We had the good fortune of connecting with Bill Benoist and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bill, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
In 2009, I made the decision to go back to school for a master’s degree.
I was 50 and although I did not need the degree for my job, it was something I had always wanted to accomplish.
I decided on a degree in Leadership. I was an avid reader of leadership and management books and often wondered what gave authors the right to consider themselves experts in the field.
I already had an undergraduate degree in management. What did they know that I did not know?
About three quarters through the program, one of the classes was on executive coaching. Up until that time, coaching to me meant little league or basketball.
Not only did I fall in love with that course, but I also soon realized coaching was what I wanted to do as an encore career.
I was working as a vice president in technology and although I enjoyed the work, I knew I did not want to be working in the field when I was 60.
After graduating with my degree in leadership, I enrolled in an 18-month coaching program and became a certified coach.
In 2012, I started a part-time coaching practice working with clients after hours and on the weekends.
In 2014, the company I had been working for went public and my job was no longer something I enjoyed.
After 18 years, I made the decision to step away early from my position as a vice president in technology and take my practice full-time.
It was a risk, but one I have never regretted.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a career strategist and executive coach, I work with professionals in mid-to-late career. I like to say I help them find jobs that fuel their passion rather than sapping it.
Most career coaching is focused on youth and helping young people land their first jobs. Individuals in mid-to-late career have different challenges.
Besides facing age discrimination, many are behind the times when it comes to resume formats, social media platforms, and job search strategies.
In my practice, I help these individuals create professional resumes with impact and purpose that makes them stand out and not get stuck in the applicant tracking systems.
I show them how to create LinkedIn profiles that work for them 24/7. With more than 75% of recruiters now turning to LinkedIn to search for candidates, this is a crucial resource they need to leverage.
And finally, I help them understand the psychology of the interview and how to confidently answer the most difficult interview questions.
I offer several different resources for my clients. Besides 1:1 private coaching, I have premium online courses, a free master class on my website, and a YouTube channel with more than 200 career tips and strategies.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There is so many things to do here in Silicon Valley and the surrounding areas. I am definitely a wine connoisseur and this area makes some of the best wines in the world. So one of the first stops would have to be wine tasting in nearby Livermore for some excellent Zinfandels. Another place that can take one’s breath away are the formal gardens of Filoli Estates in Woodside. Of course, no trip would be complete without a visit to iconic San Francisco with lunch or dinner along Pier 39.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be where I am today without the support and encouragement of my wife Rosalie and daughters Nicole and Alyssa. However, I will also be forever grateful to my former manager and colleagues of 18 years, Rick Peltz, Brian Chang and Tina Stauffer Stepping away from a full-time position in Corporate America to follow a dream is not for the faint hearted. Although upset I was leaving the team, these three individuals never doubted my decision. Six years later, we continue to remain best of friends.