011 How to Re-Career and Find Your Passion – Dr. Pam Schwalb

Written by on May 7, 2018

How do you re-career when you’ve found your priorities and philosophy have changed? What do you do when the job you’ve worked hard to earn isn’t as satisfying as you once thought? This week’s guest, Dr. Pam Schwalb, has both experience and advice on the subject.

Dr. Pam Schwalb is SVP (Finance and Administration) at United Way of the Midlands, where she drives operational efficiency and excellence while overseeing good stewardship of donor contributions. She also supports fundraising and community investment efforts. Pam started out in corporate America at MasterCard and KPMG, eventually climbing to the level of Senior Vice President. She then took a series of bold actions that led her to not one, but two, major career changes.

In this episode, Pam discusses the reasoning and planning behind her career changes, and shares some sage advice on how you can work toward your passion without sacrificing success or stability.


(2:15) – Pam describes her early experience as a public transportation budget analyst not long after graduating and how reality clashed with what she had learned in school.

(4:38) – Her transition from MasterCard to consulting during the credit card boom of the 1990s.

(6:47) – Why she decided to “turn the ship” and move toward a teaching and instructional career.

(8:00) – Returning to school in her 40s to earn a Ph.D. and studying in an unfamiliar liberal arts environment.

(8:58) – What Pam and senior leaders recommend to those in middle management who want to take the leap to a higher position.

(11:00) – The highs and lows of being at the top, and why it didn’t fit who she was.

(14:30) – Pam’s chance encounter at a baseball game that led to her first position in higher education.

(15:39) – How she created and executed her plan to obtain a teaching job, and why her plan had to adapt to the recession.

(20:00) – The responsibilities she took to help out women and girls in need.

(23:15) – Moving to KPMG, the appeal of working in non-profit, and what struggles those wanting to work in that sector should consider.

(27:05) – Her advice to those stuck in their current position after their priorities have shifted.

(38:15) – What Pam finds compelling about millennials.



“I grew up in a small town of 11,000 people, but I had great mentors. I had a lot of men and women that believed in me and helped lift me up.”

“Relationships are everything. Never burn a bridge.”

“There’s a way to have growth. There’s a way to have a successful company. There’s a way to pay attention to profit. But don’t take it out on the backs of really good, hardworking employees.”

“Sometimes you have to not be afraid to just be out there, or to put out in the universe what your intentions are or what you want. You have to have a little bit a courage, or maybe a lot of it.”

“You cannot ready, fire, aim.”

“We didn’t have a backup plan, we just learned to adjust to the plan.”

“I don’t think I’d be good on the front line where my heart might be broken every day, but let’s use the skills and talents I have and help out on her finances.”

“If you work in a non-profit, it’s because your heart’s in the mission, and that’s what makes everything else worthwhile.”

The Daily Dose:


Text NEVERSETTLE to 44222

Guest Links:

United Way of the Midlands Website – http://www.unitedwaymidlands.org/

Dr. Schwalb on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-pam-schwalb-5485034/

Sponsor’s Link: https://www.midamericacareers.com

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