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HOW TO REINVENT YOURSELF IN THE CAREER WORLD

AN INTERVIEW WITH HARVARD GRAD AND FORMER FACEBOOK EXECUTIVE, DEBRA BEDNAR-CLARK

This interview is for those of you who want to know how to reinvent yourself in the career world — whether it’s to create a new persona that will help you get noticed and nab that corner office, whether it’s to switch careers altogether — or whether it’s to align all your passions and skills and start that personal business you’ve only dreamed about. And you have probably promised yourself on the beginning of each birth year (or perhaps more often, at the beginning of each calendar year) that you will fix all of your former transgressions and finally set out to do what you want to do. But we Google and we ask around — and the how-to advice we receive is often vague. Which is why we’re left at our status quos only to make the same promise to ourselves 364 days later.



But guess what? There’s no better time than now and there is a chic and phenomenal woman named Debra Bednar-Clark who can help get you there. She’s a former techie and Facebook exec turned career and leadership coach — and she founded two businesses that provides hands on and detailed strategic methodologies of substance and style so you can finally be where you want to be. And/or she can lead you to launching your side hustle into the multi-million dollar empire you until now only stared at on your vision board. Women (and some men) from all points in their careers (from Millennials just starting out to seasoned professionals) flock to her when they need direction and guidance.

Corporations don’t have in house career coaches — and although life is now inundated with life coaches, rarely are they able to guide their clients from A-Z, build a business plan, blueprint short and long term creative and financial goals, pick fonts and nail presentations — and give clients a full style overhaul.

Debra Bednar-Clark hails from Harvard, Facebook and Microsoft — and her plentiful life experiences are from everywhere. Today, she is a revered businesswoman who has created a career and life coaching business utilizing her passions, personality, skills and experiences – so your own passions, personality, skills and experiences can finally be utilized to turn your dreams into a reality. I certainly feel fortunate to have this fab, brilliant and super stylish woman on the blog today. Thank you, Debra Bednar-Clark.




| Thank you so much for everything you do — and for doing this interview. What you do and what you represent sends a loud message to all of us career woman – those of us not only trying to stay afloat but those of us trying to rise to the top of the boys’ club. I’m so inspired by your corporate path, how you individualized it and what you’re doing now. You’re stylish and you’re techy. You’re every woman’s inspiration. So I want to know everything! Please tell me a little about your background and your transition from coding to developing your own business. |

Yes! So I have two businesses right now. One is DB+co and one is DB Style and they both originated by my friends calling me “DB” but I can give you more context about how and why I started these businesses.

I spent many years in corporate before I decided to launch my own business. And a lot of that happened to do with my own personal journey and things I was experiencing by other women working in corporate as well. So when I first started my career, I was an undergraduate and business major and I thought I was going to pursue a career in fashion. But then I was selected by Accenture for a coding position – and the recruiter saw something in me that I had not yet seen in myself. I had strong math and science scores and certain qualities that he thought would lend itself well to this discipline. Since technology back in 1995 was really just beginning — I thought it’d be interesting to learn a skill set that I didn’t yet have.

And when I look at a position now, every position I have ever been in has been about what I’m able to do next that will allow me to make an impact later on down the road.


And even though I was successful and I was advancing up the corporate ladder and making great strides, I was always in a perpetual tug of war between what I was doing and what I was supposed to be doing and actually aspired to be.


So when I started Accenture, it was really fantastic. I learned how to code — and then I moved onto a strategy role. But ultimately, one of the first things I realized was that I was very different. I was a girly girl, very feminine and into pastels – but I also had the other side of me that aimed to drive business results. However, when I was in a coding career, I was one of very few woman among many men and one of very few business majors. I was surrounded by every type of engineer and I just didn’t feel like I fit in.

And even though I was driving results, I still felt a excluded from the culture. So I think like most woman, I started to dull my spark a little bit — and it evolved how I was talking and dressing to fit in. And one of the things that I realized is that every time you’re not bringing your whole self forward and are not true to who you really are, you’re tearing a piece of your soul every day. And even though I was successful and I was advancing up the corporate ladder and making great strides, I was always in a perpetual tug of war between what I was doing and what I was supposed to be doing and actually aspired to be.

I evolved my career. I went from consulting to advertising to media and tech. I kept pursuing different things; but all along the way, even when I was in graduate school, I wasn’t really confident enough to bring my whole self forward. Because in academia, there are certain standards, etc. and bringing in your femininity and style really were not necessarily revered.

While I was building all of these businesses and teams and getting more confident in bringing my true self forward, I found myself as the office coach. I was effectively coaching so many different women throughout all stages of their careers and helping provide advice and guidance on how they could make their way through the murky waters of corporate to succeed and be valued for who they were. My coaching covered everything from how to effectively communicate with your manager to how to balance promoting synergy between your inner and outer self, being respected, being taken seriously — all these different elements. So what I realized back in 2013-2014 was that the number of women in all stages of their career, at the most progressive companies in the world, were still struggling to navigate the deep and murky waters of the workplace — and I was trying to be more fulfilled by bringing my whole self to work.

I realized I wanted to start DB+co to help others feel authentically fulfilled every single day. Essentially, I was my first client and now I take what I learned from the past 20+ years and share it with others in a much shorter time frame.


While I was at Facebook, if I could have been the Chief Coach and Style Officer, that would have been my dream job, but that didn’t exist. So I realized that I needed to create this.


| Did these meetings with coworkers happen in a formal setting or did they come on spontaneously?

I mentored and coached teams that were formally my direct report, but what I thought was interesting and what really stood out to me was that my colleagues’ directs were coming to me for advice and coaching and mentoring.

And I started to understand that not everybody was getting the same type of investment to be able to map what made them unique to the needs of the business. And as I was advancing in Corporate America, I would always have people organically stop by my desk and ask for feedback. And the people also started setting up video conferences with me if they were based in Singapore and London and I think it just spread word of mouth where one person was getting help and finding it valuable. And it kept spreading.

While I was at Facebook, if I could have been the Chief Coach and Style Officer, that would have been my dream job, but that didn’t exist. So I realized that I needed to create this.

There isn’t really one job that can help coach and advise people holistically – and that is substance and style for me.

| Do you have a design, art background? How are you so good with style? |

Again, this is about knowing your strengths.

I decided to create DB Style because what I’m definitely good at is getting to know people at their core. I have a business background, a psychology background and I’m genuinely interested and curious about understanding humanity. So for me, that is my core.

And I also really love curation. When I know someone’s style, it’s very intuitive for me to be able to manifest that through different aesthetics.

As we evolve, our style evolves too.

++ Be inspired and follow her here:

DB +co Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/db.and.co/

DB Style on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DB-Style-121609184551274/?ref=bookmarks

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