Doug Lester

Executive Coach and Career Strategist

Doug Lester

As the Founder and Principal of Career Narratives, it’s been my mission to help MBAs and career-minded professionals get clear on their personal vision, tell their stories in the most compelling way possible, and take the action necessary to achieve their goals.


I work with established and aspiring mission-driven leaders in a variety of for-profit industries. Most often, the people I work with are focused on consumer products and services, healthcare, health and wellness, and tech. All hope to make the world a better place through their work.


I started coaching early in my career.

When I was working my way up from marketing manager to executive director at Neutrogena (that’s Johnson & Johnson for those who might not know), I was drawn to leading recruiting for the marketing department. Working on recruiting at J&J was a chance to get out of the office, meet new people, and be a part of helping them move ahead in life. I also found myself counseling junior employees and providing perspective as they navigated the early stages of their careers. 

Some of my colleagues thought doing these things was a burden. I thought it was a privilege.


Coaching was part of my job as an executive recruiter.

It’s a long story, but after graduating from Yale, working for non-profits in New York City, getting an MBA from Wharton, and then spending 10 years as a marketer and manager in consumer products and healthcare, I found myself at a top 20 executive search firm. Being an executive recruiter provided an opportunity to spend most of my time meeting new people, learning about their personal narratives, and helping them achieve some of their greatest career and life goals. 

Notice the pattern yet?


Facilitating positive change for people and for society is core to my personal values.

The executive search firm I joined — Isaacson, Miller — exclusively serves mission-driven organizations. Not only was I helping individual people, but I was also helping to support positive change in the world through the firm’s clients. 

It was a privilege.

I often felt I was having the most impact when I was helping candidates decide whether or not an opportunity might be the right one for them. There were so many important and meaningful considerations. What types of challenges, activities and culture were the best fit? Would the new role make sense in the overall trajectory of their career? Would the role’s requirements be compatible with the obligations they already had or anticipated in their personal lives? 

Given that I was typically working with senior leaders, I also helped the candidates in my searches evaluate a role they might be considering as a means of creating a legacy that would fulfill their personal aspirations and goals. 

I loved these conversations. And I was gratified to facilitate them. Now, as a coach, conversations like these are the focus of my work.


Whether it's been working with alumni and students at the Harvard Business School, leading an executive coaching program for a Fortune 100 company, or working with business leaders through Career Narratives, I have the privilege of engaging in transformative conversations with clients every day.


And when I’m not coaching...

I might be writing a blog post about self-assessment, networking, interviewing or leadership. I might also be working on a digital course.

People who know me well know that I've:

  • Performed with an orchestra twice as a piano concerto soloist when I was a kid
  • Worked as an eighth-grade school teacher in St. Petersburg, Russia just as the Soviet Union was dissolving
  • Spent a summer traveling around Siberia for Estée Lauder — really
  • Moved across the country twice as a trailing spouse (I’m married to a physician — other people married to doctors know what I'm talking about)
  • Raised over $360,000 to establish Boston’s first dog park
  • Set ridiculously high standards for myself when entertaining (I’m trying to get more real about that one)
  • Made a hobby of growing some really good swiss chard and kale in my garden


That’s my story. Why not share yours?

I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. If you’d like to chat, just reach out.

Send me a message, or sign up for an introductory call or Zoom.

Or if you're not quite ready to talk, we can still be in touch.

Get updates about my weekly blog posts and other resources that are designed to help you advance your career.

Either way, I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

Doug - signature