Building A Career Around Support & Setting Individuals Up For Success
If you are a Tufts Athlete and have a Linkedin you better join the Tufts Athletics Alumni Group. The group was founded over five years ago by Amanda Murray when she realized that all the athletes could benefit from a shared alumni network rather than restricting your network to the sport you play. It’s been this effort to support others that has guided the former Field Hockey player in her career. Since graduating in 2010, Amanda has worked in several roles across the health and wellness sector of the business world. Her experience includes working in consulting, for a food & beverage startup, and launching her own company that won an MIT hackathon. She now works for Plan4Financial where she is able to help clients achieve a healthy financial plan for their future.
What are the most important lessons you learned from your time as student-athlete at Tufts?
The single most important lesson I learned as a student-athlete at Tufts University was around having a vision and creating a plan to make that vision a reality. On the field hockey team, every year, we would set team and individual goals. More importantly however, we would also create a detailed plan around how to achieve these stretch goals. This was an incredible lesson that has helped me navigate many different challenges, including running the Boston Marathon and founding the Tufts Athletics Alumni Group.
Why do you think the creation of the Tufts Athletics Alumni Group is such an important resource for current student-athletes? How would you advise undergrads to take advantage of it?
The Tufts Athletics Alumni Group is a critical resource for current student-athletes because it is a group of people who are singularly interested in helping and supporting Tufts student-athletes succeed professionally and personally through guidance, internships, jobs and other opportunities. Current student-athletes can join the online community by requesting membership on Facebook and LinkedIn. Feel free to post a question to the group or to message someone who works in a role/company/industry that you are interested in learning more about to set up an informational call.
It seems that providing support like this is in line with where your career has gone. What would you say is your passion?
I am passionate about helping people be proactive in setting themselves up for success. I discovered this about myself several years after college and have been working towards creating a career that fully aligns with this passion ever since. I transitioned into my current role as a Financial Advisor last year to put all my energy towards helping individuals create a plan for the future that will help them achieve their goals.
How did you ultimately find this passion? Take us back to your senior year and what you thought your career should look like.
I had no idea what I wanted to do as I was approaching graduation back in 2010, despite having multiple internships and pursuing many different extracurricular activities at Tufts. As such, I relied on my intuition when applying to and evaluating different opportunities and did my best to pursue roles that I felt excited about, regardless of industry, career path, salary etc. Tuning out all the “noise” (personal and societal biases) about different opportunities to truly identify what I was excited about was a challenge for me initially but became easier with each role I held after graduating.
You’ve worked in startups, marketing, management consulting, and research across the health and wellness space. What unique benefits did you gain from challenging yourself in so many different jobs?
The greatest benefit I gained from holding several different jobs was the self awareness to fully understand what inspires me. With this awareness, I was able to identify a career path that would allow me to draw from this inspiration on a daily basis, while creating a job structure that gave me the autonomy and work-life balance that I needed to be my best self.
What do you look for in a good workplace atmosphere?
Generally, I have found that a good workplace atmosphere will be fueled from both a top-down (management) and bottom-up (employee driven) approach where everyone feels responsible for creating an authentic and supportive environment that is open to new ideas.
Let’s talk about the atmosphere and startup culture at LeanBox. How was that different than the other places you worked at?
The startup culture at LeanBox was different than the culture at other companies I had worked at previously, in large part because none of the companies I had worked for previously were startups. The biggest difference between LeanBox and the other organizations I had been a part of previously was the freedom in deciding how you wanted to accomplish a high level goal and creating the strategy to do so.
After years of experience in Life Science and Health and wellness, why did you pivot into a career in Financial Consulting?
My journey of helping people proactively began in 2014 at a MIT healthcare hackathon where I helped to found a company focused on using tech to manage diabetes by tracking and promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors. Shortly after that, I joined LeanBox to help employees gain access to healthy food options in the workplace. However, working in a B2B capacity, I realized I wanted to be able to connect with people on a more personal and individualized level. While there are many potential career paths that could allow for this, I chose financial planning because I believe financial wellness is an integral, yet often overlooked component of wellness.
Was there any move or decision that you regretted or would’ve done differently if given the opportunity? Why or why not?
Despite not always knowing where my professional journey would take me, I would not have done anything differently. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had, but most importantly for the friends I have made along the way - some of whom were fellow Tufts alum that I had the pleasure of getting to know post-Tufts.
Have there been any roles or career experiences that mirror your time as a student-athlete?
Throughout all of my roles, the one thing that most mirrored my experience as a student-athlete was the importance of having a strong work ethic. This is one of the few things that is completely in your control both in sports, and in your professional life, so recognizing this, and giving your all has been something that has allowed me to succeed athletically and professionally.
Today, society is dominated by social media and how others view you. For someone who has found her niche and passion, how do you combat that urge and continue to focus on yourself? What advice would you give current student-athletes dealing with this issue?
Over the last year and a half, I have worked on cultivating a mindfulness practice that includes meditation, which allows me to completely disconnect from social media, email, notifications, etc for a few minutes each day (as long as I remember to put my phone on do not disturb mode). These few minutes of calm help me to see and focus on what is truly important. I think everyone can benefit from a few minutes of social media free self care each day and encourage current student-athletes to make sure they are disconnecting from their devices for at least a few minutes each day.