Episode 46: Helping Black Women Navigate Transitions, Setbacks and Entrepreneurship To Build Epic Careers

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! This week, I spoke with Kanika Tolver, IT professional and founder and CEO of Career Rehab. Through her career coaching business, Kanika helps students, professionals, and retirees transform their careers via 1-on-1 services as well as events, webinars, and digital resources. She’s also the author of Life Rehab: Don’t Overdose on Pain, People, and Power. Kanika and I will be discussing different strategies for Black women and other underrepresented groups to set themselves up for career success, how to navigate career setbacks, and so much more.

Career Rehab grew over the last four years as Kanika noticed that many of the women and minorities in her community weren’t getting the jobs and salaries they deserved. As part of her desire to share her knowledge, she began coaching people on resume building, career branding, job interview techniques, and job search strategies — all of which are now primary services in her business. While the bulk of her clients are in the DC area, she also offers virtual career coaching to people all over the US. Having recently started a new project management role, she goes into detail about how she approaches her first 90 days, and the importance of developing relationships with her team members beyond that.

Kanika acknowledges that the entrepreneurial path can be a difficult one, especially for women of color, who often face significant challenges in securing funding. With that in mind, her advice for women of color considering entrepreneurship is practical and multifaceted. She recommends building up savings before striking out on this path, especially for women with families and mortgages to consider. During this time, however, women can continue to build their brands and clientele while working their traditional jobs. “Leverage the career you’re in, for the business that you want to make. So many skills will be transferable, so be mindful of that. Ask yourself, what do I do every day that I could sell, or build a product off of?”

When it comes to career setbacks, Kanika suggests looking at jobs as relationships, even framing parts of her own journey as “career heartbreaks.” She shares some of her own experiences in this area, from pitching her book, to staying in a job she disliked for five years. While setbacks, failure, and hearing no are all common, Kanika has this to say to anyone in a toxic job relationship: “Please don’t stay. Don’t feel bad every day for eight hours. You’re worth so much more than feeling like you have to be miserable for a paycheck.” She also encourages people to seek other professionals in their industry for sound advice.

Kanika, thank you so much for sharing your keen insights on the show this week. Thank you also to everyone out there listening, reviewing, and sharing the show. See you next week!


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