A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:


Karen Kodzik

Cultivating careers

Title: President/owner

Age: 49


Karen Kodzik is marking a decade of helping professionals who are in jobs or between them gain clarity as the head of Cultivating Careers, her St. Paul-based career-consulting firm.

Kodzik said she established her practice so she could offer a customized approach for each client, after observing that companies sometimes drive how consulting or outplacement firms provide services.

“I knew that professionals wanted to manage their own careers independent of their companies,” Kodzik said.

Clients typically are midcareer professionals, Kodzik said. Some need help navigating organizational issues. Others are in transition and never have searched for a job or haven’t been in the market in the recent years.

A few “dream chasers” need help figuring “their purpose and passion and should [they] be a ballerina or a firefighter,” Kodzik said.

Cultivating Careers offers a complimentary initial conversation and a “game plan” with recommended next steps. The firm’s extended appointments last 80 minutes and each is with a coach, rather than in a class or online, Kodzik said.

The firm is one of few that will see clients on nights and weekends as well as during business hours. “Many of our clients are working, and getting away from work in the middle of the day to see a career counselor is not usually part of the [paid-time-off] plan,” Kodzik said.

Kodzik, who has a master’s degree in counseling from St. Cloud State University, has more than 15 years of experience in career consulting.


Q: Why should professionals consider career counseling?

A: Work is so much more dynamic that the days of long tenures in companies have really dwindled. People need to be much more purposeful and intentional in managing their careers so they don’t get caught in the winds of change.


Q: How have the recession and recovery affected your business?

A: People come to us any time there’s a flux in the economy. When it’s down, they need help in a job search. When it’s up, people are optimistic and want to be more proactive about their options. The worst time for us is when things are flat.


Q: How has job searching changed in recent years?

A: So much has changed in how people are hired: The role that social media plays; how résumés are different from when it was a work-history document to now something much more positioned for a specific objective; how people maintain their network or how they re-engage in their network.

Todd Nelson