Carla A. Fleming, CEO and Founder, Pivoting Strategies
What do a young person’s dreams of becoming a teacher, doctor and journalist, and, a boom-bust cycle have in common? The connection may not be obvious, but it started with a window opened by books. Reading exposed me to alternate worlds, ambiguities, and nuances. It expanded my horizons to dreaming wonderfully vivid career dreams and then learning to successfully craft successful outcomes when such things seem impossible. It allows me to empower CEOs at otherwise stuck, stagnating, or aspiring companies create new value, revenue streams, and excitement.
Growing up an insatiably curious kid in Philadelphia’s South Jersey suburbs, I looked forward to getting books as gifts. For my sixth birthday, I expected my parents to gift me another great book, but instead, they surprised me with a toy cash register. It was fun to play shop owner with my brother and sister as my customers. But books remained my passion; they stoked my creativity like no other gift. I devoured Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and James Bond mysteries, then graduated to autobiographies by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin. Books were my teachers as they stretched my knowledge of different countries, cultures, and how people think and overcome difficult challenges.
So, given my love of books, it seemed like becoming a teacher was to be my career destination. Whether it was mimicking my college professor uncle as I lectured my dolls or debating family members at the dinner table, I acquired knowledge through books but also empowerment. And I wanted to share it with whomever would listen.
As a teenager, I dreamed of becoming a doctor. Puzzling over symptoms to diagnose mysterious medical conditions greatly interested me. But then came the realization that I don’t like needles or blood.
That is when I considered my next career choice.
Growing up during the Watergate era, the movie All the President’s Men grabbed my attention. Writing for my high school newspaper, I loved asking questions, listening to multiple sides, and putting together an impactful story. In college I combined my latent interest in business with my journalism experience with the goal of running a newspaper.
After a career in sales, automotive industry, and book publishing, I worked in sales and lived through an accelerated three-year boom-bust technology cycle. I discovered that all this exposure helped me to see patterns and connections in evolving situations. My talent is being able to help others predict and anticipate the future trends so that changes are made to avoid, lessen, or mitigate the effects of the bust cycle. I want to help others find ways to grow even as the markets, customers, and product life cycles evolve.
And that’s what inspired me to launch my company, Pivoting Strategies.
At Pivoting Strategies, we help companies create and execute strategies to attract best customer prospects, retain customers and reward their loyalty, identify and enter new markets, and, become brilliantly effective brand storytellers.
My childhood experiences of budding medical diagnostician, tenacious journalist, enthusiastic shop owner, and six-year-old bookworm have provided me great utility in my adult life; they provide me a unique perspective on your business challenges and a gateway to providing you great opportunities for success.
So, that’s my story. Let’s meet up to discuss yours.
Carla has over 25 years of strategy and sales experience. She spent 20 years with IBM in a variety of marketing and sales positions building strategies to grow small, medium, and large enterprise markets, both nationally and globally. She has also worked for The Brookings Institution and with nonprofit organizations including The United Way of Alexandria as Board Chair and Marketing Committee Chair where she built the messaging for the local chapter that became the foundation for the Live United campaign of the United Way.
Carla has taught MBA level students at The George Washington University and at the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business.
She has B.S. in Management with a Concentration in Journalism and Mass Media for Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey and a M.B.A. in Marketing from The George Washington University.
Ready to pivot? Let’s talk.