How She Built Career Contessa and Her Career on Her Own Terms with Founder Lauren McGoodwin

It’s time to make a power move with our guest Lauren McGoodwin!  Career Contessa’s CEO, #1 power move advocate, and has a life mission to help women build successful and fulfilling careers on their terms. Lauren launched Career Contessa in 2013 out of her master’s thesis project to close the gap in career development resources for women. Career Contessa now helps over 2 million women each year with their careers through content, online learning courses, and job listings.

Lauren graduated in 2009 and went to University in Oregon. After moving to LA she landed a job as an admin assistant, it was not her dream job and she didn’t feel excited with it at all. And it wasn’t until she got a random assignment at work to do some recruiting for the University which introduced her to recruiting. Those informational interviews were pivotal in the sense that it taught her a lot. She was able to use the information got from the questions and the answers people give her to learn what type of recruiter she wanted to be and what type of company she wanted to work for. 

When it comes to Job Search at the time, Lauren was just applying anything. But after those informational interviews, she became more specific, which she credited to the success of that job search which eventually leverage those into becoming a recruiter at Hulu, without any prior recruiting experience and she considered Hulu, one of those forks in the road kind of moment where everything changed because she started working for a company that she really enjoyed. 

Simultaneously she was finishing up her master’s program and she is about to write a thesis. She thought about the fact that she had just gone through very tumultuous, job search and soul search and thought that a lot of women may feel this way too. And so she wrote her thesis on Millennial Women and Career Resources and Career Contessa was the prototype from that thesis project.

She finished her Master’s in June of 2013, she had Career Contessa in June of 2013, and again using it a school project, while still working in Hulu as a recruiter. She hasn’t thought of what to do next and decided to maybe become a product manager after recruiting job. A colleague had advised her to just keep her website around. In 2014 she kept working on Career Contessa because she wasn’t sure what she was going to do with it. Taking the advice, she kept it around, and maybe she can leverage it into a new job opportunity. In late 2014 she left Hulu to work on it full time. So it’s interesting how that advice stuck with her and, and made her to eventually pull the trigger to leave Hulu, even though she loved that job.

While working as a recruiter for Hulu, she saw a consistent theme that women everywhere seemed to have reached the goals they’d set, even exceeded them, only to find themselves exceedingly unhappy. Across the board, the same questions came up. So Lauren decided to answer these questions with Career Contessa. From this journey of helping women in their careers, she decided to compile all of her lessons learned into her new book, Power Moves. In Power Moves, Lauren answers those career sabotaging questions and shares her insights and the secret to building a purposeful career. 

In this episode you will…

  • Learn that it’s not always a clear start
  • Be able to use your job experience to start your own
  • Find out the reality of starting a business that success is not overnight
  • Discover the importance of long term consistency and patience
  • Start taking that power move


“You can’t compare your apples to someone else’s oranges.”

“And I got this advice when I was first starting out, if you’re not going to spend five years on it, don’t spend five minutes on it. And at the time, I was like, are you crazy if I’m doing this for five years, and this hasn’t you know, done this and this and this, I had this whole laundry list like I’m out. And, but you learn so much as you go and you realize that like, if you were to speed it up, it would take, you know, some other resource or it’s not real, you know, real growth like, can you run a gazillion Facebook ads and do something of course but you know, the question would be, is that real growth?”

“The difference between now and when I first started is I sort of… I feel like I suffered from like, I would just chase the shiny object like I would see something, I would have this idea and then I would just run with it. And now I’m way more thoughtful I pause before I do stuff, I kind of run everything through the like, well, this is who we are at Career Contessa, this is what we do. And if it fits into that, maybe explore it more.”


Career Contessa



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