Rey Vakili on the Unconventional Career Path That Led Her to a Dream Role

Instagram / @reyvakili

Do you ever have those moments when you feel as though you haven’t truly found your calling yet? Like, you know it’s out there, and you’re enjoying the job you’re in, but something inside you is niggling at you, telling you to dig deeper?

Well, yeah, us too.

It’s okay to not know what you want to do. A lot more people than you’d think feel exactly the same way. But just because you don’t feel settled in your career path right now, doesn’t mean what you’re doing isn’t a crucial step to getting you to where you’re meant to be.

On episode five of POPSUGAR Australia’s podcast Dinner For Two, Managing Director of the world’s largest influencer marketing platform LTK and an all-round inspirational career queen, Rey Vakili chats about her unconventional path to her role today.

From studying at Yale, to being Anna Wintour‘s assistant — yes, she literally lived our Devil Wears Prada fantasy IRL — to working at LTK in London and starting her own small businesses, Vakili has reached corners of career and education that some of us can only dream of.

But she didn’t plan it that way. In fact, to majorly simplify it, she sent out a bunch of resumes to everywhere in New York and things just sorta when from there.

At first, Vakili thought she wanted to be a lawyer, but she ended up doing a Liberal Arts degree instead and a took detour working at Vogue in New York where she learnt that there’s so much that goes into a fashion magazine than just choosing aesthetics. At Vogue, she met one of her mentors, Indra Rockefella, who put the idea of business school inside her head. And the rest? It’s history.

She began working at LTK — formerly Reward Style — in London, which then led her to doing her MBA at Standford. I mean, the gal has really done it all. And now, fast forward a few years, Vakili is back in her home country of Australia, working as the managing director of LTK Australia.

“[In this role,] I’m allowed to have an off switch with LTK, because it’s not my business,” she tells Dinner For Two podcast host Alyce Tran, who is actually also her colleague at LTK. “Working in a team, for a large organisation, you can have a better work life balance because rest time is expected.”

Another perk of working for a big corporation is that you can find mentors within the business, she says. Whereas working for yourself forces you to find those people organically, and surround yourself with people that can support you along the way.

“There’s this element of security that comes with working for someone else,” she says. “My job currently is a happy medium between being an employee and starting your own business, because we get the freedom to build this Australian branch in a way that we think it will succeed, but we’re doing so within brand guidelines that are already strong, you know?”

So while it sounds like she has the perfect job, and has aaaall her sh*t together, Vakili assures Tran, she doesn’t, and that she honestly had no idea what she wanted to do when she first started her career.

“If you don’t start something, you won’t know if you’ll like it. I just tried heaps of things, found things I loved along the way, and eventually a role that really suits me. I think that as long as you give everything a go, you’re gaining something in the process of trying.”

Within the work that both Tran and Vakili are doing now, a combination of working for themselves and other companies, both say they couldn’t picture their exact roles before they were in them.

Career paths are always evolving. Just like companies and brands are adapting and changing to an ever-changing world, more roles and opportunities are created that aren’t actually apparent until you’re really in it.

It’s funny we used to think of careers this linear journey. You choose a career path, you go to uni, you get a job and you’re set. And sure, some people’s journeys look like that. But many don’t. If you’re not sure what you want to do, that’s not a weakness, it just means that the world is your oyster and you gotta get out there and try all the things that interest you.

You can listen to the full episode below.

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