expertise.
Outcome: I made a business case demonstrating my increased contribution and recommended an increase in my salary. It worked! I also learned how to be “more me,” which skyrocketed my confidence, challenged me to take on projects, and helped me communicate more effectively during difficult conversations.
“Working with Ellen has helped me to get out of my own way, tap into what I’ve learned, and embrace what I was born with so I can do some really remarkable things.” - Vincent
Career Field: IT
Years of Experience: 12
My Career Challenge: I was at a pivotal point with my career. My company was experiencing rapid growth and senior leadership increasingly recognized my leadership and problem solving skills in a constantly changing environment. That was great, but I wanted to make sure I was not being undervalued. A co-worker referred me to Ellen for her expert guidance.
How Coaching Helped: Ellen reviewed my resume and helped me re-format how I presented myself and we discussed the value of my “personal brand,” something I had never focused on before. I knew my unique skill set would be valuable to many employers, but I wanted to explore staying with my organization and also how to go about asking for a salary increase.
Outcome: Working with Ellen was invaluable; she encouraged me to own and market my strengths more deliberately. The elevator pitch she put together for me has been very helpful in talking about myself — even at my current job. Ellen’s expert feedback helped me reshape most of my resume, from eliminating heavy colors and blocks of content that were not necessary when translating my skill set to adding a lot more results. I now have better tools and am moving forward with greater purpose with my career.
“I did get the raise that I fought for — they got me nearly to the salary baseline I requested and then funded a 113% bonus to cover the difference until further salary actions across the board later this year. Thanks for all your help!” - Laura
Career Field: Nursing/Healthcare
Years of Experience: 15
My Career Challenge: I wanted to relaunch my career after staying home with my kids for almost 10 years. I chose to put my nursing career on hold until my youngest was in Kindergarten and then try to get something part-time that worked with my kids’ schedules.
How Coaching Helped: I forgot how confusing the world of job hunting could be!! Right away Ellen helped me evaluate what I wanted: how many hours I wanted to work, what credentials and skills I needed to go back to my career as a nurse, and even how to create a vision for what a balanced life and career looked like for me.
Ellen helped me update my resume, target hospitals that could use my unique skill set, and act more strategically in my search. At one point during interviews with my top choice hospital in Washington, DC, I was actually given an offer — but within a unit that was not a good fit for me. And the hours would not work for my family’s schedule. I almost said “no, but thank you!” which I truly thought was my only option, and continued with my job search. Ellen coached me on continuing my dialogue with the recruiter (whom I liked and had gotten to know well) and inquire about other RN opportunities at the hospital that aligned with my values and the hours I wanted to work. Ellen said, “You opened the door, now keep walking through it!”
Ellen coached me on leading a discussion with the recruiter to express my excitement about the hospital and to determine if there were other RN positions with similar hours and requirements in a different unit of the hospital. Ellen said the recruiter would know this information, or find it a lot faster than I could.
Outcome: I got a part-time job with my top choice of hospitals! After having this follow-up discussion with the recruiter and expressing my interest in exploring other opportunities as well as my desire to work there, the recruiter expressed how much they liked me and wanted to hire me. She was able to help me get an interview for a job in a different unit of the hospital that was a great fit for me, and for my family’s busy schedule.
“I never thought I could go back to work and have the balance of being with my kids and also working when I wanted to. I have been with my employer for several years now and still love it, and I love that it works for my lifestyle as a busy mom.” - Grace
Career Field: Training and Development
Years of Experience: 20
My Career Challenge: For years my manager and I had not been getting along and things had started to go downhill quickly. One day he scheduled a meeting and fired me. I had eight weeks to find a new job and I called Ellen in a panic. My resume was not in great shape, I didn’t know how to market myself, and I needed a job — fast. But after this awful experience I wanted to make sure I got a job I liked.
How Coaching Helped: The elevator pitch I developed with Ellen helped me talk more easily about myself to strangers, and I learned that job hunting was a lot more than submitting your resume to online job ads. Ellen helped me assess my networking skills (I hated the thought of it) and approach networking as relationship-building. She also connected me with the very first informational interview of my career.
Outcome: In just under eight weeks, I accepted a job offer. The offer arrived just two weeks shy of my designated departure date. I am thrilled to have met my goal of finding a new job (I worked at it like it was a full-time job!), one where I will be a managing a team and contributing my skills in cybersecurity to a different type of organization. I also built a large network and am now more confident about what networking means. Now I am sharing my job-hunting experiences with others.
“If I didn’t network, I wouldn’t have found my new position. I learned that you can’t just push your resume to potential employers via the career section of their website; you have to develop a contact in that organization who can pull your resume through the screening process and make sure it gets to the top of the hiring manager’s pile. A more targeted approach may take a little longer, but it’s ultimately more effective in finding a quality opportunity than just playing the numbers game with your resume.” - Erin
Career Field: Nonprofit Marketing Communications
Years of Experience: 10+
My Career Challenge: I knew I needed to make a career change and leave my dysfunctional organization, but I was so burnt out I couldn’t focus on figuring out what I should do next. I sought a career coach to help me stay motivated and gain a fresh perspective.
