Public Relations VP to Mental Health Counselor

June 2018

Hi Anthony.
Been a while and a lot has happened since we last spoke. My search was put on hold after the tragic death of my son last August. It’s been a difficult time but I was able to resume finding the right career path based on our work together, and learned yesterday I was accepted in an MS program in Mental Health and Rehab counseling.  I begin in August.
I explored so many options based on what I learned from working with you and this felt right. I’m excited about the change and just wanted to pass along my appreciation to you for helping me get there. 
All my best to you.
Background story:
Gretchen came for help with making a full-blown career change, at age 46, she was ready to bail out of a long career in Communications Strategy and Public Relations after having worked her way up the ladder to a Vice President position over two decades. Although successful and good at her work, she wasn’t happy or excited about the difference she was making in the world. She said the biggest thing that she disliked about her work was the pervasive politics and “pomp and circumstance” that comes with the territory of advocacy and PR. She isn’t a natural at putting on airs or promoting other’s ideas. 
The careerfinder testing revealed some hidden aptitudes and traits that had been haunting her throughout her whole life, but she didn’t fully trust her hunches enough to act on them. “I think that I’m much more visually creative than with words,” she recalled, but “I’m writing ALL THE TIME” in my work. Gretchen discovered that she has a strong propensity to be independent-minded, as well as more introverted. And, when those traits are combined with her stronger cognitive abilities in spatial thinking, visualizing possibilities, analytical reasoning, sensing perception and empathy, we have the makings of a master artisan. Reflecting back on her teenage self, “At the time, I wanted to go to art school to use my visual creativity, architect was on my list of careers.” But, her parents had unwittingly set the course for Gretchen’s career, she said, they would pay for college “only if I attended a liberal arts school,” where her professors noticed her creative writing talents and “encouraged me to go into some form of communications.” Now, thirty years down that road, Gretchen is eager to follow the whispers coming from her biological self.  
Another subset or cluster of natural talents that surfaced in her natural talent profile endows her with the gift of listening deeply and mentoring people. Gretchen began to realize that she’s multi-talented, she’s partly a counselor and partly a hands-on, artistic designer. I’ve seen this blend of talents and traits many times and often the person who embodies this kind of mind has a hard time choosing which fork in the road to take. She as the innate potential to excel at both paths, so, how to choose between them? Interestingly, Gretchen’s master list of careers to consider included being a boutique artisan in either lingerie, floral, greeting cards, or landscapes. Her list also included various kinds of counselors, such as family issues and substance abuse. How to break the tie, is she a healer, artisan, or a bit of both? For Gretchen, the contest wasn’t only between which of her talents were pulling stronger. Something else, deeply and personally meaningful, was driving her reason for being.