Fight For Yourself with Andy Storch - talent development

I’m joined today by a fellow author, podcaster, speaker and coach, Andy Storch. Andy is the host of two podcasts including The Talent Development Hot Seat and the Own Your Career Own Your Life Podcast as well as the author of the book “Own Your Career Own Your Life.” Andy also is the founder and host of the new Talent Development Think Tank conference and community.

In this conversation, Andy shares his experience in talent development and what led him to launch his online group, the Talent Development Think Tank Community. He also shares some ideas from his book, “Own Your Career Own Your Life,” and the challenges of launching a book while undergoing treatment for cancer. If you’re ready to shift your career and your mindset, this episode is for you.

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This episode of Punk Rock HR is sponsored by the Shift Career Summit on June 17. Mary Ellen Slayter of Managing Editor and I are bringing together some of the biggest names in the world of work to help you take control of your career and talent development. The event is completely free, and you can register today at We’ll see you there!

What the Heck is Talent Development?

Andy Storch has spent years developing the skills and strengths of workers, but only recently did his field get a title that reflected its mission. A lot of people don’t know what talent development is. Veterans of the world of work likely think the term is simply a fancy way of saying “training.” But according to Andy, that’s not quite right. He describes talent development as “enabling, empowering and developing the people in your organization and your circle to help them do their job better and grow in their careers.” Andy’s vision of talent development includes technical training and soft skills (or “power skills”).

The role of talent development is important for any company, but the individual who works in that role can often be a department of one. Andy noticed that many workers in the talent development community were struggling when the coronavirus pandemic hit. So he launched the Talent Development Think Tank Community in the middle of 2020. Since then, the community has experienced rapid growth which Andy contributes to human nature. “I think that humans are social creatures,” he said, “We need community. We need colleagues. We need people that we can connect with to find out what’s going on.”

Own Your Career (and Your Life, Too)

In 2020, both Andy and I were hard at work publishing books with realistic career advice for people who were fed up, burned out or craving something better for their careers. (What can I say, great minds think alike!) Andy’s book aims to inspire readers and provide them with a road map for how they can take ownership of their careers and own their life.

According to Andy, some of the worst career advice on the internet is the idea that you would be happier if you were your own boss. “I see a lot of these messages out there saying, ‘if you don’t like your job, you need to quit the 9 to 5 and go start your own business … but it is not right for everyone.” We all know talented people who are valuable to the organization they work for but have no interest in entrepreneurship. So what advice can actually help them begin their journey to owning their career? There’s no one answer, but Andy has some suggestions for where you can start.

“Start with self-reflection,” suggests Andy, and ask yourself, “Why do you feel you’re unhappy? What is causing that? Maybe if you change that, everything will be fine.” Once you check-in with yourself, you can begin to get intentional about your career and your life so you can take responsibility, and find fulfillment and happiness.

Prioritizing Personal Well-Being When it Matters Most

At the same time that Andy’s book was launched, he received a shocking diagnosis. At age 40, he had a book coming out, a growing online community, a global pandemic impacting every level of his life and business, and a life-altering diagnosis: testicular cancer. When asked what it was like trying to launch a book and maintain a business while going through chemo, Andy said, “it’s been a lot of ups and downs. A lot of days on the couch when I really wanted to be building a business.”

But Andy hasn’t let his diagnosis keep him from pursuing his goals and owning his life. When it comes to mindset, Andy has kept things positive and prioritizes his well-being so he can get back to chasing his dreams. “Just like with our jobs, with our career, with our business, there are those challenges that come up that are just awful. And then you’re like, ‘I don’t want to do this,’ but then you get through it,” Andy said, “and you often learn from the experience, and you get better.”

People in This Episode