HR ELE invites employees to participate in small group life/career design series 

Based on the bestseller Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans of Stanford University, this small group program is a relevant and practical experience that we co-create together—an intentional space to focus on your life and career design, with thought-provoking activities and discussions, supportive peers and a Designing Your Life Coach to support you.  

HR Employee Learning and Engagement invites interest from employees who wish to participate in spring 2024 small groups.   

About the series:

The goal of the experience is to support you in building your way forward—which may mean growing or leveraging skills differently in your current role, envisioning and working toward potential promotional opportunities within the university in the near future, and/or contemplating a shift in focus or path at some point.  

Each group session will involve discussions, coaching, reflections and activities. Between sessions you will read relevant chapters of Designing Your Life—it’s a light and interesting read! Together we’ll work through discussions and design thinking activities that will help you to Get Curious, Talk to People, Try Stuff and Tell Your Story.  

Here’s what previous participants shared about their experiences: 

“I was feeling stuck and unsure what my next step should be. This program helped me think of opportunities I hadn’t considered and provided low-risk ways to evaluate options. I felt as though I needed to continue following the planned career path—through Designing Your Life and Career I realized the linear path was not aligned with my vision for the future.” 

“The cross-functional connection with colleagues across the university helped me feel more connected to Vanderbilt’s work and mission, which motivated me in my work, as well.”  

“What I found most enlightening during this experience is how there is always a new way to learn and reach creativity again. The certain areas in my life that were either dormant or underdeveloped were revealed in this coaching small group workshop. I was able to become motivated again with clear opportunities to be successful and fulfilled.”

As a participant in this program you will: 

  • explore and practice design thinking mindsets 
  • engage in design thinking activities during and between group sessions to get curious, talk to people, try stuff and tell your story 
  • contribute to creating a supportive environment of growth-minded individuals across Vanderbilt, both within your group session and within a collaborative virtual space 
  • leverage opportunities to collaborate, create accountability and gain fresh insights 
  • participate in group experiences (synchronous) over two to three months and (optional) individual coaching sessions 


This experience is open to Vanderbilt University employees and may be of particular interest to early- and mid-career professionals, those interested in exploring potential career paths and growth opportunities, and those looking for support around professional development and growth. A short application process is involved, as interest usually exceeds the number of seats available.  

To facilitate the best experience in this small group program, the number of seats is limited. We ask you to please check your schedule to ensure that you can participate in the scheduled program dates before applying for a seat. Your experience will be more meaningful and valuable when you fully participate in each group session.  


Spring 2024 small groups include: 

  • Group 1: Thursdays, 11 a.m.–12 p.m. (virtual), 2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22, 2/29, 3/7 
  • Group 2: Thursdays, 11 a.m.–12 p.m. (virtual), 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/18, 4/25

More information and interest form

If you are interested in participating in this small group coaching series, please visit the Designing Your Life and Career page and complete the interest form by Jan. 24, and we’ll be in touch. If you’d like to participate in a future small group, please complete the form and you’ll receive the first invitation to the next offering.  


This series is designed and led by Krista Vaught, who is a certified Designing Your Life coach and assistant director of employee learning and engagement on the Human Resources team.