On Unpacking Your Abilities to Build Your Career and Start from Scratch with Carrie Collins

Updated: Sep 25

Carrie was a senior in college, went to a career fair, and came back panicked. "I thought, oh my god, I have no marketable skills," she recalls. Off she went to law school, practicing law for a very brief period of time. Later, Carrie was a lawyer at a small firm but quickly learned the job wasn’t for her. “I cannot keep track of my time in 6-minute increments for the rest of my life,” she recalls thinking.


Today, Carrie is the Chief Advancement and Strategic Planning Officer of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and the founder of H.O.W., a business consulting firm. Very far from the "Carrie at the career fair" “Carrie the clock-watcher”.


How did you build the New You?

"When I decided to leave the law firm, I accessed every tool I had. I get things done, and I show results—no matter what I’m doing. As a lawyer, the work is very transactional, as that's how you’re measured, but in my life, I was both a planner and super-efficient, and I realized I could use all those skills at a new job. I'm a quick study, so I wasn't afraid to go after a job that I only had a partial background in, and the rest I researched and trusted my ideas and instincts. Gotta love Google!"

"Looking back, I had the opposite of imposter syndrome. I embraced the "fake it ‘til you make it" approach, knowing exactly what I can do and haven’t yet learned to do, and I worked a lot behind the scenes to figure things out.

Today, I know my superpower is taking a lot of information, synthesizing it, and building a new story."

Carrie's next career move was to be the Executive Director, Planned Giving, at Duquesne University. "I was responsible for the deferred giving program. They were looking for a lawyer who understood wills and estate planning, and I was very comfortable speaking to donors about including a donation to the university in their will." But unlike at the law firm, where client hours are billed, Carrie's efficiency paid off. "I could talk to hundreds of donors, build new programming, and grow the program quickly—without having to worry about reporting every minute of time."


I speak to many that work hard behind the scenes to close gaps and fit into the new job they are after. It sounds to me like you need to be super resilient.

"For me, resilience is having trusted advisors. People like my former boss, my husband, my ‘work wife,’ and members of Chief".

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