About Empowered Careers
After international careers ranging from minister of religion in Africa to senior executive in the US, Russell Johnson established Australia’s first career management firm for executives and professionals in 1992. He and his associates have since helped many thousands of clients, from young professionals to CEOs, board members and entrepreneurs, to achieve their career objectives.
Since it provides perspective on our origins and mission, following is Russell’s brief biography:
My preparation for this work began many decades ago in a quest for a fulfilling career after I was taken out of school in Melbourne, Australia at 14 due to family health and financial problems.
With a younger brother, I went into business with the goal of buying a home for our birth family. When that was achieved, I left Australia, studied in the UK, and spent a few years as a minister of religion in Africa.
The role was rich in meaning but it required relinquishing freedom of thought and action to an extent that ultimately led me to leave it.
With my American wife and our young family, I relocated to the US. Over the next decade, I advanced to a top executive role with a business that, as head of franchising, I turned into one of the world’s fastest-growing franchised restaurant chains.
On that path, life was rich in financial rewards and for a time, in challenges. But success reduced the challenges. I finally recognised that my Vice Presidents and team no longer needed me, and that I had no interest in moving to another company even as CEO.
This brought to a head an underlying need for a sense of more personally meaningful work. Again, I resigned to seek a new direction, this time through a return to self-employment.
I then wasted several years through failure to find support of the quality I needed. However, after returning with my family to Australia, I finally found the compelling vision I was seeking.
I found my vision and mission in recognising that my own experiences provided the foundation to develop a career management model that would help clients build inspiring futures.
In 1992, I founded Australia’s first career management firm for executives and professionals, EPR Careers. Over the next 22 years, we helped many thousands of people achieve more of what they wanted in their careers, and I regained the sense of meaning I had sought.
But I was standing too close to recognise that I had become committed to a model with unsustainably high overheads. Loving what you do isn’t without risks; it can blind you to things.
Life became a constant struggle to make ends meet, yet I continued to believe it was just a matter of time till it all came right. Eventually, I ran out of options to continue and had to turn the business over to new owners in 2014.
It was a painful experience, but it freed me to see things differently. I came to relate to what Steve Jobs said in his famous Stanford address about being fired by Apple, the company he had founded:
What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
..But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me… It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
So in 2015, with the benefit of hindsight, I founded Empowered Careers to be the organisation I had intended EPR to be.
I find my work more fulfilling now than ever. And since retirement has never appealed to me, I’m pretty sure I’ll be on this path for as long as I’m able to contribute.
How to Overcome a ‘Satisfaction Gap’ in Your Career
Download a free e-booklet
Resolving a satisfaction gap begins with sharpening clarity about what you want over the long term, then developing your strategy to get it. A tactical focus will bring unwanted consequences. Click Here.
Sign up for a program or request a discussion
Deliberate, professionally guided action is the most powerful antidote for a career that’s ‘in the doldrums’. If you’re ready to break out of an unsatisfying situation, Click Here to get started.