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Conversations with the Inspiring Emily Kikue Frank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Kikue Frank.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Emily. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a career therapist specializing in helping quirky, creative people and those who have lived and worked overseas in the job search. I fall into both these categories myself, so helping my people out was a natural fit.

Undergrad, I went to Smith College and majored in East Asian Studies. After graduation, I was accepted to the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and taught English in Hokkaido, Japan, for three years. Upon my return, I realized that all I really knew was that I didn’t want to teach, so after trying and disliking many jobs, I started seeing a career counselor myself, and eventually went to grad school for a master’s degree in counseling. I worked in higher ed. as a career counselor for over 11 years, and have been in private practice for a little over a year and a half now.

People who don’t fit the standard career mold can struggle to find work that feels good, so that’s a population I feel very dedicated to serving. We shouldn’t have to pretend to be something we’re not for those 40 hours a week we’re earning a living, so I’m very happy to be able to work with people who are navigating the same seas I did those many years ago.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I wish I could say it’s been a smooth road! I had never considered entrepreneurship until things at my previous job got really bad, so I had no idea what I was doing at first. One of the best things I did was to hire a business coach, so my primary advice to other women starting their journey is to find someone who knows more than you do about what you’re doing, and ask for her advice. In some situations, that will be a formal mentorship, but often it will be informal. If you can, get help from people in many different areas of your work– someone who is good at workplace politics, for instance, and someone who works in an area you’d like to learn more about, etc.

What should we know about Career Catalyst? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
One of the things I have noticed over my years in the field of careers is that there are many people who are really struggling because they don’t fit a certain mold. They have hair that’s “too ethnic,” they’re gender non-binary, they have tattoos or piercings they don’t want to cover, and so on. Often these people feel like they have to make compromises in order to get paid, but the compromises they make can start to be exhausting or even soul-sucking. I work with these folks to help them find things that don’t drain them, but instead give them energy and purpose. My training is in career counseling, but what I really am is a career reinvention specialist.

I pride myself on meeting my clients where they are and helping them to determine their own goals and work just outside their comfort zones. (There’s no change without some discomfort, after all!) Sometimes this means finding ways to network that aren’t intimidating, and sometimes it means carefully going over questions for clients to ask in interviews, and sometimes it’s just talking a client through salary negotiation. Wherever my clients are, we work together to find what makes sense and feels meaningful.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
Mentorship in a new role is key, but don’t rush into it headlong. I advise people in a new job to get a bit of a read of things first, and then identify people who seem like good possible mentors. If your company has a formal mentorship practice, sign up for it. But many places don’t so keep things informal if that makes sense. Ask for advice around specific topics or challenges, and take notes.

For networking, I generally like to keep things small. Giant networking events aren’t terribly useful to most people and can be overwhelming. Instead, I like to encourage people to network small– to invite an interesting person to coffee or ask for a short informational interview of 30 minutes or so. If you’re seeking to learn a new skill, ask someone who has mastered it if you can sit in and observe while they perform it. Ask the interesting people you meet who they know. Small and manageable is the key.


  • Silver package (3 session) $420
  • Gold package (5 sessions) $650
  • Doldrum Job to Dream Career program $1500

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Florida JETAA, Emily Frank, Jolyon Yates, Florida JETAA

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