“What didn’t she do for me? Dedra was incredible. She helped me figure out what my interests were. She coached me through every step. She connected me to Andre McCaster, the president of Osborne. She even helped me after I got the job with life advice and coaching.” —Evan Marks
L–R: Evan Marks, Brie (Juran) Marks, and Dedra Perlmutter pause after a celebratory dinner marking Evan’s new job, his successful move to Cincinnati, and his upcoming wedding with Brie.
Online dating can be powerful—and this relationship was hitting on all cylinders. Not long after meeting on Jdate, a site that connects Jewish singles, Evan Marks and Brie Juran had fallen in love. Big-time. Fast-forward a heartbeat or two, and the couple was starting to dream of their shared, future life. However, before that future could be realized, Evan would need to clear some imposing hurdles. First, Evan would need to relocate from Toledo, where he lived and worked, to Cincinnati, where Brie lived and worked. Second, COVID-19 was in full bloom and impacting the job landscape. Third, when he wasn’t working or sleeping, Evan was earning his MBA. Fourth, the MBA would mean new opportunities, but in less familiar waters; Evan planned to shift from mechanical engineering to business administration. Fifth, Evan had almost no job-seeking experience; to his credit, he had connected with his first and only employer right out of college. It was no wonder, then, that Evan was starting to feel overwhelmed.
“Honestly, I was scared,” admitted Evan. “I don’t mind change, as long as it’s over time. But a lot of things in my life were shifting all at once. It was a lot to wrap my head around.” Fortunately for Evan, professional help was just around the corner: Brie had previously worked at JVS Career Services, in Cincinnati, and she knew how valuable the agency could be.
The person who would help Evan get over those hurdles was Dedra Perlmutter, Senior Career Coach at JVS Career Services. “Since Evan started his job search right near the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dedra, “he was able to do a lot of phone and virtual networking from Toledo, which was helpful. And so we had dozens of phone conversations, usually during his lunch hour. On the downside, we had to do all of his interview training remotely. Setting up his background environment; checking his attire; deciding where his chair should be placed; when he sat in his chair, how high or low the computer needed to be—and all of those things were before we even got to the typical question-and-answer prep we needed to do.”
The long-distance coaching would continue for months. During that time, Evan successfully got his MBA degree (in August of 2020) and proposed to Brie (on October 17, 2020) and she happily said “yes.” The job hunt, however, was beginning to feel like a long, slow slog with no end in sight. COVID was wreaking havoc on the economy. Companies were shutting down and job opportunities were increasingly limited. Dedra started having second thoughts about Evan’s goal of a career shift.
“By this time, they had already set a wedding date and we needed to get him down to Cincinnati as soon as possible,” Dedra said. “I suggested to him that he widen his search to include roles for a mechanical engineer. The career shift could always happen later.”
“Dedra was very, very patient with me,” said Evan. “I’m kind of set in my ways, like your stereotypical engineer. ‘I know what’s right,’ you know what I mean? And so, for example, Dedra wanted me to go through all this networking, and I was very reluctant to do that. I eventually did it, but not nearly as much as she wanted me to.”
Despite Evan’s reticence, networking would ultimately lead to the very break he was looking for. Dedra was constantly monitoring her professional networks, and one day, something new popped up. “A LinkedIn connection of mine put out a post saying he was looking for a mechanical engineer,” she said. “He is the president of a local coin-making company, and also a former client of mine. So I called Evan and he was fascinated. When he was growing up, he and his dad had shared a serious interest in coins, so he was excited about how perfect this sounded.”
Dedra let the company president know that she was working with someone who’d make “a great fit” and things started to fall into place. Evan came to Cincinnati for an in-person interview and the company, Osborne Coinage, was impressed. They wanted to take Evan through the next step. After a series of robust and intense testing, Osborne decided it would make Evan an offer.
When Evan texted Dedra with news that he’d been offered the job, she immediately called him to congratulate him. “It was so funny, I’ll never forget it. I was busting at the seams—jumping up and down and screaming, ‘Mazel tov!’ and Evan was just quiet. I asked, ‘Aren’t you happy, Evan?’ and he said, ‘No. I’m panicked.’ It was the best! I knew how hard he had worked for this, but he’d had so many changes happening at the same time: a new job, the wedding, selling a home, moving, finding a place, adjusting to a new city—like some of the most stressful things you can go through in life, and they’re all happening at once. And so I said, ‘Just calm down and do one thing at a time.’”
Evan followed Dedra’s advice: he sold his home; he made the move to Cincinnati; he married Brie on October 10, 2021; and he’s been with Osborne Coinage almost nine months now. “I think everything is going smoothly,” he said. “Osborne is a great place to work. There are wonderful opportunities here, and they have a great work-life balance.” Evan also feels that his MBA is being leveraged more than he expected. “Instead of being a design engineer, like I was in my previous job, I’m now more of a process engineer—in manufacturing.”
When asked to explain what, specifically, Dedra did for him, Evan turned the question around: “What didn’t she do for me? Dedra was incredible. She helped me figure out what my interests were. She coached me through every step. She connected me to Andre McCaster, the president of Osborne. She even helped me after I got the job with life advice and coaching.” Dedra wouldn’t deny she’d been helpful to Evan, and further added that her connections to Osborne remain active. “Evan and Andre don’t hesitate to reach out to me when they’re looking for quality job-seeking candidates.”
As for Evan and Brie’s dream of a shared, future life, it’s now a reality. “We are figuring out our finances so we can buy our first home. And someday soon, we hope to grow a family there.”