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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.
So here’s the problem. You’re teaching Spanish in high school for a total of 24 years, and early on you notice your students are bored out of their minds. “I was, too,” says Jennifer Degenhardt. “I said, they need a story.” So she gathered up the “themes” and the vocabulary demanded by the curriculum and made up more interesting stories that put characters who mirrored her students — Hispanic, from underserved communities, a boy in a wheelchair, LGBTQ, or from economic disparities — and put them at the center of the action. “After three to four years of teaching [my first] book, I published it and kept writing,” says the author of now 17 books in Spanish, 6 in English, one in German, and three translated into French. Encouraged by her students, she self-published her first book on Kindle Direct, a subsidiary of Amazon. “It’s made my life very easy,” says Degenhardt. It’s a “step-by-step process… and you’re in charge of your own products and you can fix your own mistakes.” Her favorite quote which she put on her refrigerator and looked at every day? “If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working toward it.” And that’s just what she did.
When Joyce Shulman, CEO of 99walks.fit, came home in a bad mood one day during high school, her father suggested she go for a walk. “I didn’t know what was bugging me. I walked out the door and walked for two miles. I vividly remember feeling that when I walked back into the house my whole mood had shifted.” Shulman now offers her 12,000 members daily walking classes with coaches and meditations and preaches the research that shows just regular walking can add seven years to an individual’s life. But her path to walking wonderland was not a straight one. Shulman began life as a commercial litigator in New York City. After marrying, she and her husband launched the “world’s first nutrition bar for dogs, which grew to include cats and horses.” The business eventually fell apart and these serial entrepreneurs began creating the first pizza boxes with 4-color advertising. Fifteen years later they launched an e-newsletter for kids and families, and then, upon noticing the health crisis among women, 99walks. “The country was getting bigger and less well,” Shulman says. “And I was watching the rise of the loneliness epidemic…For me, walking with friends and for community has tremendous value.” Best of all, walking engages those “left behind from the fitness industrial complex.” She says: “Some older women never had a meaningful fitness program. They don’t feel like they have a place for them.” Shulman hopes that walking can also help be an answer to the depression and lack of movement caused by the pandemic.
Rebecca Moses knew from an early age she wanted to be a fashion designer. Graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), she landed her first job at Pierre Cardin and launched her own clothing line. On a trip to Italy to check out a factory, she fell in love with the owner. For 20 years Moses lived and worked outside of Milan and raised her two boys. But when her husband died suddenly in 2010, she tells CoveyClub founder Lesley Jane Seymour, her world turned “upside down.” Returning to New York City to raise her boys, she wrote a book (Rebecca Moses: A Life of Style), and dove into painting, illustration, and animations for organizations like the Fragrance Foundation and Bergdorf Goodman. The pandemic was “a frightening time for the entire world,” she says. “My family in Italy was in a very bad way. I could hear the sirens of ambulances which drove me crazy.” Feeling “helpless” and like she had to do something, Moses went onto Instagram and asked women to share the stories of their lives during the pandemic. She offered to draw them. “Letters flew in — humorous, sad, inspirational from six continents.” Moses “painted like a madwoman and didn’t sleep.” 400 portraits later, her project which she calls the Stay Home Sisters is going strong. “These women come from all walks of life: there is diversity in backgrounds, religion, careers. What happened next is the women connected with each other and said, ‘you’re not alone.’ It became a movement.” Moses is still taking entries! Some of the series will be shown at the Guggenheim and the portraits of nurses will be touring a hospital. “This past year witnessed lost of people revaluation gather lives,” Moses says. “Ask yourself, ‘Is this the life I want to live?’”
For 20 years, Dara Kurtz had a successful career in finance. “It was based on society’s definition of success — done with dollar signs and size of house.” At age 42, the words “you have cancer” stopped her dead in her tracks. “After that, I changed. I decided I [didn’t] want to go back. [Finance] didn’t speak to my heart.” Despite resistance from her husband, Kurtz quit her job and began to write a blog. “I didn’t know what I was doing… I didn’t know how to get from point A to point B.” Kurtz had always been a journal writer, penning her thoughts about the day to her daughters and placing her journal on their pillows to read. They would write back. “Going through breast cancer, that stopped. None of us were in that space to communicate,” she says. Years later she rediscovered the journals tucked away in a desk drawer. Also uncovered, a Ziplock bag of letters from her mom and grandmother. “I was blown away by how much wisdom they contained. I had a conversation with my mom 20 years after her death. I sat and sobbed… I could feel her personality and hear her words… I knew after reading those, she would have never wanted me to be stuck in grief or let her death impact my life. It was permission to go on with my life.” From that insight, her second book, “I Am My Mother’s Daughter: Wisdom on Life, Loss, and Love” was born.
“I use the heart chakra in relationship to money,” says Leisa Peterson, Founder of wealthclinic.com and author of “The Mindful Millionaire”. “The heart is about receiving. How great are you at receiving money? It plays out when you’re running a business and you don’t feel comfortable being paid for the value you offer to an employer or [to a] client. When we understand that this is a symptom, we look inside.” Peterson, who grew up in Northern California, began her career as a fit model to pay the bills, eventually segueing into an MBA in finance. In 2014, after losing her father, she decided to merge her interest in spirituality with her interest in finance and helping others build their businesses, create their brands, and messages. “The journey of maturing in life is what chakras — really an ancient form of psychotherapy — inspire… I found money is merely a physical manifestation of who you are.” For some, Peterson says, “fear is what’s under it all.”
When Broadway shut down on March 12, 2020, Margaret Skoglund was on the cusp of realizing her dream — of becoming a Broadway general manager. She’d already handled big shows from Mamma Mia! to The Lion King. “There are 41 disparate theaters on Broadway,” she tells CoveyClub founder, Lesley Jane Seymour. “There is no NFL, no MLB organization to mobilize all of us. There is a trade organization but no headquarters… I thought, ‘we’re not going to figure out how to get back into the theater any time soon’. People thought July… I decided it would be a year.” So Skoglund and a co-founder got busy, setting up a company called Virtual Broadway which “connects dancers, actors, music directors to corporate America.” She started by knocking on the doors of her college alumnae and asking: “Do you need a Hamilton actor to come teach motivational tips?” Turns out they did. A multinational financial firm celebrated their sales team with 45 minutes of specially designed online content. A group of attorneys were led in a stress-relieving wellness activity from actors in The Lion King. “The most fun is putting artists together who get to work at a moment that is devastating,” says Skoglund.