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Episode 195: "Best Piece of Advice for Relaunchers" 4th of July Compilation Episode

Episode Description

Combining the "Best Piece of Advice" from 8 episodes of "3, 2, 1, iRelaunch," you'll hear from Anandi Krishnan on relaunching in scientific research with an NIH Career Reentry Grant; relaunching veteran Ashley-Bria Leo at the start of her Return to Work program; military spouse Karen Golden on the critical role of volunteering in her relaunch; Hang Tran on relaunching in market research; Lori Banov Kaufmann on being a "serial" relauncher; Amy Impellizzeri on relaunching as a published author; relauncher Rochelle Nemrow on the growth and sale of her company; and Charlotte Japp on navigating the intergenerational workforce when relaunching. Be sure to listen to the full podcast content from each of these special guests in previous episodes.

Read Transcript

Carol Fishman Cohen: Welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch, the podcast where we discuss strategies and advice and success stories about returning to work after a career break. I'm Carol Fishman Cohen, the CEO and co-founder of iRelaunch and your host. Today, we put together a special compilation episode in which we share some of the best tips and advice from previous podcast guests.

We hope you enjoy it.

We welcome Anandi Krishnan. As a Stanford Medicine newsletter reported back in 2017, Anandi was on a fast track to a promising academic research career. A research fellow at Duke University, she had earned a PhD in bioengineering from Penn State in less than four years and was the lead author of eleven scientific papers. But a complicated pregnancy, illness in her family and time off to care for her newborn child, led to a career break in 2007. While she feared that the extended leave might end her research career, she was awarded a National Institutes of Health career reentry grant in 2016, that enabled her to move from a staff position at Stanford, back into research.

Today, we want to learn about that NIH career reentry grant, exactly what was involved in being awarded one, and find out how it enabled Anandi to relaunch her career in scientific research which led to the work she's doing today. Anandi, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Anandi Krishnan: Thank you, Carol. It's my pleasure to be here. Thanks for the invite.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yes, we are so thrilled that you are here. And I wanted to ask you the question that we ask all of our podcast guests, and that is what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Anandi Krishnan: Thank you for saying that, Carol. And the picture I have in my head as I try to answer that is your iRelaunch Conference here at Stanford, that's the first time, you might remember, that I spoke with you or someone else. And I said, "I'm not sure what I could add, and I'm not sure you need someone." I didn't know what I could add there, but I remember coming there and finding so many folks who wanted to hear from me and wanted to see, "Oh, how did you do this?" And so to all of them, I will say again, whoever is interested in especially signs that I can speak to. That there's always an opportunity and it doesn't have to be this exact track.

Another potential track that I myself had considered is, you can come back as a postdoctoral fellow into any lab. You can try and immediately soon after help them write a grant that can fund yourself. There are possibilities, especially for science. And I was saying this to Carol earlier, that science and scientists are a highly welcoming community, especially in today's world. I give one thousand shouts to our scientists and the scientific institutions, which are safe havens.

Any of you who are interested, never think you cannot pursue. Please reach out to those whose interests match yours. And if you don't hear, everyone has packed schedules, their schedules are tight, just reach out again.

One thing you could do when you're in your camp that is within your own control, is to keep your writing skills updated. For example, writing a scientific understanding, thinking, and literature understanding, it's a wide internet world. Anywhere you can understand these things. And that way you are ready when there is an opportunity. That way you can always write up a short statement of research. And any serious investigator, anyone who understands science will appreciate that.

So those are the things I would say. Keep up with your skills, stay up to date, keep up with the literature if you can, keep up your writing skills, if you can, and keep on reaching out.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's such excellent advice. And I'm so glad you told people if they don't hear back right away to reach out again. That's advice that resonates beyond the scientific community, but really to any relauncher, because we have so many relaunchers who might, and this has happened to me too, that you reach out to someone you don't hear anything and you think "I guess the person really doesn't have any interest in being connected with me." And then you reach out again and they'll write, "Oh, I missed this the first time, or it went into my spam," or something.

You realize, this had nothing to do with me or our relationship, or if the person had any interest, it was just that they didn't even get the first one, or they somehow missed it. So I love that you said that, Anandi, thank you so much for joining us today.

