Name: Dr. Lori Whatley
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Education: PsyD (clinical psychology Doctorate)

How did you determine what you wanted to study in college (and grad school if applicable!)?

My undergraduate degree is in Interpersonal Relations/Public Speaking. I have always known I wanted to have a career involving one on one work as well as speaking to large groups and writing. I also knew I wanted it to involve the study of human behavior as it fascinates me and always has. I have been able to have a decades-long career doing exactly what I love.

Walk us through your initial job search strategy and how you landed your first full-time role. 

I began my career as a therapist and then added teaching college psychology. Both jobs I loved. I knew that after I raised a family I wanted to still have a private practice but also branch into social psychology and writing. Writing a book has always been on my bucket list and I have now done that and it was a great experience. 

How did you go from that first role to your current role—what was that journey like for you?

The journey for me has been long and also fulfilling. I mapped out each way I wanted to use my degree and schooling and have implemented these different preferences as time passed and opportunities became available to me. 

What advice do you have for young women who want to get into your industry/profession?

I love my job and it doesn’t seem like work to me. I think all women must choose a career they enjoy and be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Long hours and work on weekends might be necessary to excel to the top of your industry; be willing to do those things no one else wants to do. That’s how you set yourself apart and reach your dreams and career goals. Opportunity often appears in working roles and we have to recognize them and go for it.

What has been your biggest career “hurdle” and what did you learn from it? 

Learning to juggle many roles while also remaining peaceful and finding time for everything. Having good boundaries and sticking to them. These have been nonnegotiables for me on my path. 

Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support? 

I have had many mentors along the way. All of which added special elements of learning on my journey. I think it is essential to have a mentor and then also be a mentor to others. We can’t just take, we must also give and there is great learning and growth in giving. Sharing is caring. 

What does collaboration over competition mean to you? 

There is enough work and success out there for us all. We must always be willing to give a hand up to those just beginning on their paths. We have special knowledge that we can share about the journey and it is our responsibility to share. Healthy competition is ok but being willing to help another is a must. That’s what life is all about and it makes it so much richer for us when we give back through sharing with others our knowledge and experience. 

Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their education and career goals?

Set your goals. You must have a plan. How will you get where you are going if you don’t know what the destination is? You can veer from the path a bit along the way if you find it is needed but set your goals and then work hard to reach them. Never give up. Always be willing to work harder than the others and you will find your opportunities in this. Walk your authentic path and stay focused on your goals. Be careful, there are many distractions but when you stay focused you will reach your goals. Then help another reach theirs.

If you are open to connecting with our readers, how can they reach you?

I am always excited to connect with others and I can be reached through my website I would love to be connected and engaged with your readers.