Raise Up Extraordinary Women: J.T. O’Donnell

J.T. O’Donnell

For the month of December, I’ll be shining light each day on some extraordinary women I know. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. These are bold, beautiful, brave women — artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses.

Jeanine Tanner “J.T.” O’Donnell is a career strategist and workplace consultant who helps workers of all ages find greater professional satisfaction. Unlike other advisers, O’Donnell works with both individual clients and corporations, giving her access to emerging workforce trends. A graduate of Tufts University with a degree in Engineering Psychology, she has 18+ years of experience, managing, training and coaching people of all ages on a wide variety of career topics. O’Donnell’s work has been cited in dozens of major national publications including Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Career Advice from J.T. O’Donnell

In 2008, she founded the career advice site, WorkItDaily.com which gets over 1M+ visitors monthly. In 2012, O’Donnell was invited to be part of an exclusive group of CEOs and executives who blog for Linkedin. She currently has 1.9M+ followers from around the world and was named one of the top 60 CEOs on Social Media. O’Donnell’s book, CAREEREALISM: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career, outlines her highly career-coaching methodology. She also works with Dale Dauten to write the career advice column “JT & Dale Talk Jobs,” a nationally syndicated column that appears in more than 130 newspapers, reaching 6+ million households weekly. When she’s not working, one of O’Donnell’s favorite hobbies is being a fitness instructor. With more than 700 hours of group fitness instruction, she enjoys helping others have fun while getting fit. O’Donnell is married, has two children and lives in New England where she freezes all winter long.

1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?”  As a kid, I wanted to be a horse trainer and a marine biologist who trained dolphins. Later on, I wanted to be a vet. Until I spent a day with a vet and saw him do cat surgery. After that, I was lost. No really career aspirations once I turned 14!

2. What makes you the most proud of yourself?  I’m most proud when I know I’ve made a difference in people’s lives. Particularly, with respect to understanding how to build a satisfying career. I feel it’s my mission in life to educate people on the new realities of job search and career development. All the things they don’t teach you in school. If I can help people feel less lost and more confident in their abilities to find career satisfaction on their own terms, then I’m proud.

3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength?  For me, darkness has always been about family sadness in my life. As the oldest child, I’ve always felt responsible for all family members and their struggles. I believe in putting family first, and have been tested many, many times with this. I am an unapologetically ambitious person with big dreams. My career and business have suffered repeatedly over the last 15 years as a result. I’ve had to pass on opportunities, scale back my ambitions, and cope with incredible stress while owning a company for the sake of putting family first. That said, I still believe in it and wouldn’t change a thing. I know when I die I will look back and never regret the choice to put family first.

J.T. and her family visiting llamas

4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?  On a treadmill listening to business podcasts or watching inspirational YouTube videos. On a ski slope in Maine in the winter, or hiking in Maine in the summer. Or, writing articles about career topics. You never know with me!

5. What makes you smile the most?  Seeing my husband and daughters safe and happy. When I know they are joyful and at peace, I am the most happy. I need to know they are okay for me to feel capable of doing my best work in life. 

Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self?  I would tell my younger self to not assume people in positions higher than me, or more educated than me have the answers. For the longest time, I thought I couldn’t build a $100M company because I didn’t have an MBA and I wasn’t well-connected or living in NYC or Silicon Valley. Now, I realize that’s all rubbish. Passion, hard work, and never, EVER giving up is what it takes. I believe in the name of my company, “Work It Daily” – in doing so, I don’t have failure, I have learning experiences that I work through and keep pushing forward until I get results. Once I realized that, I knew I could build the company I wanted and change the world.  As long as I’m here, I can keep going after my dream, and that’s what I’m doing!

Today’s #OneGoodThing is the honor of sharing this extraordinary woman and the most transformative career coach I’ve ever worked with, J.T. O’Donnell, with all of you! Working with J.T. changed the way I thought about my own life and work experiences. Most critically, she helped me change the way I talk to myself, cutting back on damaging negative self-talk. I am a stronger, more resilient and strategic person because of what I learned from J.T. We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.

Day 365 of 365. And Day 1,461 in a row (here’s the first 366, & the following 365, & the third year of 365 good things)!

1 year ago today: 3 years of good things

2 years ago today: Laughing out 2017 and 365 Days of #OneGoodThing

3 year ago today: 366 Days of #OneGoodThing

6 years ago today: Peppermint Ice Cream Wars

7 years ago today: Happy New Year!

8 years ago today: The Dirty “U” Word

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