Anandi Krishnan: Thank you, Carol. Thanks for what you do for not just reentry scientists, but across the board. Great work.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Ashley-Bria Leo. Ashley-Bria is a relauncher who spent four years in military intelligence for the US Air Force followed by an entrepreneurial venture. While on career break, she pursued her MBA and discovered the brand new Wells Fargo Glide relaunch program. She applied and was one of the few accepted to this competitive return to work internship program.

Ashley-Bria also attended our recent virtual iRelaunch Return to Work Conference and reported on LinkedIn how valuable she found it. We will talk to Ashley-Bria about her career path, her relaunch, and what she is thinking at this moment before she starts her return to work program. Ashley-Bria, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Ashley-Bria Leo: Thank you so much, Carol. I'm super excited to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: I'm so excited to be speaking with you. What is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Ashley-Bria Leo: I would say that my best piece of advice is, it's really just the recipe that I used during this process, which is practice and research leads to confidence.

We hear a lot as relaunchers, and just as regular interviewers, "Hey, you need to be really confident. Confidence is key to acing an interview." And that's really easy to say when you haven't been out of work for X amount of time. So I find that what leads me to feel my most confident is getting in a ton of practice and doing a lot of research.

So I've already shared what plays into my research before interviewing for any role. But also a lot of my time prior to interviewing was spent practicing. What people don't know is, that morning, I woke up at 4:00 AM and by 5:00 AM, I was in my office and I had a whiteboard up with all of my stories from my past work experiences that I wanted to share, about times that I led teams and times that I overcame challenges. Just not paragraphs, but little sentences to give me a little reminder. That's the benefit of being able to interview over the phone during COVID. But I spent a lot of time practicing those stories out loud and knowing my story inside and out so that when I conveyed it to someone else, they would have a clear understanding of why I took my career break, what I'm looking for, where I'm going, what I'm capable of.

Having that practice and doing that research made me feel very confident by the time I was at my interview to know that I was able to represent myself in a strong way.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Ashley-Bria. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Ashley-Bria Leo: Thank you so much for having me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Karen Golden. Karen is a military spouse who worked as a social worker, but never got licensed because of her frequent moves. We're going to talk more about that. Karen relaunched her career at the Military Officers Association of America as Deputy Director Government Relations, covering military family issues, including spouse employment, after years of strategic volunteering as an advocate, educator and volunteer manager in military family organizations. During her husband's active duty career, Karen and her family moved twelve times, including an international post. Karen welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Karen Golden: Carol, thank you so much for having me here today. I look forward to talking to you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thanks. Karen, what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience?

Karen Golden: I think that's a great question. I think it's key when you're on a career break to stay active, to stay engaged and to look for those, you said it best, Carol, those strategic volunteer opportunities.

That truly served a twofold purpose for me. Number one, it fed my soul, very important that it really gives you a sense of purpose and a sense of accomplishment. It feeds your soul and drives your passion. I chose opportunities that did that, but also used my skill set and helped me hone my skill set, to develop new skills. And for my skills, using those fundamental social work skills, advocacy skills.

I think when you combine those two things and you find that strategic volunteering opportunity, I do believe that in your career breaks, you can use that during that time. They become very meaningful. They're meaningful on a resume. They will help you get noticed. And I think they will serve you well when you engage in workforce reentry.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thanks for joining us today, Karen.

Karen Golden: Thank you, Carol, so much. I really appreciate you having me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Hang Tran. In 2017, Hang returned to work as a market research and consumer insights professional in Miami, Florida, after staying at home full-time to care for her children for seven years. In 2016, she was jobless. It took her over a year to find the job that she loved. And ultimately she was even nominated for the employee of the year and featured on the company website for her impact on customer experience and internal collaboration.

Hang told us, "People often think that because I had an Oxford MBA and graduated as the top student from University of Arizona, things must have been very easy for me when I tried to go back to work. In reality, it was very challenging, especially when I was looking for a job in Miami where Spanish fluency is almost always a prerequisite for any marketing job. English is not my native language and I didn't speak Spanish well enough for work. So I started by volunteering thirty hours a week for six months at a local startup at a hospital, helping them with marketing and research. It helped give me more recent work-related stories to tell hiring managers, and it boosted my confidence as well.

