Career Curves

Career Curves

Real people telling real stories of real careers. A common perception is that careers move in straight lines, from first job to last, yet this is rarely true. Real careers have highs and lows, planned changes and unexpected ones. On each episode of Career Curves, we talk to someone who has had an interesting, curvy career to find out how they navigated the twists and turns. We focus on the opportunities and challenges that came their way, digging into key decisions they faced and how they made them. Listen in and walk away with inspiration and ideas to help you maneuver through the curves in your own career.

Episodes

October 7, 2021 52 min

Do you ever feel boxed in or typecasted based on your current role or what you've studied? Dr. Neda Cvijetic has made it her mission to break down false barriers throughout her life and career. She's a senior engineering leader AND she has her own fashion business on the side called Hautefit. She has a strong intellect AND strong emotional intelligence. She has a thriving career AND a very fulfilling personal and family lif...

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“I’ve never had a job. And as soon as I stop liking what I'm doing, I generally try to change course.”

Throughout his career, Brenden Mulligan, founder of Podpage and head of product at Commonstock, has been driven by more than just financial success. From the music industry to startups, his passion has focused on solving problems and building products that customers love. He’s been fortunate to have a number of companies he cre...

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August 5, 2021 34 min

When Tamara Lewis was growing up in Jamaica, there were only two versions of what future "career success" might look like. She could become a doctor, or she could become a lawyer. She started college as a pre-med student ....and proceeded to change her major 14 times. She later was accepted into law school ....and ended up dropping out early in her first semester. The moral of this story? She was driven by what she "sho...

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July 8, 2021 51 min

"Being consistently good doesn't get you very far. You need to be occasionally amazing." That's advice from Laura Meckler, national education writer at the Washington Post. Her career is living proof, and by being good and occasionally amazing she rose up the journalism ladder to some of the most prestigious newspapers in the U.S., including a coveted stint as White House correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.

I...

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May 6, 2021 38 min

Malia Cohen discovered when she was a child that she wanted to serve in government. She visualized herself in her dream job and then made it happen. Today, she has moved on from that role and sits on the California State Board of Equalization and serves as President of the San Francisco Police Commission, the first African-American woman in both of these roles. So how has she powered forward to make her goals a reality in spite of ...

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“The door to opportunity is a door marked PUSH.” Throughout his career, Matt Confer has taken to heart this advice from his parents. He’s actively looked for doors and then strategized how to get them open. 

In this episode, Matt spells out the steps he took to create internship opportunities during college and then continually move forward in his career. (Spoiler alert: extreme networking is one of the keys to his success.) He’s cu...

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Making moves into new roles and new companies can be challenging, especially if people are telling you what you want to do isn’t available to you or you’re an immigrant needing to get over visa hurdles. Our guest on this episode, Saiman Shetty, technical program manager of robots at Nuro, has faced and overcome these challenges, not by luck or chance but by design. With perseverance, determination, and a lot of hard work, he’s craf...

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Jamie Pachino is currently the Co-Executive Producer on The Right Stuff for Disney+. She always thought that she’d be an actor for her career, but she fell in love with writing plays and scripts along the way. Her work has been produced in four countries, honored with numerous awards, and she’s written for major studios like DreamWorks, Disney, Lionsgate and more. Jamie shares how she did it and the lessons she learned along th...

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What role does learning play as you are building your career? Marcus Chung, VP of  Manufacturing and Supply Chain at ThirdLove, has learned from each and every one of his experiences, and he has continuously applied that information to move toward roles that better tap into his passions and strengths. Part of his career journey has included roles and companies that weren’t always a perfect fit, but he needed the learning from those...

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January 7, 2021 57 min

Gabrielle Bosché became addicted to achievement at an early age. Her incredible drive helped her achieve early success (including publishing her first book at 17!), but it came at a cost to her health and relationships.

The unlock in her career journey was connecting her work to her life purpose. She intentionally crafted a career centered around her passions and founded two companies in the process – The Millennial Solution and Th...

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“I have had an identity of being different from such an early age that it's never even occurred to me to try to fit in with those around me.” That’s how Adriane Armstrong, CEO of the nonprofit social enterprise Juma Ventures, explains why she chose a career in the nonprofit sector while her classmates were pursuing for-profit, high tech startups.
 
For many, going against the grain isn’t easy. In this interview, Adriane tells her...

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November 5, 2020 43 min

How do you gain the experience and skills you need to go out on your own as a consultant? In this episode, Tiffany Newhouse, CEO of Newhouse Project Consulting, takes us through her path to consulting which had plenty of curves, including a key decision to leave law school to pursue a career more aligned with her interests and passions. Throughout her journey, Tiffany gained experience and skills across a variety of industries and ...

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October 1, 2020 53 min

When Greg Stern graduated from college with a degree in Political Science, he certainly did not expect to eventually co-found and co-chair the award-winning creative advertising agency BSSP. He also didn't anticipate that he would eventually be named CEO of the renowned performing arts organization SFJAZZ. He calls his career inadvertent, but the steps he took along the way prepared him for the extraordinarily fulfilling career...

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Since she was a young girl, Denise Young Smith has had a love for music and singing. Her career, though, took her into the world of Human Resources including executive roles at Apple. Did this mean she left the arts behind? Certainly not! Music and performing have always been in her life and are taking center stage now as she becomes Chair of the Board at SFJAZZ.

In this episode, Denise shares her journey including how she developed...

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Sometimes reaching your destination means making moves that seem to be on different paths. That's what Brandon Hernandez has been consciously doing as he's built his career in Public Affairs while also volunteering his time and leadership within important nonprofit organizations. The journey hasn't always been easy or stress-free, but it has been rewarding.

In this episode, Brandon shares how and why he made moves throug...

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“I channel the power of civil society movements to create enduring, positive change toward social and environmental justice for the underrepresented.” 

That’s how Darryl Knudsen, Executive Director of International Rivers, describes his personal mission. While the actual mission statement was only crafted recently, the content of the mission has guided Darryl throughout his career, which spans many roles within the private and publ...

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June 4, 2020 32 min

“All of the other things that I have done before just bubble up into this one particular moment in time.” 

That’s how Rodney Fong, President & CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, describes getting ready for the challenge he faces today – leading his 170-year-old organization during COVID-19, which has caused unemployment rates to soar and many businesses struggling to survive.
 
Rodney shares his career and personal jour...

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May 7, 2020 55 min

Anyone who has faced job loss will tell you it can be scary, demoralizing, and confusing, raising questions like, “What do I do now?”... “How do I bounce back?”... and even, “Will I bounce back?” Unfortunately, this is what many people are experiencing now as a result of COVID-19.

On this episode, we bring you a story of resilience... and success. Leah Swan has had her job eliminated as her employer shut down. She’s had new jobs tha...

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A few weeks before COVID-19 swept across the world, we had a chance to sit down with Dr. Arpana Vidyarthi, to capture her career story. She specializes in hospital medicine and now is on the frontline of the pandemic, making this episode especially timely. 

The focus of the interview was on how she built a career that pulls together her passions and interests in internal medicine, quality and safety, teaching, and leadership. Becaus...

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March 12, 2020 50 min

Can you have a career in professional sports without being a pro athlete? Rick Welts, president and COO of the Golden State Warriors did just that. His career began when, as a teenager, he landed the job of ball boy for the Seattle Supersonics. His drive, commitment, and love for the game got him noticed and led to his being offered a job with the National Basketball Association when it was just getting off the ground. His career g...

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