Today we’d like to introduce you to Kerry Ahrend.
Hi Kerry, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Currently, I am a teacher, trainer, career strategist, and transformation coach. I specialize in project management, leadership development, and helping people find careers that are more meaningful, fulfilling, and engaging. In April 2020, I published a book entitled “Project Career QUEST: Navigating the Journey to New Opportunities Waiting.” A second complimentary book will be published later this year entitled: “MISSION: Career QUEST: Blazing a Trail to the Career You Love.”
After a 17 year career in Corporate America, in a variety of positions, I left to pursue a career I love and that is as a corporate trainer delivering project management best practices, leadership skills, and a variety of other related topics. After over 20 years teaching and training, I still love helping people grow and develop in their careers. I have had the opportunity to teach in 22 countries around the world and extensively in the U.S. and Canada. I have worked with many companies and organizations in the RTP area, including Cisco, SAS, IBM, Glaxo-Smith Klein, Novartis, Syngenta Seeds, CAI, NC Biotech Center, NC State, Duke, and UNC.
About 12 years ago, I began helping job seekers navigate their way through the complex process of career transition. I have done this both on a volunteer basis and working with one of the premier talent management companies in the world. I love helping people find clarity and build confidence on their career journey.
My “portfolio career” now includes consulting and training project management and leadership development, career coaching, authoring books, and developing related content for online and face-to-face delivery.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Just like so many people, I have struggled since my days in college (at N.C. State University) to discover a career I love. I picked my major just because I had to pick something, still clueless what I wanted to do with my life. I started my career as a paralegal and moved within the organization (BellSouth in Atlanta, GA) to numerous other positions over my 17-year corporate career. It took me a while to figure out what I really loved doing, but when I did, I put a plan in place at 15 years so I could eventually move into a career that I love. I have been teaching project management and leadership courses full-time on a contract basis since my departure from the corporate life. I have not lost my fire to teach and now I also help others find careers they love based on what I have learned on my own career quest journey.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I established Ahrend Coaching & Training after leaving my corporate career (in 1997). I specialize in project management, leadership development, communications and negotiation skills, and business process analysis. Additionally, twelve years ago, I began volunteering at a local job seeker group (Colonial Job Seekers) to help those in transition. Shortly thereafter, I began contracting with Lee Hecht Harrison, a talent management organization who helps businesses with their career transition efforts due to layoffs, mergers, acquisitions, etc.
I believe what sets me apart is my real-world experience in both project management, leading project teams, working as an organizational effectiveness consultant for a major reorganization effort at BellSouth, writing and negotiating contracts and leases, and managing training and professional development for 600 employees in a Supply Chain Management organization. I learned so many skills in my corporate career, all pieces to the puzzle that I am now able to bring together to help others find clarity, see possibilities, and discover new opportunities to finding a career they love.
In April 2020, I released my first book entitled, “Project Career QUEST: Navigating the Journey to New Opportunities Waiting.” Project Career QUEST empowers people to successfully transition in their careers. It offers a structured, practical approach to finding employment that is more meaningful, fulfilling, and engaging. I use a project management approach to guide, coach and mentor the reader through their Career Quest journey. I help professionals initiate, plan, execute, monitor and control, and closeout their projects successfully. The book helps people to clarify their career goals, identify roadblocks, and map out a strategy to open doors to new opportunities. Project Career QUEST is relevant for both entry-level and seasoned professionals.
I am currently in the process of writing a follow-up book entitled “MISSION: Career QUEST – Blazing a Trail to the Career You Love. This book is scheduled for release later this year. My services include training and consulting in project management from the fundamentals to PMP Exam Prep, leadership development and building high-performing teams, and career coaching for those seeking transformational change.
If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
Good question! We moved around quite a bit with my father’s work so I was constantly changing schools, meeting new people, and experiencing new things. While I hated leaving behind my friends, I have always adapted quickly to new environments. As a MBTI (Myers-Briggs) practitioner, I understand why I was able to adjust easily based on my personality type. As an extrovert, I meet new people quickly and comfortably; I have rarely met a stranger. And fortunately, I am the flexible and adaptable (perceiving) personality type so I have been able to adjust to most changes in my life with great resiliency.
I have always been adventurous and loved traveling. My work as a trainer and consultant has taken me across the globe and has given me the opportunity to experience many new things, different cultures, visit amazing places, and to make new friends around the world.