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Nora McCaffrey

Nora McCaffrey

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I am from Brooklyn, NY and now based in Maplewood, NJ. I am a parent of two amazing girls and my career is in online education. I am currently focused on health coach training for a global audience. Our learners are mainly women, seeking to change their careers and help people transform their lives. I have a degree in psychology, a master's in online education, as well as training in culinary arts, health coaching, product management, and strategic leadership. I am a lifelong learner, lover of food, running, hiking, books, and film.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I love mentorship and helping women grow their careers. I also believe there is a lot we can learn from each other, so I am excited to get to know the Ellevate Network.

How would you define your professional mission?

I am dedicated to providing effective online education for individuals seeking to transform their lives. The online programs I help create will be developed by teams that have a passion for their work and create mutual respect and positive work environments for all. I will help individuals on my teams grow both personally and professionally.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

- ability to get into weeds as well as think big picture - focus on positive communication and active listening - motivate teams to meet goals and understand how it aligns with company strategy - willingness to grow raw talent and mentor during various phases of professional growth

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

I've been with my organization for over ten years. I started in an entry-level position within student services. I was willing to explore other roles and ended up moving into education. I was asked to shift an entire section of the product to be more cost-effective but also maintain quality. I switched an individual coaching session offering, to group coaching. I had to experiment and test different methods but ultimately landed on a model that was effective. The feature was handed off to a new group and they grew it from there. It helped me make a mark within the organization and gain substantial experience with product ownership.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

Organizations are in periods of growth as a result of COVID. Some are pivoting to new markets, experiencing major growth, or downsizing to get through challenging times. In all cases, there is a need for change management at every level. Every person needs and wants to know how to do their job effectively. Taking the time for change management will not only ensure the success of future projects, but also the well-being of the employees.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

Credentialing within online education takes many forms. It can be with 3rd party membership organizations, state boards, and on a federal level. My organization was seeking to obtain a substantial 3rd party credential. I worked with a small team to create a course that not only obtained that credential but also went on to get recognition from 3 international organizations. It's allowed us to grow internationally and give credibility to our coaches.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I've taken a winding road to where I am! I studied psychology in college, with the intention of becoming a therapist. When I graduated I pivoted and worked in a non-profit. I was managing events and was also going through a major health transformation. I fell in love with food and decided to go to culinary school. From there, I ran my own catering business but felt lonely most of the time. I wanted to be a part of a team and help grow a business. I took an entry-level job and then grew. I gained access to technology product development, strategic planning, regulatory and credential management, and online learning. I fell in love with online education and went to grad school. I continue to take courses so it can complement my on the job experience.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing a product come to fruition. Teams have to come together, collaborate, debate, and create. People push themselves and learn something new every day.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

That I helped create a learning experience that transformed lives, the company and the individuals who helped make it.

What is your morning ritual?

I get up around 6, have a cup of coffee, take my dogs out and then get my kids ready for school. If I am going into the city, I use the train ride to prep for the day. If I am working remote, I do an early run or go to CrossFit.

What does success look like to you?

When work is done on time, in scope, my team feels supported, and the product meets the consumer needs.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

I try not to send emails after 730pm. Anything I have to say in an email after 730 can probably wait until tomorrow.

I use my weekends and evenings to have quality time with my kids.

What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?

Be willing to explore roles. Ask for feedback. Find mentors that are both leaders and peers.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Every light has a shade. Take the time to understand the good and the bad and learn how to address both.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

You are doing great and are a great mom. Be compassionate with yourself and trust you are exactly where you need to be.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.