You could say that you are on a “career adventure” instead of a career path. Welcome to “Choose Your Own Adventure”! Our “career adventure” interview series charts the joys & challenges, and many different directions our career adventures can take us. Anything from career changes, working remotely, freelancing, contracting, self-employment, starting your own business, working on your own projects alongside your day job, having a side hustle or a portfolio career – all depending on what choices we make, what steps we choose to take, what opportunities or challenges that come our way in the most unlikely of places that help you to choose your own adventure.
We interview Global Executive Coach, Neelam Kaul, who tells us her journey from a career in finance to a 10-year career break to launching her own business and coaching others! Thank you, Neelam, for sharing your career adventures with us!
1. Tell us about yourself
I am a Global Corporate Trainer & Executive Coach. My background is Finance and Banking. I took an extended career break of 10 years after having my children then set up my business “Stressed In The City” a few years back. I work with professionals to help them overcome any career challenges and to position them to capitalise on their career opportunities.
I find the majority of the workforce is working hard but not always smart. I work with my clients to give them the edge to succeed in their professional and personal lives. This can be anything from productivity, negotiating, people management, self-awareness, networking, confidence in meetings, presentations, interviews and finding a voice just to name a few!
I run workshops at corporates and private members clubs in London. I also take part in many industry events and panel discussions.
2. What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a project with Durham University called Techup100 Women where we are upskilling 100 women to take up future roles in the Tech Industry. I am mentoring and coaching on the project. As a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador, I think it is so important to encourage women and young girls into the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths industries. I am also designing a few workshops in London as well as working with my one to one coaching clients.
3. Could you tell us about how your career adventure(s) started, about what experiences, challenges or opportunities you came across over the years that led you to choose your own adventure? Where has your career adventure taken you in the past leading you to where you are now?
My career adventure started in the Big Four firms in Corporate and Expatriate Tax. I had my first child then returned to work at UBS. After a year I looked for a part-time role but could not find something suitable. After a few months, I was expecting my second son.
After he was born, I took an extended 10-year career break.
It was not intentional to take that long, but I found that in the financial services industry 10-15 years ago there were not many flexible working or part time opportunities. My husband worked long hours so I needed something that would fit around my family life.
A few years ago, I decided to set up ” Stressed In The City” a global training and coaching company. One key benefit is that it works around my lifestyle and family life.
4. What past projects or anything that you have worked on spark joy for you when you look back at what you have worked on?
One of my key highlights in my career adventure was last year, I was working in the UAE for a technology company coaching 10 junior managers. The experience of working abroad and travelling solo was exciting!
5. How do you choose what to work on?
I choose work where I feel that I am the best fit. This is where I feel that my strengths and expertise are best put to good use. Also, projects where I care about the cause and the end result.
I work with both men and women. However, I tend to be drawn to work with many female led organisations and many STEM organisations. I find when you are passionate about what you work on then your motivation and drive is naturally high.
6. What advice, practical or otherwise, would you give to someone looking to start a career adventure similar to your own?
Firstly increase your self-awareness. Once you understand yourself, how you best work, your strengths and areas of development then you can articulate and leverage yourself much better.
Secondly, think about the factors that are important for you to have in your ideal career – learning, variety, flexibility, dealing with people, travel, etc.
You can then build and design your career around what is important for you. Invest in your personal development and growth as the benefits are long lasting.
7. Could you describe your day-to-day at “the office(s)”?
In the morning I check my emails, schedule one to one coaching calls, prepare content for workshops.
In the afternoon I usually spend some time reading and writing articles to publish on LinkedIn or for the various magazines I am a contribute to.
Also, I make time to attend networking events in the evening.
8. Where do you feel you work best and thrive the most?
I work best when I am being intellectually stimulated and when I am learning. It is very rewarding to see the impact I have with my clients, especially where I can make a difference through my bespoke coaching and mentoring programme. The benefits stay with my clients long after I have worked with them as I leave them with clarity, practical tools and tips.
I work best in collaborative environments where I can discuss, contribute, share and exchange ideas. I love being part of panel discussions and roundtable events.
I like corporate and academic environments such as the city, libraries and universities. I also thrive when working with a variety of people from different industries and backgrounds.
9. What inspires and drives you every day?
I am driven by sharing knowledge and making an impact. I am motivated by the ripple effect of the work I do. Knowing that the tips, tools and techniques I teach my clients will then be shared with their teams, peers, friends and family. This makes a difference to their personal and professional development.
10. What advice would you give to your younger self, knowing what you know now?
Follow your intuition and learn to tune into your innate wisdom. Follow your gut feeling. Be flexible, adaptable and open minded. You don’t have to have everything figured out and planned perfectly. Develop your courage, always do things that are outside your comfort zone as that is where the growth lies. Have some blind faith. Don’t follow the crowd. Watch your habits. Make personal development and growth a priority.
To find out more about Neelam and her work you can visit her website Stressed In The City here!
Feel free to contact us at Project Anywhere if you have any questions about any of our career adventure stories. Come back soon to read more career adventures! Contact us here if you’d like to be featured here to share your own career adventures story or if you would like to write a guest blog for Project Anywhere.