Corporate IT to Youth Education Takes a Leap of Faith: Leah’s Story
When Leah Phelps started her job search, she was done with corporate environments. “I was tired of the rat race and the stress. My former company went through a few layoffs. I was there 25 years and didn’t feel secure in my role. I kept wondering if I would be next.”
She served as a senior data analyst at a technology firm but contemplated making a career change for two years. Leah made a great salary and had ample time off, which made it hard to walk away and pursue more meaningful work.
“God was really working on my heart during this time,” says Leah. “If I had received good career advice in high school, I would have pursued the education field. My career path took me in a different direction, yet I always thought about working with children.”
Leah was called into a meeting at the office. Her time had come. “Honestly, it was a relief. It pushed me to get on with my life and finally pursue something I really wanted to do,” comments Leah. People asked her if she was upset about losing her job. “I would tell them, ‘I haven’t slept better in years!’ It was a great way for me to share my faith because I had a sense of peace about the situation.”
During her outplacement program with IMPACT Group, Leah worked with Phil Sterner, a senior career transition coach, to launch her job search. “He let me work at my own pace during the program,” says Leah. “I was impressed by the amount of resources at my fingertips.” Phil had her complete the My Skills Inventory Assessment to determine what direction she should take her career. “That was very helpful. It opened my eyes to the type of role I wanted.”
As Leah and Phil developed an honest and open relationship, she shared her desire to work with children. Phil originally prepared Leah for a corporate job search. Once she decided to follow her passion, he tailored his coaching to best prepare her for a career change.
Leah saw an opening for an Assistant Director, Child Enrichment Ministry position in her church newsletter. “The moment I read the description, I knew it was my job.” She interviewed for the role a few weeks after losing her corporate position. The interview only lasted 20 minutes. “Afterward, they told me I ‘wowed’ them with my answers. That’s why it was such a short meeting.” Just like Leah, they knew she was the right person for the position immediately.
“Phil told me interviewers can tell when someone is speaking from the heart,” says Leah. “He believes that is what blew them away since they could see my passion.” Leah was excited to share the news with Phil once she accepted the job offer. “It felt like I was talking to my dad when I told him I got the job! He was so thrilled for me.”
Leah has been in her new role for a few months, and she loves every minute of it. “I leave work happy every day. I’m exhausted from working with the kids, but I always feel fulfilled!” Leah hopes others are brave enough to pursue a new path if their current career no longer sparks joy for them. “It’s frightening to make a change, especially if you’ve been with the same company for many years. Now that I’m doing what I love, I wish I would have made the change years ago,” she comments. “I encourage others to really examine what makes them happy and fulfilled. It’s never too late to do what you really want to do.”
At IMPACT Group, we view times of change as times of opportunity. It brings us great joy to live out our mission – to make a positive impact one relationship at a time – while empowering people like Leah to discover their passions during career transitions.