Chief of Staff, Operations at VirtualHealth Dana Levin-Robinson knew she wanted to make a change in her career, so she just went for it. The marketer-turned-operations-expert had to completely reframe her professional experience to try something new, but she has loved every second of her switch up.
Recently, Levin-Robinson shared how she overhauled her career path, how she's challenged people who question her professional decisions, and how she makes the most of every career stepping stone. She also clued us in on the outfit we should all have in our business closets — and what books we should all have on our shelves.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Dana Levin-Robinson
Chief of Staff, Operations at VirtualHealth
Greater New York City Area
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
I had an indirect path into startup operations. I started my career in advertising working on large pharma clients, realized I wanted more hands-on work, and actually started working as my company's head of marketing.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
I'm most proud of how I was able to go from marketing to business development to operations within 1.5 years at VirtualHealth; it's the exact reason why I love startups. I knew I didn't want to end up in marketing my whole career, but I assumed that it would take a few more jobs to make a change. But one of the many reasons I love VirtualHealth is that there's no ceiling to how fast you can grow.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
I had a very difficult time getting a job in tech coming from advertising. Most companies, especially startups, assumed I wouldn't want to get my hands dirty and I was told multiple times I was too senior for a role. It took many, many interviews and reframing my experience during those interviews to end up where I am.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?
I can’t choose anyone except my mom, who gives me the best advice in every part of my life. I was raised to believe that I can be a CEO and have a family. I was raised to look for things that excite me, not to follow the path of highest grades. Even now, I speak with my mom every day.
What do you do when you're not working?
I’m normally at home cooking, watching TV with my husband, or reading the New Yorker (I’ve read every single one since I was 15!).
Lightning Round: What is your karaoke song?
"That Don’t Impress Me Much" by Shania Twain. Have you seen that leopard outfit in the video?
Lightning Round: What is your favorite movie?
Notting Hill. I can’t help it — I love my Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.
Lightning Round: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
I'm going to cheat a bit and choose the Game of Thrones series as one book.
Lightning Round: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
I have a new obsession with jumpsuits — it’s one outfit, generally flattering, and... pants!
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Think of every job as having three components: the responsibilities, the salary, and the company itself. Very few people get the ideal version of all three of those in one role, especially during a career transition. Look at every job you take as something that gets you closer to your dream position.
Why do you love where you work?
I’m extremely lucky to work at a place that doesn’t need to focus on improving diversity; 50% of leadership and 45% of the company is female. Most importantly, I’m surrounded by ambitious, smart, and collaborative people.