Meet The Team
Our exceptionally talented team of industry leaders look forward to helping you gain BIG momentum in your search!
Laura M. Labovich, Chief Executive Officer
With job search management expertise as an award-winning résumé writer, social media enthusiast, and master networker, as well as a decade of experience in HR leadership at Fortune 500 companies such as The Walt Disney Company and America Online, Laura M. Labovich is often affectionately called “a job seeker’s best friend.”
Chief Executive Officer of The Career Strategy Group, Laura’s contagious enthusiasm and powerful methodology make the perfect recipe for getting job seekers unstuck in their job search. Equal parts kick-butt trainer and nurturing cheerleader, Laura empowers job seekers to develop proactive, targeted job search marketing plans that increase momentum and achieve breakthrough results.
Laura is known for saying that she was “born and raised professionally at Disney” and has been told that she has pixie dust in her blood (and when you hear her speak, you will see why!). After receiving her first promotion out of the polyester, she recruited nationwide for the highly competitive Walt Disney World College Program, led the recreation recruiting and staffing efforts for both Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach water parks, and staffed up Disney’s Animal Kingdom for its inaugural launch. Later, at America Online, she developed and launched AOL’s college internship program, hiring more than 100 MBA interns in its first year, and coached hundreds of employees — from entry-level to executive — on how to fit in, stand out, and move up in the company and in their careers.
Laura’s easy-to-implement approach has garnered attention from such national news media as The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, and Monster.com, to name a few. And, as a former amateur nightclub singer, she certainly knows how to tackle, inspire, and entertain a tough crowd. Laura is the co-author of the book 100 Conversations for Career Success: Learn to Network, Cold-Call and Tweet Your Way to Your Dream Job (LearningExpress, 2012), a book about “what to say and how to say it” in your job search.
Dana Inerfeld, Senior Career Strategist
With more than 15 years of experience as a Career Coach and Human Resource Development Specialist, Dana has guided and coached hundreds of professionals, across varied industries, through highly effective job search strategies, enabling them to achieve their career goals! Dana is extremely passionate about how job seekers use social networking during their job search, since she, in fact, has landed jobs in the past via her skillful use of LinkedIn and Facebook.
Dana’s experience also includes designing and implementing employee development and team building programs within the technology, non-profit, and government sectors for such organizations as the United States Peace Corps, The Nature Conservancy, America Online, and Google. (Yes, you read that correctly: Google!)
Dana holds a Master of Arts in Human Resource Development from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University. She is certified to administer the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as well as the Birkman First Look Assessment.
Susan Barens, Senior Career Strategist
Recognizing the different needs and goals of each person, Susan offers more than 25 years of experience in the areas of career and leadership development, human resources, and corporate communications, engagement, and media relations. She uses a strategic, yet personal approach to uncovering a client’s unique experiences, themes, and brand, and formulating actionable career marketing strategies. Positioning herself as a partner and advocate, Susan provides tools and tactics that not only demystify the search and placement processes, but help clients advance or transition in an increasingly competitive, technically complex environment.
After delivering one success story after another, Susan’s clients call her a “difference maker.” Coaching across a wide spectrum of industries, she is referred to as a “go to” advisor among clients that include Fortune 500 executives, academic professors, and military and government leaders within the Department of Defense, Pentagon, Intelligence Community, and the White House.
In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree in history from Ursuline College, Susan is completing a master’s degree in strategic intelligence at Mercyhurst University. Susan is an active member and contributor to industry-related associations, popular book publications, and mainstream newspapers and websites.
She is a credentialed Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF), Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), International Job & Career Transition Coach (IJCTC), and a Master Federal Career Coach & Trainer (MFCCT).
Freddie Cheek, Senior Resume Strategist
Freddie Cheek, M.S. Ed. is a Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW), Credentialed Career Master (CCM), Master Career Director (MCD), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP), and Licensed NYS English Teacher.
Freddie’s interview and job search advice has been quoted in books, journals, and websites, and examples of her résumé writing have been published in more than 20 books! Freddie has presented dozens of workshops in the US and Canada on a variety of employment, resume writing, interviewing, and business topics. As an industry leader, Freddie has served as President of the Association of Job Search Trainers, Vice President of Career Directors International, and member of Career Masters Institute’s Advisory Board.
Val Olson, Senior Career Exploration Coach
As our newest team member, Senior Career Strategist, Val Olson adds breadth and depth of experience to her role of coaching clients involved in career exploration, job search and entrepreneurial startup activities. Val is a career strategist and branding expert. She holds a master’s degree in human development and is licensed as a psychologist (emeritus) (State of Minnesota) and certified as a Professional Co-Active Coach (The Coaches Training Institute, San Rafael, California). Her career trajectory includes roles as a management development consultant, a healthcare manager, a professor, an entrepreneur, an executive coach, a business coach, an outplacement professional and a career consultant to executives, ULCA graduate students and creative industry professionals. Val has worked in a variety of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, higher education, corporate training and career management.
Known for her expertise in career exploration, social media, branding, professional image and job search strategy, Val is a trusted advisor and an inspiring coach who instills confidence by insisting clients follow through with activities and attitudes that lead to career and business success. She “gets” who clients are and helps them discover a path forward through any obstacles that might be in their way.
Val was one of the first career and life coaches to be certified in the United States by the Coaches Training Institute of San Rafael, California and is a graduate of their Co-Active Leadership Program. She is considered a pioneer in the coaching field, appearing in local and national media as a representative of the profession. Val is co-founder of the Minnesota Coaches Association (ICF Minnesota Charter Chapter) and a member of the National Career Development Association, Minnesota Career Development Association, Career Directors International and the Association of Image Consultants International.