A Personal Journey to Meaningful Work

Dan Smolen has enjoyed a truly meaningful career journey and he wants to take you along the path to finding your own. He is a nationally recognized author, podcaster, serial entrepreneur, workforce thought-leader, and heartfelt advocate for people who dream big dreams of doing meaningful work.

While in college, Dan was an on-air reporter and assistant news director who loved being on the radio. But upon graduation, he pivoted away from broadcasting to the marketing agency world where his clients included: American Cancer Society, American Express, Cadillac, Pepsi, 3M Company, and Toys R Us. During that time, Dan earned a U.S. patent for his invention that allows marketers to continually gather the personal preferences of their opted-in consumers.

In 1998, Dan escaped corporate life to become an executive recruiter in advertising, marketing, and market research. In 2005, he opened Dan Smolen Direct Search, LLC; when the firm’s focus expanded to include sustainability, clean energy, and social responsibility, he rebranded it as The Green Suits, LLC. Then, in 2010, Dan published the book Tailoring the Green Suit: Empowering Yourself for an Executive Career in the New Green Economy.

But, at the start of 2018, Dan closed his company and exited “headhunting” altogether. His parting words:

“Throughout a rewarding 20-year-run, during which I placed hundreds of best-match senior and mid-level professional talent in client companies, I recognized that even my most successful outcomes did not guarantee the long-term happiness of the parties involved in the process, especially the candidate.

 What is more, I discovered that an increasing number of my candidates expressed a longing to do meaningful work—work that is self-directed, profound, benefits people and the planet, and provides them with satisfaction.

 My new purpose is to help workers like my former clients and candidates, but also many others whom I have never helped, follow their dreams to do meaningful work.”

To that end, The Dan Smolen Experience was born. And being the Host and Executive Producer of The Tightrope with Dan Smolen Podcast returned him to his happy place behind the microphone, capturing great stories from amazing professionals in academia, business, healthcare, public service, and nonprofits, who overcame great odds and daunting obstacles to do the work of their dreams—meaningful work.

A native of New Haven, Connecticut, Dan is a graduate of The Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. He and his family reside in the Washington, D.C. area.