Uncover Your Career Passion with Sonia Bercel-Collins

 

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It is impossible not to be inspired by a “coming into your own” story, and Sonia Bercel-Collins’s career journey is no exception. It is one of many reasons why The Forem is honored to have her on the team as a Mentor (and original founding member!)

Sonia’s early career started like many others. She dutifully climbed the corporate ladder, following leaders she liked into different companies they started or joined.

She thrived in start-up environments where she could build and launch programs from scratch and built her personal brand around this. Her ability to quickly get clarity on problems and work collaboratively across different teams to identify solutions was what led her to her success in launching new business initiatives, new markets, and new global marketing initiatives for brands like Pinterest and Pandora.

As she advanced in her career and became a manager, she discovered her passion for   creating environments where women can learn together and build confidence and clarity in what they want in their careers.

She started mentoring women on their careers as a side hustle… but as demand grew for her time, she realized that  there was a huge need for such a service and it was possible to live her passion as a full time solopreneur and new mom.

“That was when I decided to take the leap,” Sonia reflected to us recently.

“It has been a journey to get to this point. I am most proud of my ability to lean in and take action on anything I am curious about. Prototyping my ideas in the corporate world gave me the clarity and confidence I needed to take the first step to solopreneurship. Getting clear on my values and priorities also helped give me the courage to take the various leaps I’ve made in my career (leaving a successful path in the UK, starting from scratch in the US, leaving toxic environments, starting my business, getting my first check from a client…etc.)”

Now, as the new VP of Learning and Development at Selfmade, Sonia spends each day building programs that help entrepreneurial women discover their passions and build the confidence to launch their business ideas.

Her personal experience with career pivoting and development, as well as her genuine passion for helping others find their purpose, makes Sonia an indispensable resource to The Forem community.

“Mentoring with The Forem has taught me that assumptions, and societal norms about “how the world works” when it comes to career advancement, are stopping so many women from getting ahead. It’s a lot of mindset shifting — from thinking self-advocacy is all about bragging, or networking is super awkward, or asking for what you want is selfish. I have also learned that with just a little push — an open question, a self-reflective question, a framework, etc., is often what people need to get clarity.”

And the best piece of advice she ever received, that she now passes on to her mentees?

“Figure out your list of priorities (and criteria for choosing). “There is no “bad” choice. Only bad choosing.”


SONIA’S RECS: 

Book: Any Human Heart by William Boyd

TV Show: The Investigation on Hulu

“For any aspiring entrepreneurs out there, please join me, Brit + Co CEO Brit Morin, business celebrities like the Founder of iFundWomen, Gwyenth Paltrow, Melissa Bernstein and SO many other amazing teachers at the Selfmade program. You will be part of a courageous community of like-minded women who have a business idea they want to launch but lack the support, confidence or “know-how” to start.”


BIO:

Sonia is the VP of Learning & Development at Selfmade and a leadership coach, mentor, and facilitator providing individual and group coaching for new managers, emerging leaders, and execs. 

Prior to becoming a leadership coach, Sonia spent 15 years growing tech startups and public companies, including Pandora and Pinterest, as a sales and marketing leader. Her experience at high-growth companies in the US and Europe helped her quickly learn the importance of collaboration, embracing constraints, and building a bias toward action. She used these principles to help guide teams through major organizational change, launch new products, and enter global markets. 

Now she spends her time working with high-growth companies including Google, Facebook & Pinterest to design and facilitate career advancement programs and leadership development workshops. She is passionate about helping women advance in their careers and has launched new programs for women in tech and finance, in partnership with communities including The Forem and Elpha. 

Sonia is a Certified Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and Immunity to Change trained coach and facilitator, with a BA in Sociology from Leicester University, U.K.

She lives in Mill Valley, California with her husband, four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. She spends as much time as she can outdoors, planning family adventures in their camper van and “performing” on the piano or guitar for her two young kids.