College Student

Past Edie Hunt Winner Whereabouts: Becky Charvat Recommends “Pivoting” As Career Strategy

becky-charvatBecky (née Libby) Charvat lives by the mantra, “If it’s not illegal or dangerous, just say yes.” After graduating from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 2009, Becky was set on corporate social responsibility as her career. A winner of the 2009 Edie Hunt Inspiration Award, Becky accepted a position as a buyer at Target Corporation in Minneapolis because she respected the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and wanted to get a foot in the door.

Missing the California sunshine she grew up with, Becky later took a position at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business to lead employee relations and recruiting and, since July 2016, she has been a senior recruiter at Quantcast. Through her recruiting experiences, she has discovered her passion for making an “impact on people’s lives and careers.”

FF: How was your life impacted by receiving an MBA? What have been the greatest benefits?
BC: The MBA has impacted everything. I heard about the Stanford job from a Booth connection. The leadership skills to succeed in my roles at Stanford and Quantcast were learned at Booth. My MBA gave me credibility at Stanford among both students and employers. Many of my friends in the Bay area are Booth alumni.

FF: What advice do you have for young women MBAs who are entering the workforce today?
BC: Explore all options. Two areas that are traditionally male-dominated – tech and venture capital finance – have great advantages because now more than ever these industries want smart, talented females.

Be open to “pivoting your career” the way Silicon Valley companies talk about “pivoting” their business model. The idea of climbing the corporate ladder vertically is long gone. It’s about broadening one’s experiences, which can lead to advancement. Since graduating from Booth in 2009, I’ve pivoted my career three times and feel better-versed in the business world as a result.

FF: Can you share any challenges or hurdles you have experienced during your career? How did you overcome them?

BC: I’ve had some good managers in my career, but some have been less so. One told me she wasn’t “a good people manager” and another was overtly discriminatory. As a team leader, I have tried to emulate the best and avoid doing what the others did. In leadership, it’s important to be self-aware in order to avoid professional pitfalls. Soliciting formal and informal, objective, 360 feedback helps.

I will always be career-driven, but I want to ensure I’m not sacrificing my values of family, friends and fitness.

FF: Where would you like to be in 5-10 year?

BC: I hope to be leading a Talent Acquisition team at a high growth company, and in 10 years I’d love to be a Chief People Officer. I will always be career-driven, but I want to ensure I’m not sacrificing my values of family, friends and fitness. Leading a talent organization, I would want to build a culture in which people can work hard and still find time for their outside passions.

FF: Do you have any observations specifically about being a woman in business?

BC: For me, it’s about work/life integration. My husband and extended family help with my daughter, and I get home most nights to play with her and put her to bed. I may get back online or work out afterwards. I also meet friends a few nights a month. All of that combined keeps me energized. I encourage other women in business to know what energizes them – it’s different for everyone, but critical to find.


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