Navigating a Career Pivot: The Journey of Transitioning from Corporate to the Impact Space

Navigating a Career Pivot: The Journey of Transitioning from Corporate to the Impact Space 

By Amé Lazaridis, LGT Impact Fellow for African Parks, South Africa

In today’s dynamic professional world, an increasing number of individuals are seeking careers that not only provide financial stability but align with their values, and contribute positively to society. This aspiration has led many to explore opportunities in the impact space, where organizations prioritize social, environmental, and ethical objectives.

Drawing from my LGT Impact Fellowship journey of transitioning from a legal and business development background into conservation fundraising for African Parks I discovered a seamless overlap between the skills honed in corporate settings and those demanded in the realm of fundraising for conservation initiatives. Through my experience in law and business development, I cultivated a robust toolkit of transferrable skills essential for successful fundraising endeavours. Skills such as project management, strategic planning, data analysis, and effective communication proved to be invaluable assets when navigating the intricacies of fundraising campaigns and donor relations within the conservation sector. Leveraging my expertise in identifying opportunities, fostering partnerships, and driving revenue growth, I was able to apply a strategic approach to securing funding for African Parks. Additionally, my stakeholder engagement and relationship-building proficiency enabled me to forge meaningful connections with donors and inspire support for conservation efforts. This transition not only highlighted the versatility of my skill set but also underscored the profound impact that corporate expertise can have in advancing biodiversity conservation goals; for the benefit of people and wildlife.

If you’re considering transitioning from a corporate role to the impact sector, here’s a guide to help you navigate this exciting career pivot.

Self-Assessment: Before diving into the transition, take the time to reflect on your passions, values, and skills. Consider what motivates you and the causes you’re most passionate about. Assess your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth. Understanding yourself better will guide you in identifying suitable opportunities within the impact space that align with your values and capitalize on your expertise within a specific role.

Research, Networking and Support: Familiarize yourself with the diverse landscape of the impact sector—research organizations, companies, and initiatives that are making a difference in areas that resonate with you. Attend industry events, online support groups, and workshops to network with professionals already working in the field. Engaging with like-minded individuals and seeking mentorship can provide valuable insights and connections to facilitate your career transition.

Leverage Your Corporate Experience: Transitioning to the impact space doesn’t mean abandoning the skills you’ve acquired in the corporate world. Instead, reframe and showcase these skills to suit the job specifications in the impact sector.

Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter: When applying for roles in the impact space, customize your resume and cover letter to highlight relevant experiences, broader skillset, and accomplishments. Emphasize your passion for social or environmental causes and your commitment to making a difference. Showcase how your corporate background equips you with transferrable skills such as leadership, strategic and analytical thinking, project management, and stakeholder engagement, which are highly valuable in the impact sector.

Explore Diverse Opportunities: The transition to the impact space may not follow a linear path. Be open to exploring diverse opportunities and roles that align with your values and career goals. Consider positions in social enterprises, non-profits, impact-focused start-ups, corporate social responsibility departments, or impact investment firms. Be adaptable and willing to embrace new challenges and learning experiences along the way.

Transitioning to a career in the impact space offers a profound opportunity for personal growth and societal contribution. This shift, in my personal experience, has shown me the significant impact corporate expertise can have in advancing social and environmental objectives. By conducting self-assessment, engaging in research and networking, leveraging corporate experience, and exploring diverse opportunities, individuals can embark on a transformative path aligned with their values and passions. Embracing this journey with purpose and determination, we can collectively work towards creating a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous future for people and our planet.

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