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Bridging the “Preparedness Gap” Between College and Career, A Founder’s Story with Amy Feind Reeves

Amy Feind Reeves, I’m a long-term hiring manager, executive, and one-time college-to-career failure. Ten years ago, I turned my passion for helping new grads make the transition to the business world into a business for helping new grads, mid-career managers and C-Suite executives find and keep jobs that make them happy. I also work with corporations to help them implement simple processes to retain employees longer — without having to run the six- and seven-figure consulting programs I used to develop and manage. My new book, College to Career, Explained: Tools, Skills, and Confidence for Your Job Search was published in July of 2022. I enjoyed a 30+ year career as a banker, consultant, entrepreneur, and executive. My work spanned multiple industries including oil and gas, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, publishing, software, consumer products, and financial services to name a few. As a result, I have a lot of insight into how roles are structured in those industries, what hiring managers look for in the people they bring on board, and what kind of skills it takes to succeed in them. My undergraduate degree is from Wellesley College and I earned an MBA at The Tuck School at Dartmouth. My family and I live in Boston although I am proud to say my daughter will be starting at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism this fall.


Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I’m a Mendham, NJ native and even though I have lived in Boston for the last 30 years my Jersey definitely shows up a lot. I allow my alter-ego, JerseyCoachAmy, to take over in my book and practice quite often to provide advice in a less….”MBA consultant” way! For a lot of people, it’s their favorite part of what I do. Biographically, I’m the youngest of five daughters – my parents raised us to be good Catholics, tennis players, and golfers who know that family always comes first and that life is to be enjoyed no matter what it may throw at you. They were The Greatest Generation so they knew what they were talking about on those last two- they were the lessons that have really stuck.


How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
My first entrepreneurial experience was with two partners around the time that customer relationship management was becoming a quantifiable benefit to customer service and consumer product organizations. We sold what was basically a process-building practice to support related analytic software to a larger professional services firm. More than a decade later I started JobCoachAmy, the roots of which started when I graduated from college and could not land a good job. It was a terrible and, I realized later, completely unnecessary time in my life. I always knew I wanted to become the resource I wish I had at that time and help others bridge what is now called the “preparedness gap.” The same thing happened again to me in my mid-career when I found myself a suddenly single Mom with a toddler. At the same time that I needed to keep a consulting-level salary, I had to stop traveling like a consultant. Once again, I became the resource I needed to figure it out. This experience strengthened my determination someday to build a career transition practice of my own.


What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Stay flexible and pivot when you need to – no one’s business plan is foolproof. I targeted parents and college seniors when I started my business, but most of the kids I talked to had confidence they could find jobs on their own. When they started to want proposals after a year or so of being stuck in a dead-end job, I realized I really should be marketing to grads who were already out of school and didn’t like the initial work they had found. That customer segment fueled my growth, but I only found them through trial and error.
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