3 Lessons from switching my career in 2021
For Sophia Wronsky, change was the only constant of 2021. She moved across the country, switched jobs, and changed industry. Here she joins Propel's End Of Year Reflections to share the challenges and lessons in finding and starting her role as Director of Strategic Initiatives at metabolic health startup, Calibrate.
Previously an Operations leader in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sophia Wronsky is now a New York-based Director of Strategic Initiatives at Calibrate – a metabolic health company on a mission to change the way the world treats weight. Since launching in mid-2020, Calibrate has grown rapidly, acquiring 10,000 members and hiring 500 employees in just 18 months.
As part of our End Of Year Reflections, we spoke with Sophia about the challenges and lessons won through changing her career in 2021. She shares her experiences as a leader in high growth startups.
In conversation with Sophia Wronsky
What challenges did your change in role bring?
Sophia: My role on the Strategic Initiatives team is to identify and incubate new business opportunities. One of the most exciting but biggest challenges in this role is constantly balancing the tension of what we can do today versus what we’ll need to do in 18 months to execute on these new opportunities successfully.
Not only do I need to sell these new ventures externally with partners, I also need to sell the internal product, marketing, and operations teams on changes they need to make now but won’t realize the benefit of for at least a year.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned about switching careers?
Sophia: The last two years have been educational for me both personally and professionally. The isolation of the pandemic forced me to reflect on what I truly care about and what sort of organization I want to work in. That meant a major shift in industry, role, and geography. In this transition I learned the value of three things in my life: my intuition, my coaches, and my broader network.
On the value of intuition
Early in the career change process I had a job offer that just didn’t feel right even though it aligned with a lot of my criteria. I couldn’t articulate why but I felt strongly that it was not the opportunity for me. As I dug deeper I realized I needed to rethink my criteria entirely.
On the value of coaching
Having a coach as a neutral third party helped me answer questions about myself that I would not have answered on my own. I highly recommend that anyone looking for a change thinks about how they can use a coach or have a contact stand in to help them get there.
On the value of a strong network
My network was incredibly valuable. The support of mentors, friends, and communities like Propel helped me navigate different industries and opportunities effectively. Candidly, I had not paid much attention to growing and engaging my network in the past. 2021 highlighted the value of it, and I’m looking forward to continuing to nurture it in 2022.
Happy Holidays Sophia! How does a high impact leader spend this time of year?
Sophia: I am looking forward to taking the time to relax and recharge over the holidays. I’ve found that I tend to work best in dedicated sprints so I am taking a few days off to spend with family and friends, followed by a few days working on specific creative projects.
Interested in more perspectives to inform your career change?
Ahead of the January-February hiring rush we've curated perspectives from Propellers who have taken the leap and are now succeeding at high growth startups. Begin with Aubrey Threadgill on getting into the career move mindset. Go deeper on the role of intuition in applying to new jobs with Rhiana Gademsky, and complement your reading with Elspeth Rollert on communicating career pivots to managers.
We're excited to continuing building on our collective knowledge. Message Esmé on Slack if you're currently navigating career change and want to share your experiences on The Propeller.
Did you know we are on Instagram? Watch our stories to reflect on 2021 with Propellers building new companies.