PWC’s PDAC Committee is excited to introduce its second professional development event, which will highlight the power of emotional intelligence, a crucial element to success. The 2-hour interactive training seminar will provide guidance for professionals on how to push back and set boundaries in the workplace in order to move forward and focus on substantive work product, advance leadership skills, and maintain working relationships.
The seminar will be led by Lisa Panarello, Founder and CEO of Careers Advance. Since 2001, Lisa has been helping individuals transform challenging job situations into exciting career journeys. PDAC spoke to Lisa about how her professional experiences and genuine desire to help others achieve success enabled her practice to grow into a recognized force in professional development, career coaching, and communication training.
Lisa Panarello, Founder and CEO of Careers Advance
PWC PDAC: What made you decide to go into this field of work?
Lisa Panarello: The short answer is unexpected circumstances. For the first 13 years of my career, I was operating on a plan to accomplish my goals of being an art director, teacher and someday, to be on stage. Shortly after leaving corporate America, I stumbled onto a résumé writing freelance opportunity that gave me flexibility in many ways. Even though I had the intent of returning to corporate America, it made me realize that coaching and helping others is something I was passionate about. I was thrilled to be able to take my own past successes and lessons learned and help others achieve their goals. Ironically, I became the teacher and actress I always wanted to be. I teach by coaching others, and I also get to be on stage 2-3 times a week in terms of speaking in workshops and seminars. I am grateful to have achieved my original plan, just in a very untraditional way.
PWC PDAC: What are your main goals through your work?
Lisa Panarello: My mission is to help anyone that comes across my path, even if it’s through one word, or one phrase that can make a difference. My overarching goal is to first encourage and empower professionals at any level to identify what success means to them and then educate them on how to achieve it.
PWC PDAC: What are some of the things that you had to overcome to get you where you are now?
Lisa Panarello: I like to focus more on having a positive outlook and not taking things for granted. There are a few circumstances, however, that I would consider an obstacle when reflecting on this question. The first obstacle was my family’s relocation to Florida, which wasn’t part of my dream plan. Shortly after, I decided to take a risk and move back to New York with my brothers at 19 years of age.
During my professional life, I took many risks, including leaving one job without another lined up and changing jobs and industries several times. As an entrepreneur, I worked almost completely in solitude for the first 10 years of my practice, and experienced periods of self-doubt and unpredictable income streams. In my personal life, there were a series of heartbreaking family losses. Some obstacles I don’t think ever really go away. You overcome by learning to cope.
PWC PDAC: Is there a lesson learned or moment in your early career that resonated with you and has helped shape your professional growth?
Lisa Panarello: Three defining moments come to mind: First, getting fired three weeks after graduating college. I realized I had directed my energy solely on obtaining my degree, and as a result I underperformed on the job. This was a huge learning point that taught me you never quit until you resign, which is my mantra to this day. Second, was getting hired for my next series of jobs, which reaffirmed my confidence and capabilities. And the third lesson occurred while working at what I considered then my dream company. I asked my boss if could sit in at a high-level meeting. A topic came up, which I was able to contribute, and the leadership took notice. This instance made me realize that asking to sit at the table and raising your hand to share an idea or ask a question is key to advancing as a professional. Repeating this action illustrated that assertive behavior is necessary and positive in the workplace. Just to clarify though, assertive is not the same as aggressive or arrogant. Quiet leaders can be just as effective, when forthright and confident.
PWC PDAC: What is your biggest regret?
Lisa Panarello: My biggest regret from a professional standpoint is listening to someone who told me, in my early career search, that a media planning job was not the correct path to lead to an art director role. Once I became a career coach, I understood the importance of getting your foot in the door, and that one can create relationships and navigate themselves to a dream job from any starting point. I didn’t know how to connect the dots then. Now, it’s a big part of how I advise others in obtaining their goals.
PWC PDAC: What is the one thing you hope your audience takes away from your training session/coaching?
Lisa Panarello: The one main take-away is to understand that saying “No” can drum up a lot of fear, and in my opinion, most fear comes from lack of knowledge and/or experience. Therefore, ways to combat fear is learn and do. So, if you can identify where the fear is coming from (learn) and engage in exploratory conversations (do), you can work to overcome the fear of saying “No” when it’s necessary. A practical formula for developing this confidence that I find effective is: Risk –> Fail –> Learn –> Rinse and repeat.
- Risk: It is necessary to take risks to allow for growth by getting out of our comfort zone
- Fail: Allow failure to happen, as we don’t know what we are capable of until we try
- Learn: Evaluate and learn from the experience and outcome
- Rinse and Repeat: Apply to the next task
PWC PDAC: What is your inspiration? Accomplishments?
Lisa Panarello: I took my 13+ years of professional success and failure and started something from scratch and got my practice to where it is now. I am still loving what I do 17 years later. What is also most rewarding is my client’s accomplishments. To help them get over a hump, take a chance, achieve their goals, and get out of their comfort zone is my drive and inspiration every day. I want them to appreciate that what we all do has value.
More about the seminar:
Through Lisa’s entrepreneurial mindset and a unique blend of practicality and humor, you can expect an engaging and high energy experience that will include:
- Real-world scenarios and dynamic instruction
- PowerPoint slideshow
- Individual reflective exercises
- Group activities
- Digital take-away resources
PWC’s participants who participate in this program will leave with a deeper respect for self needs and perspective of others’, stronger communication and interpersonal skills, and a greater commitment to (and accountability for) actualizing desired results!