By Andrea Deinard ’19, Brigid Hanczor ’20, Alyse Saucedo ’21, Isabella Velarde ’19, and Katie-Marie Zickert ’20
Entrepreneur Anna Runyan is the founder of Classy Career Girl, an influential e-learning platform structured to help women discover careers that align with their personal passions. Runyan not only strives to assist women in finding career fulfillment, but also accomplishes this goal in a way that is accessible to women of all backgrounds. Runyan believes that every woman can become a “classy career girl” and realizes this belief by helping women invest in themselves, set career goals, and understand that any dream is possible. In the following interview, Runyan shares some important insight on how to discover your true passions, support women to find career fulfillment, and change the way you view your careers, dreams, and happiness.
Q: What was the pivotal moment when you realized there was a need to change the way women view their careers, dreams, and happiness?
Runyan: It all started with my own experience. I was unhappy and stuck in a job I didn’t like. I didn’t know how to get unstuck and I didn’t know what type of career was best for me. I had to go through my own process of getting out of my comfort zone, expanding my network as an introvert and getting experience in areas I thought I wanted to have a career in. I did informational interviews and spent a year doing a networking challenge where I met with four people I did know and four people I did not know each month. Once I started realizing what my ideal career fit was, I started getting a lot of questions from other women who were also stuck wanting to know how I did it. That was the pivotal moment where I realized I had to share what I was learning.
Q: What challenged you the most in implementing this change of mindset? How did you overcome this challenge?
Runyan: I was scared to fail and had a lot of self-doubt. I was scared about what other people would think of me. My blog was originally anonymous because I was scared what my family, friends and co-workers would think of me. Eventually, I started doing videos and put my real name and face on my blog. This is when readers could really connect with me and ask me questions and this helped me overcome my challenge. I realized I loved helping women move forward and reach their dreams and goals. I knew I wanted to make it my full-time career.
Q: In what ways has the definition of a Classy Career Girl inspired you and the way you live your life?
Runyan: Since I’m the founder of the brand, it’s really important for me to strive for happiness and fulfillment daily. That means that I need to continually challenge myself to make sure my business is making me happy and I’m doing the tasks that I enjoy in the business. Over the last 8 years, I’ve changed my business model many times to ensure that I’m doing work I love. I’ve also had to delegate tasks that stress me out and aren’t fulfilling to me. Since becoming a mom four years ago and again 3 months ago, I’ve had to re-evaluate my priorities and purpose. I have less time to manage the business now so I have to make sure that the time I have to work is focused on the things that really matter to me.
Q: What is your vision concerning how women can support one another in finding career fulfillment? How would you see this vision implemented in a high school setting?
Runyan: I would love to see all women and all high school students go through Love Your Career Formula, a system I created to help people identify their ideal career fit and find their dream job. I believe most people just jump into the job search after college or jump into their major after high school without having a strong foundation of what their ideal career fit is. Understanding yourself is the first step to career fulfillment before resumes, cover letters and interviewing.
Q: What advice would you offer to teenage girls who have many life interests and struggle to find their true passion? At what age is it reasonable to expect an invested commitment to a career path?
Runyan: First, don’t worry!! You have plenty of time to pursue your interests and passions. The most important thing is that you don’t forget those interests and passions as you grow up and get into the working world. You are in an exciting time right now that you can try a lot of things and learn as much as you can. I highly recommend volunteering and interning to learn new things. Also, complete informational interviews with professionals who are in careers you believe you would love to have some day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People want to help you!
Q: What should young women do if societal or parental expectations of a successful career conflict with their passions, dreams, and happiness?
Runyan: It’s important to seek guidance and not to make big decisions on your own. Most likely, your parents want the best for you but sometimes they may not understand how our world works these days. When my husband and I both quit our jobs with our 6-month old daughter to work full-time on Classy Career Girl, my parents questioned us and a lot of people thought we were crazy. My parents didn’t understand that you can build a business on the internet and work from home connecting with clients around the world through social media. Our world is changing and opportunities that weren’t available 10 years ago are available today thanks to social media. You have to seek guidance and respect the people who love and care for you. But, also be knowledgeable about how our world is changing so you can teach them what is possible for you today.
Classy Career Girl Website – www.classycareergirl.com
Instagram – @annarunyan or @classycareergirl
Facebook – Anna Runyan or Classy Career Girl
Youtube – Classy Career Girl