Case Studies - Mid-Career Changers



“You know when something’s right and you just feel it? It’s like that.” – Melinda, 38

Melinda discovered that the right career change can take you from a job you do well to a job that you love, that fills your dreams and takes you closer to life satisfaction.

Melinda’s job in the medical industry had lost its luster – and she had lost her inspiration for working there. She knew she needed a change, but didn’t know how to go about it. 

“I thought I’d be able to network and do informational interviews to make a transition,” Melinda said. “I thought I’d be able to figure out a good role for me.

As Melinda explains it, Marianne drilled into the details of “me” and then fed back a positive, actionable picture of her strengths, weaknesses, and areas to watch out for. 

“Then she walked me through how to make a career out of all of it,” Melinda said. “She pointed out what would and what wouldn’t work. She set great parameters.” The key, Melinda said, was Marianne’s confirming all along the way that Melinda agreed with the conclusions they were reaching in their work together. It had to feel right to Melinda, personally and professionally.

Understanding that she was best served by leveraging her marketing background, Melinda converted leads to interview and interviews to job offers, within 90 days transitioning to a parallel position in the art world, which she had a passion for. “Suddenly, I felt very comfortable in my own skin,” Melinda said.

“Today I’m great. I work in an area where I know how to do 80% of the work but am challenged to learn in the other 20%, which is perfect for me.”

The move met two of Melinda’s immediate goals – a shorter commute and better work/life balance – while the third, maintaining her financial standing, will take a little time to recover. But six months in, Melinda was promoted to manager of her team, was asked to join the management training program, and in six more months will take on another major regional office.



“With each session, I felt greater and greater clarity. I left feeling buoyed and courageous. (Marianne) is a very tactful, respectful guide.” – Wendy, 50

Wendy found that her job didn’t have to be everything in her life for her to be happy.

A television reporter for many years, by 50 Wendy had established her own consulting company, honing executives’ presentation skills. “But I’d never identified with my consulting work,” Wendy said. “I loved production.” Wendy knew that her consulting generated income, but she was drawn to production for personal fulfillment. “I was at a crossroads,” she said. “I felt stuck.” 

Optima helped Wendy find her way to clarity and balance.

With Optima, Wendy reconfirmed what she was best at – writing, editing and researching – and tapped into ideas that held meaning for her – things like achievement, discovery, and storytelling. 

Soon after, Wendy created an umbrella production company, which also became home to her consulting business. She then joined a nascent not-for-profit and produced her first independent film, a documentary, which was released in 2008. 

“I attribute this directly to my work with Marianne,” Wendy said. “It almost hadn’t occurred to me until I was working with her.”

Today, Wendy doesn’t feel pressure to be one thing or another. “What I learned was that I didn’t have to get what I need from work 100%,” she said. “I’ve put my consulting business in the right place in my head and heart. Now, I can lean on (consulting) or (filmmaking), and still have my perspective intact.”