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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Feb. 6, 200212:00 PM EST

Downsizing from a new perspective

by: Sean McManus

by Sean McManus

Staff Writer

When Mary Brady gave a speech at the University of North Florida last week, she told the audience that her life is serendipitous, both privately and in her role as a career coach who wants to change the way corporate America looks at downsizing.

Brady is the president of Brady Corporate Services, an organization designed to help clients achieve positive career changes by taking a more comprehensive snapshot of their goals, dreams, experience, gifts and potential.

Gaining vast experience in every aspect of human resources by hiring and firing thousands of people for AccuStaff, Brady realized that the old model for downsizing, rather than helping people apply their talents effectively, kept people moving to jobs where they were still in constant fear of the pink slip.

In her effort to shift the downsizing paradigm, Brady and her partner, Pamela Parker Duncan, have started Career Development Solutions LLP, a human resources downsizing and career coaching company located on the Southside.

“Downsizing used to mean, and still does mean, giving people a check and helping them find a new job in the same industry,” said Brady, a Long Island, N.Y. native who moved to Antigua with the Navy when she was 17. “We’re going to help people evaluate their vision and use downsizing as the catalyst for doing something better.”

They’re calling it Project Pink Slip. It’s a concept that changes downsizing from the worst thing in the world to the best, by challenging the employee to reevaluate where they want to go in life. Brady is convinced that everything happens for a reason and she wants to take that kind of spirituality and apply it in the working world.

Brady met Duncan at a coaching function in Jacksonville months after exchanging a few e-mails about a big idea. After brainstorming on the beach and writing a business plan, Brady and Duncan are ready to move forward, focusing on the one aspect that has until now been forgotten — change.

“Everybody is different,” said Brady. “We help people navigate in this complicated world to get where they want to go by using change as a reason to improve.”

Essentially, Career Development Solutions wants to apply more strategic thinking to an antiquated process. They want to be results-oriented and forward-focused, flexible and inexpensive. They want to bring passion and energy to something everybody hates — getting a pink slip.

Brady moved to Jacksonville 12 years ago and ascended through the ranks of AccuStaff by speaking her mind and making radical decisions.

When the Jacksonville startup,, told Brady she “wasn’t a good fit,” it was a new feeling. Until then, she had only been promoted in life. “When I emotionally processed it, I realized, it’s OK not to be a good fit,” said Brady.

She started her own business and began working with all kinds of people in transition — nurses who want to start yoga practices, CEOs who want to be yacht captains and hundreds of people who don’t know what they want to do.

“People have no idea how horrible downsizing can be, especially for people who are used to being the president,” said Brady. “We create a strategy. We talk about obstacles. We talk about steps to the goal and we put together an action plan. Then we follow up with weekly meetings to gauge where clients are in the process.”

Brady is continuing to fine tune her techniques. She is constantly taking coaching courses by phone and online, updating her methodology.

“You would be amazed at what miraculous things can happen if you just write down your goals,” Brady said. “Twelve years ago I wrote that I wanted to be on the speaking tour and live by the ocean. Well, my house is half a block away and I give a lot of speeches.”

One of the programs that Brady recommends is the Gold Genie. It’s a little genie that pops up on your computer screen and reminds you of your spiritual, physical and career-oriented goals. But certainly, that’s no substitute for meeting with a live coach.

For about $150 an hour, Brady will help plot an effective strategy for a new career. A three-month session at an hour a week is $1,500.

Brady said she meets a lot of people who are “settlers,” perfectly comfortable with leading boring lives even though they know they are capable of more.

“Remember the four P’s,” she tells them, “Passion, planning, perseverance and perpetuation. But never forget about dreaming either.”

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