Career coach offers lessons she learned along the way
By David Sharos For The Sun September 9, 2011 1:40PM
Lisle resident Jan Marino, 62, founded in 2003 High Gain Companies, a career management-personal branding company that helps people looking for work learn how to market themselves and redefine who they are. | Submitted
Updated: November 30, 2011 12:31AM
Lisle resident Jan Marino, 62, is among the thousands who have had to find other means of employment. Companies repeatedly forced her into the transition mode throughout her professional life. With so much experience in reinventing herself, Marino now leads a company that helps others do the same.
In 2003, Marino founded High Gain Companies, a career management, personal branding company that helps people looking for work learn to market and redefine themselves.
“People who have been laid off and looking for work often don’t know how to brand themselves and often need a lot of time before they are able to get that next job again,” Marino said. “One of the things I try to do is help people become more effective about how to get employers to notice them and cut down on the time the process of getting that next job can sometimes take.”
Expert in transition
Marino attended Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing. Her employment profile includes working around the country, including stints in California, Ohio and Chicago. From 1991 to 1994, she worked for Octel Network Services in Milpitas, Calif., where she helped coordinate voice messaging services for Fortune 500 clients. From there, it was on to Cincinnati Microwave in Ohio where Marino worked as vice president and the new product project manager until 1996. Then she moved to Chicago and the Bank of America as a telecommunication manager. She remained until 2003 when she launched High Gain.
“I’ve spent 25 years overall in the corporate setting and felt that with so many changes and jobs, I was ahead of the curve in terms of knowing how to brand myself, and now I teach others how to do that,” Marino said. “Over the years, I became an expert on how to transition.”
Marino said the demographic most hit by the current job crisis is men older than 40 and that many fail to understand the importance of social networking as well as how to prepare resumes. In addition, many fail to understand their own self worth.
“I try to have my clients draft value statements, because I’ll ask them about why they are valuable in terms of getting hired by a company, and the fact is — they can’t tell me,” she said. “I’ll ask people why someone should hire them, and they can’t answer. The goal is to groom these people and help make them more marketable.”
Marino said that she works with anywhere from 20 to 30 clients a month. One of her success stories is Chicago resident Vicki Znavor, who works with Northern Trust Bank in human resources as the performance management program manager.
“I had been working with the Sara Lee Company for 26 years and had decided to leave, but when you move on from a job that you’ve had so long, you feel like you are losing a part of yourself in the letting go,” Znavor said. “I wanted to reinvent myself and my career, and Jan got me to focus on thinking about what I wanted, not what I didn’t want to give up.
“She helped me craft my future and put down in concrete terms what I wanted. I actually selected the company, the people I wanted to work with, and the location — and I wound up getting it all.”
Today, Marino lives in Lisle with her husband, a dog and a cat, and a family of raccoons she said has moved in somewhere in the backyard.
She says at least half her clients come from Naperville.
Marino is also the author of a book called, “Take Back Your Career,” published by Writers of the Roundtable Press.
“I’ve been downsized, oversized, right sized and undersized, so I know how career transitions can affect people’s lives,” Marino said. “Career coaching can really help people — especially these days when you have to learn how to sell yourself.”