Learn From My Experiences

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My fortune is that I benefited from a set of professional, academic, and personal circumstances that I am fully aware usually never happen to individuals.  My plan is to share what I have learned from having: dissected 1,000+ performance evaluations, reported to 20+ bosses, lived in 7 zip codes, worked in 2 foreign countries, transitioned directly from financial services to advertising, started a career coaching firm as a newbie mom, coached lawyers that no longer desired to practice law, helped a plethora of clients with compelling raw materials yet lackluster interview performance skills, earned 2 full rides to top academic institutions, and left law school.

My career portfolio includes having worked in 16 business units (human resources, investment management, employment law, treasury services, internet marketing, customer service, financial product training, account management, telemarketing, pricing, digital strategy, planning) as well as in global, regional, and local capacities. These experiences taught me that there are similarities across roles within organizations and the differences are a matter of learning and applying new vocabulary words which makes leaping from one role or sector to another much easier than some folks make it to be.

Meanwhile, my academic circumstances drive home the idea that there are costs and benefits to being a major nerd.  The benefits are that you can be compensated for your wits such as when I earned a full ride to NYU.   Costs happen when you strive for a profession in which your heart is not as invested in as your credit cards.  This happened to me when I took the LSAT twice, attended, and aptly quit Fordham Law School within one semester. Then post-law school, graduate entrance exams were still part of my life.  I almost took the GRE yet gratefully opted for the GMAT.  I rocked the GMAT during my second try, and earned another full ride this time to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and no I never attempted to take the MCAT because I freak out at the sight of skeletons.

Then there is my personal life which offers its own insights.  As a new mom with a startup, I had to accept that moms have to apply twice the effort to accomplish non-mommy goals and be comfortable pushing forward at slower speeds in the pursuit of dropping jaws and kicking butt in their professions.  However, I will not accept the notion that what I expect from myself should be any less than what I expect from my son (or my clients).  With this in mind, when evaluating personal decisions, I always ask myself what would I counsel my little man, and I encourage others to use a fitting filter when evaluating choices that matter.

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.


  1. ed leong on September 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I just read your background story. Wow I was like that’s awesome!
    You’re a real career renaissance women.


    • Melissa on September 27, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Thanks so much Ed. I appreciate your words. Keep following me. My blog on LinkedIn Endorsements is now live.

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