Interview with Justine ReichmanWomen and Biz Magazine - Entrepreneurial WomanWomen and Business Magazine - Current Issue
...Interview with Justine Reichman
During this interview with Justine Reichman
, I learned that the business is a success, mainly due to her
innovative ideas, the niche she
targets, and the fact that there are many people struggling to go through career transitions. Justine Reichman got her undergraduate degree from American University, Washington DC, in Public Communications with a minor in Sociology.After graduation she worked in advertising and public relations.Ms. Reichman
created promotional campaigns for companies such as Olympus
and Procter & Gamble
, and then did independent business consulting, advising companies on how to market their businesses and how to start strategic alliances.
Last year, while at the movies, she
came up with the idea to create a networking group for people who are in a career transition.Two weeks later she
was hosting the first event.The Career Change Network
was launched in September 2003, and the number of events and members increase each month.It offers networking events for people interested in changing a career or industry, and speakers from different fields who can help people involved in a career change. Ms. Reichman's
goal has been to provide an informal setting where people can come together and gain insight from each other about different industries and careers.The business offers three levels of membership for a yearly fee, and those who aren't members can pay at the door and still attend the events.Because she
faced some career transitions in her
own life, Ms. Reichman
is knowledgeable about the tools and resources that people need to tap into, when considering what to do with their careers.She is not a career coach or a resume writer, but has created affiliations with several organizations and professionals that can give additional assistance through the Career Change Network.
As soon as she
created the concept, Ms. Reichman
jumped into it without writing a business plan.However, as the business began to grow, and as different ideas continue to develop, a business plan was devised.She
knows that while the market, the marketing strategy and the clients may change, and businesses go through different challenges, the ideal situation is to be constantly updating the business plan.Ms. Reichman keeps revising it to adapt and include new business opportunities and new strategies. Justine Reichman
"Focus, stay driven, and do not get distracted or you lose it all."Justine Reichman
Although in the beginning Ms. Reichman
considered having a partner, she
didn't find anyone committed and motivated enough to join her
project.However, she considers her web designer who created the website and its image a partner, since without him the business would not have blossomed.
The site traffic has increased exponentially, and recently the two added a feature to accept membership payments online.
Currently, Ms. Reichman
is expanding the business and creating corporate events.Last year she
partnered with Citi-Habitats with an event tailored towards people interested in careers in real estate.In the Spring she
is leading an event for City Sites.Ms. Reichman
is always looking for ways to grow her
business outside Manhattan, and in March she
is having the first international event in London.
I asked Ms. Reichman
thinks the best strategy is when a person wants to change careers, and her
response was to be confident to what one is doing, and to be an expert on something: "If you are a jack of all trades, people won't come to you.When you have a niche, people look to you for information.Excel within a niche and people look to you as a resource.The best thing is to identify what you want to do, and be an expert on it, and show people you can do it."
In sum, Ms. Reichman
considers herself lucky to have found her
dream career and to be able to achieve success and to grow the business at the right pace.Yet, she
points out that some people contact her
only to ask for favors, a job, a contact, without offering anything in return.She
believes in helping and sharing information with others, but she
is also concerned about protecting her
contacts, and suggests that you should be careful when sharing resources, and that you should surround yourself with people that you trust. Ms. Reichman's
final thoughts and advice: "Focus, stay driven, and do not get distracted or you lose it all."Career Change Network
hosted its first event in August 2003, and in January 2004 it's having five events.Visit www.careerchangenetwork.com for more information about Career Change Network
, Justine Reichman
, and the events.