Jen Ryan’s move to Mastercard NYC in 2012 elevated her career in corporate Human Resources. The value in starting her own business Life First Coaching: Priceless!
We sat down with Jen over an Americano in the Flatiron District and asked her to share her story.
Jen, where were you born and educated in Australia?
I’m originally from Sydney, having grown up in the Hills district. Later I lived in Newtown, then Manly, which became home and is still my favorite place in the world. I trained as a nurse before moving into a career in corporate HR.
What did you do in Australia before arriving in the US?
I’ve spent more than twenty years in various corporate HR roles, including State Street for seven years, then Mastercard for ten years. I was originally with Mastercard in Sydney for four years before transferring to New York in 2012.
What brought you to the US?
I was very fortunate to be offered a role in Mastercard’s headquarters here in New York. I was originally thinking about a move to Singapore, but that didn’t seem challenging enough. So I reasoned that if I’m going to make a global move, why don’t I make it a big one. Go bold!
What inspired you to start Life First Coaching?
I decided to transition out of corporate work at the end of 2017 and was fortunate to afford to take a risk with this next chapter of my work life. I’ve always enjoyed the coaching aspect of HR and decided to build on that passion. It gave me the energy and drive to focus on building the business. My vision is to help others be the best they can be.
I really believe that we all have the creativity and resourcefulness to solve our challenges and often need help to see that clearly or be challenged to push harder for what we need in our work and personal lives. I enjoy seeing the powerful results that coaching can deliver for clients.
What is unique about Life First Coaching?
Having made the switch from corporate work life to my own business, I understand the challenges that it brings. As a result, I’m able to incorporate my corporate HR experience into my coaching practice, bringing a global perspective and an understanding of the challenges that come with moving to a new country and building a new life.
In addition, I believe it’s that more relaxed, though straight-talking & focused style that I (and most Aussies) have. Therapy is so popular here in the US; however, that’s not what we Aussies are usually about. That’s where coaching comes in. Coaching is not therapy; it’s about finding a way forward from where you might be stuck – for example, in your career or other aspects of your life.
What advice do you have for any Australians thinking of starting a business in the US?
Number one is to have a clear, strong vision of what you want to create and what your end goal will look like, then be very clear about how you will get there. There are many opportunities to break out of your mold and do what you truly want, be anything you want, in this city. However, many others do the same thing, so you have to be prepared for competition and very focused on your end goal. New York is also a great city to take thoughtful risks and stretch beyond your comfort zone. After all, I’d say that’s what most of us are looking for when we come here!
What unique quality does being an Australian bring to your business?
I have found that being authentic to who I am has been a point of difference. As I mentioned earlier, Australians are generally good at straight-talking, and this attitude resonates with my clients looking for their coach to be direct and clear with them. Seems obvious but not so common!
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