Get off the Bench Interviews Young Professional Rachelle Vyas
Rachelle Vyas currently works as a Program Manager at USIS, previously served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, has held positions at ManTech International, and is the quintessential example of a successful and driven young
professional. Vyas received her B.A. from Georgetown University and her MBA from George Washington University.
After reading Get off the Bench, Vyas realized that she was missing one very important aspect of developing a successful career – relationship building.
In our interview with Vyas, she discusses how Get off the Bench impacted her career, what she learned from the book as a young professional, and why the book is very relevant to other young executives.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and your role currently.
A: Growing up, I was always taught that the path to success was a good education. My father, being the former Imperial Minister of Culture and Education in Ethiopia, pushed me and my siblings to the best schools that this area had to offer: I attended the French International School, graduated from Walt Whitman High School, received my Bachelor’s from Georgetown University, and my MBA from The George Washington University. Additionally, I served in the United States Marine Corps for six years, attaining the rank of Captain.
Q: How did you hear about the book? What made you want to read Get Off the Bench?
A: After transitioning from the Marine Corps, I moved back to this area and began working for ManTech – where I met my mentor Mark Chadason. I felt that I had done everything that I had been taught – I had a great education, I had served my country honorably in billets often times much above my rank, and I had “checked the box” regarding letters of recommendations. So, why was it that I consistently saw my peers and colleagues, without my credentials or corporate ranking, moving up the corporate ladder before me?
As any over-achiever who is unwilling to accept failure would do, I began to obsess over figuring out the answer. Then, one evening, about three months ago, I began “googling” why I just could not get ahead in my career; and I stumbled upon Sid’s book.
“Instead of doing everything myself (contacting Executive Recruiters, for instance), I have placed an emphasis on connecting with like-minded folks and organizations and, most importantly, reconnecting with my expansive network – and letting it do the work for me.”
Q: What aspects of the book did you find most helpful?
A: After ordering it online, I read it aggressively once, then read it analytically a second time. I read it a third time, using the text to help me to conduct a self-analysis upon which I re-evaluated my professional strengths and weaknesses. I had read many books about “being successful”, but none of them inspired me and motivated me like Sid’s did.
I felt that throughout the text, he was talking to me, personally. I could readily identify that, without knowing it, I had become someone who “sits on the sidelines” and that I was not taking advantage of my tremendous network that I had amassed through work, school and my personal life.
Q: Has Get Off the Bench changed the way you are pursuing your career? Have you joined any new organizations etc?
A: Yes, absolutely. Instead of doing everything myself (contacting Executive Recruiters, for instance), I have placed an emphasis on connecting with like-minded folks and organizations and, most importantly, reconnecting with my expansive network – and letting it do the work for me. I no longer feel that I am pursuing my career in isolation, and thanks to my new approach, I have realized that there are many others who are willing and happy to help me grow professionally.
Q: What is your favorite quote from the book?
A: “Decide on your brand and build it. (…)The best way to achieve your desired brand is to become the person you want to be through hard work, investing in yourself and others, and honest reflection” (pgs. 55 and 57).
Q: Do you feel Get Off the Bench is relatable to young professionals? Why?
A: Yes, it is a “must read” for young professionals – especially those who are entering the work-force. It will help them to decipher the corporate puzzle and
to make strategic alliances and mentorships early-on, which will help them to drive
their career and help them to achieve their goal of succeeding in their industry.