How Coaching Helped: Career coaching helped me explore new avenues I otherwise wouldn’t have considered. Without it, I would have either stayed in a miserable position or rushed to something else out of desperation. Along the way I refined my personal brand and learned to market myself much more effectively. I felt like my confidence was restored too. My instincts were always correct that I should leave my flailing organization, but I kept trying to make it work, and didn’t realize how much I had been hanging on to trying to create a successful career at a dysfunctional organization.
Outcome: Less than six months later, I was out of the toxic work environment and enjoying a successful start to a freelance consulting career, which offers ideal work-life balance for an ambitious mother of three young children.
“I can honestly say that I am happier than I’ve been in years—and that means my family is happier too. Ellen’s objective insights helped me see that my organization wasn’t going to change, and that I alone had the power to improve my situation. Through careful exercises and conversations, I learned what I most wanted to do (and not do) professionally, and I gained the confidence to enter the ‘gig economy’—something I never thought possible before.” - Anna
International Law Firm | Executive Coaching
Challenge: A large international law firm wanted their senior associates to develop a stronger executive presence.
Solution: After assessing individual challenges during one-on-one meetings and gathering feedback from practice group leaders, associates were given coaching on how to overcome their unique obstacles and barriers.
Coaching Results: The associates:
- Learned how to build relationships with practice group leaders, clients, and even in-house professional development staff who could support their career growth.
- Participated in a series of networking exercises developed by Ellen and committed to building networking activities into their busy work weeks.
- Prepared more impactful self-evaluation forms for annual reviews that marketed results and accomplishments and clearly stated their career development goals.
- Received tips and strategies on how to engage actively with their careers, from collecting feedback to leveraging mentoring relationships, to working more effectively with difficult personalities.
Socially Innovative Nonprofit | Career Management Workshops
Challenge: A socially innovative nonprofit wanted to offer professional development opportunities for their summer interns, a diverse group of students from top schools with a passion for conservation.
Solution: Two training programs were designed and delivered for summer interns: (1) managing their summer internship and making an impact, and (2) building and marketing a personal brand for career success.
Coaching Results: The interns:
- Engaged in a dynamic learning experience (conducted both in-person and virtually) where they brainstormed, completed small-group activities, and (daringly!) participated in on-the-spot exercises such as sharing an elevator pitch.
- Assessed and evaluated their values, top strengths, and passions.
- Learned 5 keys to career success : Goal setting, tracking results, networking and building relationships, collecting feedback, and assessing impact.
- Met with Ellen between training sessions to address individual career challenges, including how to ready for entering the world of work as graduation neared.
“The workshop content allowed participants to have a one-on-one experience even in a group setting. Overall the experience was engaging, informative, and very worthwhile.” - Talent Acquisition Associate
Private School | Outplacement for Reductions-In-Force
Challenge: A prestigious private school was conducting staff layoffs and wanted to offer career support to the 20 departing employees whose jobs were eliminated.
Solution: Organizational leaders chose to provide one-on-one career coaching sessions with Ellen in order for staff to tackle individual challenges and receive emotional support. Employees could also elect a follow-up coaching session if they needed extra assistance.
Coaching Results: Departing employees:
- Gained more confidence in marketing their skills and experience, with some sharing a feeling of excitement at the possibility of making a career change.
- Learned tactics for strategic networking as a key to a successful job search.
- Received on-the-spot revisions and suggestions for resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles.
- Reported feeling supported and understood.
- Left the organization with a positive feeling about their employer under difficult circumstances.
Membership Organization | Outplacement & Career Transition for Executive-Level Employees
Challenge: An HR Director at a membership-based organization was seeking career transition services for an executive who lost his job due to downsizing.
Solution: Traverse provided a 9 month executive outplacement package offering one-on-one virtual and in-person coaching sessions.
Coaching Results: The departing executive:
- Received a completely overhauled set of marketing tools (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and learned how to better market his unique personal brand to varying audiences.
- Optimized his LinkedIn profile, attracting recruiters who contacted him for job opportunities.
- Strengthened his networking skills by proactively connecting with individuals and decision-makers at targeted employers.
- Enjoyed a sense of fulfillment as he learned how to self-direct his career, resulting in more interviews – and more opportunities, even hidden ones.
- Received on-the-spot assistance during the many phases of interviewing and negotiating.
- Ultimately decided between two job offers.
“After making the difficult decision to eliminate an executive's position, we wanted the departing executive to get the kind of support that would allow him not only to rewrite his resume and look for a new job, but to get the coaching and personalized attention Ellen's expertise and experience offered.” - Human Resources Consultant
Professional Services Firm | Personal Branding Workshop
Challenge: For its annual retreat, a top financial advisory firm was seeking a professional development workshop to help managers improve their career-planning skills.
Solution: Ellen developed a personal branding training program to help managers identify their unique strengths and learn how to build a powerful personal brand for greater career success.
Coaching Results: The managers:
- Engaged in a small-group exercise that allowed them to give each other on-the-spot feedback to gather important data on perception.
- Assessed their personal brands and the totality of the message they send to others, from their LinkedIn profile to their company bio.
- Identified how building their personal brands could help them make a greater impact as leaders and advance their careers.
- Brainstormed and created action plans that leveraged personal branding as a powerful career management tool.
“You were wonderful! When we conducted biggest takeaways from the retreat, more than half our managers said your session was their favorite – nicely done!” - Learning and Development Director