Leveraging old skills for corporate success


David sought out Jody Michael Associates to test a dream that had been nagging him for quite a while. For the previous 12 years, he had worked in the men’s retail clothing department in a few high-end signature stores along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. While he had earned one promotion to the position of department manager, he had never surpassed $40,000 per year.

Every day, David interacted with professional and executive men as he put together their wardrobes. He envied them. He didn’t want to dress executives — he wanted to be one. For years, David wondered what his customers had that he did not. On the surface, David only lacked a college degree.


After two weeks of career coaching, Jody Michael assessed that David lacked very little. He was intelligent, articulate and politically savvy — all attributes that prepared him for the business world. Through a series of immersion techniques, JMA replaced David’s nagging feeling of underemployment with a confidence that compelled him to test his skills. This confidence overshadowed the fact that he did not possess a degree.

Encouraged to dream, David identified his goals: a corporate position that included a company car and an eventual six-figure salary. Within four months, he landed a promising job with a growing mid-sized company. He had the company car, a gas mileage expense account and a $60,000+ salary.

In total, David worked with JMA for nine months and periodically checked in thereafter. With each new rung on the corporate ladder, David faced a host of new challenges. He frequently tapped Jody’s executive experience for the minute details he could not have learned in the retail environment: career development, the etiquette of hierarchical corporate politics, meeting protocol, mitigating coworker jealousy, and the clues one can intuit from the subtle behaviors of fellow managers.


Today, nearly five years after he worked in men’s departments on Michigan Avenue, David’s career has flourished, as has his firm. He is responsible for North American operations, earns in excess of $250,000, and has developed the stable family life that he had never had the time or means to pursue before. David found out he had what it took and, luckily, it was not a college degree.

Please note: The names of clients, their employers and certain identifying details have been changed to respect their privacy and maintain confidentiality.