Daring Tales of Corporate Escape — Nicole Witt

September 7th, 2008

Name: Nicole Witt
Previous (corporate) occupation: Strategic Consulting and Brand Management
Current occupation: Business Owner, Adoption Consultant
Website(s): and

1. Tell us a little bit about your corporate career path.

I spent four years in consulting, then earned my MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell. I always had thought about running my own business, and even took a lot of classes in entrepreneurship, but somehow found myself back at work for one large corporation after another. This time around, I was doing Brand Management and, although I was quite successful, I was terribly unhappy. I always knew deep-down that I was just not a corporate kind of person.

2. What made you decide to change careers?

After my husband and I went through a personal crisis with infertility, and ultimately became parents, I just couldn’t go back to what I had done before. It suddenly felt completely meaningless. Additionally, I couldn’t justify the control my career would have over my life in exchange for nothing but a paycheck. So I decided to follow my passion. I launched The Adoption Consultancy to help other couples struggling with infertility to become parents through the miracle of adoption.

3. What were your biggest career change challenges?

  • Everybody’s #1 – Money. Adjusting to the initial lower income was tough, but it just made it that much sweeter once I started making money again.
  • #2 – Fear and self-doubt. Another fairly common one, I believe. But I knew it was possible because other people were making a living in this field. I just kept telling myself, “If they can do it, I can do it.” It turns out I can!
  • #3 – Recreating my definition of success. This was a tough (and ongoing) one. In my previous world, success was defined by title, salary, office location, and lots of other corporate nonsense. Sometimes I struggle to remind myself that my definition of success is different now, and I have achieved it! When I’m wrestling with this one, it often helps to picture my kids telling their friends what I do. I’m so much more proud of them knowing that I help to build families, and that helps me come to grips with my lack of access to a corporate jet.

4. What are the best and worst things about your new career?

The best is that I love it! I jump out of bed in the mornings eager to get to work. I am pursuing my passion and my calling and am making a lasting difference in the world. There’s nothing better than talking to my clients right after they’ve become parents. Another wonderful aspect is the flexibility that my work provides. I bring my kids to school in the morning. I spend Wednesday afternoons with them. I’m home whenever they’re sick. And I never have to worry about missing a game or recital due to the whims of my boss!

The worst things are the rare times when an adoption doesn’t work out, sometimes dealing with difficult clients and having to pay for my own benefits.

5. What advice would you give to someone who feels stuck in an uninspiring job? Do you have any success secrets to share?

Take the leap! You can do it. Define what success means to you, what you need to do to get there, and start tackling it one step at a time. That’s the trick. You don’t have to do it all at once, but if you create a realistic plan and work it one step at a time, you WILL achieve your goals. There are ways around every obstacle that is out there. You NEVER want to look back on your life and think ‘what if.’ The time is now!

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