After spending 15 years in healthcare, Steve Toniatti, a 2003 marketing graduate, decided to make a mid-career industry switch and pursue a path in sustainability, specifically in the waste reduction and recycling space. Executive career coaching offered by Penn State Smeal’s Alumni Career Services supported Toniatti with personalized strategic guidance and resources to help make this transition successful.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have started my career in healthcare operations, learning how to manage dynamic, diverse teams and execute strategy in a fast-paced, complex environment,” he says. 

Toniatti wanted to focus the next phase of his career on solving problems and working on issues such as circular supply chain designs, which help eliminate material waste — something he was passionate about. 

“My executive career coach helped rebrand my transferrable skills, provided guidance on networking strategies, and offered a wealth of resources to help me tactically execute on my career vision and move toward my goal,” Toniatti says. “Thanks to her help, I secured a position with one of my top target organizations in a matter of months and am energized to be working on my passion.”

Smeal Alumni Career Services offers coaching to support experienced professionals with actionable insights for self-clarity and visioning, rebranding, networking, strategy, interview preparation, and more. 

According to Jennifer Nicholas, assistant director of Alumni Career Services, the 2020s thus far have seen people pursue employment with companies whose corporate values were more closely aligned with their own personal values. 

She says that job candidates and employers are both looking to “make a difference.” 

“As employers place a higher priority on things like sustainability or diversity, they’re creating custom metrics to measure their progress. They want candidates who stand out not only with in-demand skills and quantified accomplishments but have a genuine alignment with their organizational mission,” she says. 

Nicholas, who manages Smeal’s alumni career coaching program, says coaches also refresh job seekers on the latest practices and give the busy professional space to explore thinking, reach authentic representation, and achieve goals. “For example, in an age of no-more anonymity, coaches believe that crafting a strong LinkedIn profile can help publicly define a leadership narrative with a greater sense of purpose,” she says.

“Executive career coaching clients routinely demonstrate agility, optimizing their digital presence and galvanizing resources. Meanwhile, they lean toward interests and values for the best long-term fit, personally and professionally.”

– Anne Louise Cropp

“Thanks to her help, I secured a position with one of my top target organizations in a matter of months and am energized to be working on my passion.”