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Meet Octavia Goredema of Twenty Ten Agency in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Octavia Goredema.

Octavia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m a career coach and writer, I moved to Los Angeles from London fifteen years ago and I’m now a dual US and UK citizen. I run a company, Twenty Ten Agency, that provides one-to-one career coaching to senior professionals across the United States.

When I’m not coaching, I’m writing. In addition to writing for newspapers and magazines I founded a digital platform called Twenty Ten Talent, which is dedicated to helping black women accelerate their careers. Right now, I’m writing a book. It’s a career guide to help underrepresented women accelerate their earning potential.

I’m passionate about equity and inclusion and I speak at conferences, schools, colleges and companies about things we can do better. In 2012 I was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in recognition of my work. I’m a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and lead the Gender Equity network in the United States. I’m also an Ambassador for the Pankhurst Centre, which is the birthplace of the suffragette movement in the UK.

Prior to becoming a career coach, I worked in public relations but I’ve always loved helping others to achieve their potential. I enjoy connecting with others and creating content focused on professional development. It gradually realized that I could fuse my corporate experience with my motivation to help under-represented professionals accelerate their careers. I trained as a career coach, fell in love with it, and the rest is history.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
If you’re building something, whether it’s a career or a business, you’re going to hit obstacles along the way. I’ve learned so much from stumbling. Quite often the path I’m on feels like rollercoaster ride that slows down for a bit and then speeds up like crazy.

One of the best things about being self-employed is you get to call the shots. One of the worst things about being self-employed is when you’re stuck, there isn’t anyone else to make tough decisions for you. I truly value the people who have supported me when I’ve hit roadblocks. I’ve met so many incredible women at my workspace, the Wing in West Hollywood. When I’m driving there, I know I’m likely to have a conversation with someone that helps me, or ignites an idea, or just makes me smile.

I’m inspired by industry leading coaches who have been generous enough to give me advice along the way. Michael Bungay Stanier, the author of The Advice Trap, Do More Great Work and The Coaching Habit, has an abundance of warmth and wisdom.

For the past year, in addition to coaching, I’ve been focused on bringing my book to life. There’s so much that goes into it that’s unseen. It’s a long, long process and there have been more occasions than I can count where I’ve felt overwhelmed. I feel so fortunate to be working with my literary agent, Leigh Eisenman at MacKenzie Wolf. She’s such a wealth of knowledge. It feels amazing to work with someone who is committed to sharing your book with the world.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Twenty Ten Agency story. Tell us more about the business.
I lead a fantastic team of coaches at my company, Twenty Ten Agency. We provide one-to-one career coaching at companies across the United States, and we are experts in advancing career opportunities for underrepresented professionals.

We coach professionals who are looking to land their next promotion or their next role. We also coach professionals who were recently promoted to lead large teams or employee resource groups at their companies. Our coaching helps our clients to set new goals and accelerate their careers.

I love everything about my work. No one day is identical to the next. Our coaching is delivered via video or phone which allows us to cover so much ground. This means I can start my day coaching at a tech company in Silicon Valley, then head over to a media company in New York before moving on to Fortune 500 company in the Mid-West without having to leave my desk. On other days, I could be speaking at an event, moderating a panel discussion, in a board meeting or even taping a broadcast interview. My work has taken me to so many fascinating places.

I’m always honored to be invited to speak, or to attend an event, or to take part in interviews but the work I’m proudest of is the work I do privately, one-to-one, with my coaching clients. I’m always amazed by their accomplishments. It’s a truly powerful experience when you collaborate with someone on their goals. Figuring out the next steps for your career journey on your own is hard because there isn’t a go-to playbook. Navigating your career is an intensely personal journey that most people usually work through on their own. Having someone who’s invested in your success is a game changer. It makes everything you want to achieve feel much more attainable. That’s what I love about coaching. I love helping others to raise the bar.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I feel so lucky to be living in Los Angeles in the first place! If you’d told me when I was starting my career in London that I’d end up here I’d never have believed it. I fell in love with a man who moved here, he convinced me to move here too. It was the best decision I ever made.

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