What is your name, age, and location?
My name is Ora Shtull. I’m 51 and live in the best city on earth – New York.
What is your profession?
I’m an Executive Coach. I help senior executives enhance their Leadership Presence – the ability to engage, connect, and influence – so that they thrive professionally, get promoted, and make successful transitions. I’m also the author of The Glass Elevator: A Guide to Leadership Presence for Women on the Rise, a book that helps women master the skills that will propel them upward.
What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?
What was your first job?
In high school, I checked inventory in a dancewear factory and mostly what I remember is counting the minutes until I could clock out.
Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?
When I was a young professional in my first job in marketing, I had very little interest in the product, price, placement, or promotion, but I was fascinated by the people. I focused not on the numbers, much to the dismay of my boss, but on how people communicated and led successfully in the workplace. Four hours after my boss fired me, I landed my first position in professional development, which remains my passion and calling years later.
Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?
Being an Executive Coach, I get continually rewarded by my executive clients. When I first meet them, they are often overwhelmed, confused, stretched, frustrated, and even depressed. I witness how the power of spirit, focus, and support can transform a person into someone who’s soaring with a smile.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?
Working with both men and women, being a female coach often feels like a blessing. A man instinctually welcomes the attentiveness and attractiveness of a woman. A woman cherishes the deep understanding of her unique challenges that another woman offers.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?
Being a young professional woman was often challenging. I worked mighty hard to establish my credibility and expertise with older men. I’ve actually become grateful for my wrinkles and grey strands (well, on some days, anyway!).
Please say a few words about your experience with the work-life balance.
I have a husband and 3 kids. I have never viewed work and life as two discrete things that needed to be evenly balanced. Rather, work has always been one wonderful facet of my life. In making choices, I focused on what made me happy because happy people make happy wives, mothers, and professionals. I also always reflected on what messages my choices would send to my children, which was an awesome guide.
Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?
I come from a line of strong American women. My Grandma Flora, born in Brooklyn at the turn of the century, was the belle of many a twenties’ ball. And she always worked as a statistical stenographer in a bank, making more money than my Grandpa Nat, who was a gas station attendant. My mother Rita chose a career in education and moved her way up from teacher to administrator. She too made more money than my father, a clergyman. I feel blessed by both my environment and my legacy.
If you could give one piece of advice to a woman starting out in your field, what would it be?
Discover your gifts and be generous with them.
Ora’s website: oracoaching.com
Follow Ora on Twitter: @CoachOra
– Interview by Elena Rossini
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