We recently had the pleasure of chatting with PROPEL’s certified career coach, Ellen Ades, educational consultant, Gitta J. Neufeld, and career counselor, Caroll Dweck. In keeping with PROPEL’s mission of guiding and supporting women entering the workforce, Ellen, Gitta, and Caroll collaborate with each other and with PROPEL clients to define, clarify, and achieve professional goals. As reality changed for everyone, the PROPEL team of coaches helped clients pivot and remain resilient as they faced new challenges and opportunities. Our conversation revealed the depth of the career coaches’ dedication to each client, their creativity, and their commitment to bring out the best in everyone.
As a career coach, what advice would you give for taking that first step, and why it is a good idea to reach out to PROPEL?
Ellen: Constantly add to your hard and soft skills. Adopt the “I’m a life-long learner” mindset.
Caroll: Career decisions are often tied to the most vulnerable parts of ourselves – our strengths, our values, and our dreams. Taking that first step can be extremely daunting, but our expert career coaches can help you discover the best parts of yourself that you can utilize to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.
Gitta: Take the step – don’t just think and dream. You don’t need to have a plan – we’ll help you with that. But you need to take that first step.
What are the most common questions you hear from clients?
Ellen: “How can PROPEL help me?”
Caroll: “How can I find that one thing that I’m going to do for the rest of my life?”
Gitta: “Is it hard? How can I manage school and a family (and a job)?”
What are the advantages of pursuing a career with an advanced degree?
Ellen: Knowledge is power. It builds resilience and flexibility and gives women better choices.
Caroll: The women of our community are extraordinarily intelligent and capable of excelling in any level of higher education. Getting an advanced degree opens us up a new range of career opportunities, and gives us the confidence to reach for the stars.
Gitta: Degrees are portable. They accompany you throughout your career journey. A degree provides evidence of your commitment and drive.
Can you describe a recent success story?
Ellen: One woman had a classic journey. Her husband lost his business. We helped her to get computer skills. She accepted an entry-level office job, earning $27,000 a year. PROPEL continued to provide guidance, coaching, and support over the next two years, at which time, she accepted a job with an annual salary of $75,000 and the opportunity to grow. Her path to success was paved with persistence, hard work, learning new skills, and finding effective ways to bring real value to her employer. She wasn’t afraid to start small and build from there.
Gitta: One that comes to mind is a woman who had worked in the medical field for thirteen years, but really wanted to be a teacher. With PROPEL’s support, she completed the Allegra Franco teacher training program, and was immediately hired by one of our community yeshivot. With the onset of the pandemic, she stepped up to the plate, creating new ways for engaging her students and sharing her ideas and experiences with her colleagues. The school has offered to further invest in her by funding future training.
Caroll: This client is intelligent, organized, and creative. She came to PROPEL because she had a wide variety of interests but was unsure of which career to pursue. However, she soon recognized that with a baby on the way it would be best to focus on a job that would meet her top career value: flexibility. A position became available at PROPEL, and after gaining an understanding of her own strengths throughout our sessions she became confident that she would be a perfect fit for the role. She applied and landed the job! PROPEL doesn’t just support our community’s women, we employ them as well. That is what makes PROPEL such a fantastic organization.
Do you have any advice for women in their quest to balance professional and family life?
Ellen: Prioritize. Organize. Focus.
Caroll: You don’t have to be doing everything 100% perfectly to be the super mom that you are!
Gitta: Take a deep breath. Women are master multi-taskers. Set your priorities right, and don’t be afraid to ask for help – and no one will remember in two years from now that you served takeout during finals!