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Join Lesley Jane Seymour as she talks with amazing women who have reinvented themselves in every way imaginable. These frank, fun, warm conversations unearth the tips and tricks women like you need to restart, reboot, or enhance your career or lifestyle. Interviews include: No. 1 Secret To Creating Your Personal Brand (Jennefer Witter), How to Motivate a Millennial and What To Do if You Work for One (Ann Shoket), When You Discover Your Father is a Spy (Eva Dillon), How to Find More Happiness Inside Yourself and in the World (Gretchen Rubin), How to Transform Your Body (Susan Hyatt), How to Shave Big $$$ Off Your Healthcare Bills & Reinvent Yourself, Too (Jeanne Pinder), How to Reinvent Yourself After Getting Your Boss Fired (Gretchen Carlson) and more. Click to listen to each podcast below or subscribe to Reinvent Yourself on iTunes, Podbean, or Spotify.
Are you a reinventor or know someone who is? We'd love to have you tell your story! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, contact information, social media links and your reinvention story.
When Ann Dowsett Johnston attended her son’s graduation from Smith College she felt a “deep pang” that she says sounded like, “I will die and never have done this.” With her son’s encouragement, Johnston applied to Smith and moved into the student dorm with 25-year olds the next year. “I had broken my ankle and was in a wheelchair,” she says. “I was as old as many parents or grandparents. It was a phenomenal experience.” After graduating Johnston, a Canadian, who had been a journalist, then vice-principal of McGill University, launched her career as a psychotherapist at age 67 dealing with women in transition–”to post-retirement, wrestling with substance abuse or career disappointment”. When she found she missed writing, she dug into a topic she knew well: alcohol addiction (she is now 13 years sober). In 2013, she wrote the best-selling book, “Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.” Today she runs memoir-writing workshops (“Writing Your Recovery”) in which she encourages women to tell their own stories of triumph over grief, substance, or burnout. “We have book proposals in the alumni group before international agents now,…articles in major magazines… pieces submitted to contests,” she says. “My approach to life is that we live in chapters. When friends are retiring, mine is fresh and inspirational. It’s very new. I plan to work until I’m eighty to pay off my student debt!”
“First thing: get clear on what you want,” says Jennifer Pate, the very practical founder of FealAgeless.com, a site dedicated to making women feel good about aging. “Take out paper and pen and write down how much time [you can dedicate to your reinvention]. Be realistic about what you can do.” Ask yourself, she says: “How much money do I need [to make]? What do I want to do? Can you name it? What are you good at? What do people compliment you on? The more you can define these things—things will start opening up.” That’s exactly how Pate made her way from being a professional dancer to casting director, co-author of a book ( “The Mothers of Reinvention”), and television contributor. Facing empty nest and turning 55 forced Pate to reassess what she wanted to do next and when she discovered “so many women at the height of their creativity and drive [who] felt we weren’t being talked to….I want to change the narrative of what it is to age today.”
“When someone wants to recreate themselves it’s not easy,” says Marlene Wallach, author of “Wellness is in Style–An Easy Guide to Body & Soul”, former co-owner (for 17 years) of modeling agency Wilhelmina International Partnership and founder of GleemBeauty.com. “You have to stick with it whatever it is–changing jobs, careers, industries. Go to conferences and walk up to the speaker and say, ‘I really admire you. I loved what you said and would love to contact you with an idea I had.’” That’s exactly how she snagged an interview with LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman for her book. “I wrote to him and his secretary said, ‘He doesn’t have time.’ That meant no. I wrote back four more times and sometimes just wrote a joke.” Wallach says she never looked at her moves as reinventions which sounds “overwhelming” but as next steps. “For me the next step is close, is easy. When I saw things not working, I went to the next step.”
“People go for their ‘type’ and that’s the worst for them,” says Sandy Weiner, dating expert, and CEO of LastFirstDate.com. “Women I work with are now in their sixties and they go for CEO types. They say, ‘I’m really attracted to his resume.’ But that doesn’t make for a good relationship. You need to focus on the long term: can this person talk to me, resolve conflict? Have they created a life for themselves or are they stuck blaming someone else for who they are today?” Weiner, who is also a life coach and founder of the site, Women of Value, finds many dating clients are too “airy-fairy” in their profiles which confuses men. She helps them create profiles designed to get men to think, “I’d love to meet this woman.” Quite a strange turn for a woman who graduated with a degree in art therapy, wandered through businesses in illustration and painting furniture, authoring children’s books, becoming a head writer for Nickelodeon, and eventually returning to school for her degree in coaching. When her 23-year marriage went south, Weiner found herself in midlife transition and dating again. “My friends were, too. But I was better at it and guiding them because of my training in coaching.” What has she learned? “Pay attention to your intuition. It holds the key to your ‘why’. Try things. Be bold. Make mistakes.”
When Debra Shriver left her native Alabama for Washington, DC, she was 26, newly married, and ready to step into a high-profile PR job. She spent the next 25 years overseeing public relations at Hearst Media, a role she still appreciates for the growth opportunities it offered. But when she felt called to reinvent her career, she acted on it. “If I didn’t like the situation, I was a really good cut and run artist,” she says. “I have perfected the quit.” She chose to exchange the fast-paced New York life for The Big Easy. An avid Francophile, she saw in New Orleans what she loved about France: the slower pace, the exquisite arts, and the almost Caribbean-like ease that softens each day. The city inspired a series of reinventions that led her to creating her own publishing firm, delving into photography, and writing several books of her own. Her latest, The French Leave, is an homage to both Paris and New Orleans, the cities that inspired her reinvention and captured her heart. In this conversation with Covey Club founder Lesley Jane Seymour, Shriver explains how she embraced the unbuttoned freedom of New Orleans life with a Lucy Ricardo sense of adventure. Her advice? “Don’t be the Ricky,” she says. “Life is too short.”
“I just turned 50, I was having my own perimenopausal challenges, even though I didn’t really understand that that’s what they were, and I wanted to go back to my roots of access to healthcare and supporting women,” says Catherine Balsam-Scwaber. “But I was so far along in my career that it was hard to imagine stepping out of what I did to try something different.”
The Connecticut native grew up thinking she wanted to be a doctor. And after jobs in politics, news, movies, media, toys, and even crafting, she actually did end up back in Connecticut, working in healthcare. The CEO of Kindra, a women’s health and beauty company focusing on menopause, talks to CoveyClub founder Lesley Jane Seymour about breaking down taboos and building up women’s confidence to find what’s right for them.