Ebony Joyce knows what it’s like to feel stuck in a career. After graduating from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis with a degree in organizational leadership, Joyce landed a job at one of the largest aerospace and defense manufacturers in the world. The position contained nearly everything a recent graduate would want, including the opportunity to travel and make an impact. Still, two years later she found herself feeling both lost and miserable.
After nine years of pursuing new opportunities that didn’t prove satisfying, Joyce took matters into her own hands and co-founded her company, Next Level Career Services. Today, the career coach and talent development consultant uses her experiences to help others find fulfilling work, too.
We grabbed some time on Joyce’s calendar to talk all things career coaching, founding your own business, and the businesswoman she admires most.
Maven superpower: Connecting people. I like to talk to people and really understand more about them and find other people within my network that I can connect them to.
Tell us more about why you started Next Level Career Services.
I noticed a gap in the market when it came to helping women and other underrepresented populations with their job search. I think a lot of the time, they don’t have or utilize their networks in their job search strategies the way that men do. So, for example, a man will apply for a position if he meets 60% of the qualifications, where women tend to feel like they have to meet 100% of everything before deciding to apply. And because I have been fortunate to have job success throughout my career, I realized that everyone wasn’t as fortunate. I wanted to create something that allowed me to help bust the myths about the job search strategy and create clarity and road maps for women and other groups.
Who needs a career coach?
Everyone! Everyone needs a coach because your personal and your professional life are very intertwined. I think a lot of times, coaching is something that we’ve seen really take off full-steam ahead. But I think that previously, career coaching was one of those things that you thought you had to be in the C-suite to be able to obtain or you had to be in senior-level management to obtain. It’s good for people to really know that you can obtain a career coach or mentor at any level in your career. It’s nice to be able to provide access to everyone, whether that means the person in the C-suite or the frontline worker who inspires them to do something with their professional life. I think that everyone needs guidance and support and accountability.
What are the measurable benefits of hiring a career coach?
If you’re in a career search, it helps to accelerate your success. I think a lot of times people feel like they’re stuck, and they don’t know how to get unstuck. Having a coach helps accelerate that process. It also gives you a clear strategy and a road map to achieving your goals. It helps you become more confident in owning who you are as a person and as a professional.
What qualities should people look for when choosing a career coach?
Training. What is their own career story and journey? What type of training they have in terms of education, certification, continuing education. The coaching industry in general isn’t very regulated so you have to do your research.
Personality traits. Is this person a good personality fit? Is this someone you want to sit and have coffee with? Check out their social media and free resources.
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What job hunting mistakes are people still making in 2021?
I think the first mistake is people just aren’t getting clear on what it is that they want to do. And not only what they want to do, but who they want to do it for. I think that we go into jobs without really investigating and doing the research of what that really entails. The second thing would be utilizing our networks. People like to believe that job searching and working in general is a solo sport. A lot of times when people do ask for help, it’s out of desperation and then they end up taking positions that they wouldn’t have otherwise accepted but now they’re in this crunch, so they feel like they don’t have any other choice, and you always have a choice.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you give people who are still trying to find a career that they enjoy?
Get clear on your personal values first. Once you’re clear on what you want and who you are, you won’t have to settle or compromise.
Which businesswoman did you look up to when you founded your company?
Janice Bryant Howroyd. She’s the first African American woman to run a billion-dollar business. She has a staffing agency and does about $3 billion in revenue. I would say she’s definitely been a role model and her work ethic has been supreme.
What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
I love all things antique and vintage, this includes clothes!
You started your own business. What’s something that’s often overlooked when starting a business from scratch?
The amount of effort it will take. Most people underestimate the amount of time and effort that is required to reach their business goal.
What are some of your favorite things to do in the city on weekends?
I love to support locally owned restaurants and businesses. On Saturday mornings I love to attend the farmers market in Broad Ripple.
Samantha Kupiainen is a regular Indy Maven contributor.
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