Coach DQ Case Study: Jenna Lavery


After years of working in the hospitality industry, Jenna Lavery was ready for a change of pace.

“I was working in membership and catering sales for a country club,” says Jenna. “I’d always worked in the hospitality industry, but my earning potential in the field wasn’t what I wanted it to be.  I’d been trying for a while to figure out what I wanted to do with my career, but I found myself without a clear picture of the direction I wanted to take.”

When she called Coach DQ in November of 2011, Jenna knew that she wanted to make more money, and work in a position with more complexity and responsibility. “I knew I could accept another, similar position, and make a little more money—but I wanted to be sure I was following a path I was passionate about, and I wasn’t sure that the hospitality industry was it.”

Two years prior to her first call to Coach DQ, Jenna met Bianca de la Garza, a popular reporter for Boston’s FOX 25 news station. “I thought I might want to do what she does,” Jenna says. “So she gave me her card. After a phone conversation, though, I decided I didn’t want to go that route. She told me, ‘Maybe you should work with a coach.’” Ms. de la Garza gave Jenna Coach DQ’s contact information, but it wasn’t until things were at a tipping point that Jenna took the leap.

“I was immobilized by fear of the unknown, so I kept putting off making that call to Dawn. But it got to the point where I had accepted all the responsibilities I could at the country club, and I was tapped out at my salary level. There was literally nowhere else for me to go.”

When it came to her work with Coach DQ, Jenna says, clarity and accountability were at the core of their process. “Dawn really helped me become clear around what I wanted to do. At first, I was so unsure about what I really wanted that it became overwhelming. She was great at asking the questions that would point me in the right direction.”

Dawn also offered her expertise in the job search process. “I don’t know if I would have been able to go through this process, and learn as much as I did, on my own,” says Jenna.  “I had never gone through the process before, but now, moving forward in my life, I’ll be able to take the skills and activities we used in my job search and apply them to many different areas. I didn’t just learn job skills; I learned life skills!”

Having an accountability partner was equally important to Jenna. “I was working crazy hours at my current job, so putting aside time each day to commit to my job search was tough. The last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was more work! I was being challenged to continue to invest in myself, knowing that although the process was rather long it would eventually pay off.”

By the conclusion of her time with Coach DQ, Jenna had come to a number of key realizations. First, although she wanted to remain in sales, the product or service she was selling was ultimately less important to her than the company she was working for. “Dawn helped me realize that I could get my creative fuel from other areas of my life. I didn’t need to stay in hospitality to feel fulfilled. What I really needed from my new position was growth potential, a positive work environment, and a great internal support network.”

When asked why she would recommend Coach DQ’s coaching services to friends and colleagues, Jenna says: “I think a lot of people fall into jobs and careers because of what’s offered to them, not because those jobs are necessarily what they’re called to do. I think if you’re ambitious, having some passion for what you do is important, and why go to a job every day that you don’t love? Dawn can help you find what you love, and help you create a plan to include that in your professional life.”

In July 2012, Jenna accepted a position as an account manager, completely switching industries to move into an outside sales role. Not only did Coach DQ assist her throughout the interview process, she helped to design a negotiation strategy which landed Jenna a higher offer. “I can’t say enough about Dawn, and about the whole process,” Jenna says. “I feel for the first time in a long time that I have room to move forward in my career!”