I'm grateful to my recruiters and the hiring managers who were willing to take a chance on me. We talked to Hang about how she went from "feeling like a dinosaur" and not knowing what she wanted to do to where she is today. Hang, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Hang Tran: Thanks Carol for having me here today, I have been a fan of you and iRelaunch. Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to help many people go back to work.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thank you so much for having this conversation with us. What is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something we've already talked about today?

Hang Tran: First, when we look for a job after a long break, it is normal that we get a lot of rejection emails. That is part of the process. I applied to over a hundred positions and got only a handful of interviews, and didn't get the first good offer until a year later. So just be patient.

Secondly, for people who stay at home to care for family members, we have so much to give to the employer. And why I say that, because when you stay at home, it takes a lot of compassion, a lot of patience and humility to do this job. And those are the great traits of a leader as we go back to work and bring those great traits with us. I am absolutely certain that we will create a lot of value for the company that we work with.

Last but not least, we just have to keep on learning. I think that we go back during this time, it is a very good time because we have so many online resources available and very often for free or at a very minimal cost. I could name Udemy, Coursera, edX, Udacity, YouTube, and we just have to keep on learning and never give up.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That is such excellent advice. Three pieces of great advice. Hang, thank you so much for joining us today.

Hang Tran: Thank you, Carol.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Lori Banov-Kaufmann. As someone who, to quote Lori, "Has had about six careers culminating as a published author with her first young adult historical fiction novel," Lori will talk about her serial relaunching, including launching and running a tech strategy consulting firm, a corporate relaunch with Sesame Street, an exciting entrepreneurial venture involving a lice removal device, and now her book contract with Random House. There were lots of starts and stops along the way. And Lori will talk about how her career path ebbed and flowed with each successive relaunch. Lori is talking to us from Tel Aviv, Israel, where she has lived for over thirty years. She's married and has four adult children. Lori, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Lori Banov Kaufmann: Thanks, Carol. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Lori, what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Lori Banov Kaufmann: I think that you need to be kind to yourself when life doesn't go according to plan. And you need to be open to having a career that doesn't tell a coherent linear story. Be open to different opportunities, even if you don't think they're leading to the place you imagined you were going to get to. Because you will learn from all of your opportunities and you have to be open to all the coincidences and the things that fall into your lap. And I guess my next piece of advice is, if you do feel like you would like to write something, don't wait until you're fity to start. And don't give up, keep going. And if you keep going, you eventually will get there.

Carol Fishman Cohen: I really loved also what you said about feeling comfortable with the disjointed career, that it doesn't follow a progression or tell this neat story that's all kind of tied up in a bow, but there's something significant about each experience that's meaningful for you as the individual and to own that.

Lori Banov Kaufmann: I agree.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wonderful. Best of luck with that, Lori. And thank you so much for joining us today.

Lori Banov Kaufmann: Thank you. Thank you so much, Carol. It's been a pleasure.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Amy Impellizzeri. After spending thirteen years as a corporate litigator in New York City, Amy left to write and advocate for working women, and eventually women entrepreneurs as VP of Community and Designer Relations for Shopfunder, LLC. After her first novel Lemongrass Hope, which debuted in October, 2014 as an Amazon bestseller, Amy became a full-time writer.

Amy also has a non-fiction book published by the American Bar Association called Lawyer Interrupted, which is a how-to guide for leaving the practice of law, something she says about half of all lawyers want to do. Amy is the past president of the Women's Fiction Writers Association, and a proud member of the Tall Poppy Writers, which we will talk about.

Amy is a frequent speaker across the country and a faculty member of the Drexel University MFA program in creative writing. She lives in Reading, Pennsylvania. Amy, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Amy Impellizzeri: Carol, thank you so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: We are thrilled to have you. And what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Amy Impellizzeri: I was thinking about that, and I have said this to many people in various transitioning paths. I think the best advice I can give is to say it out loud, which is something I did all along my journey. When I had these sorts of ideas that I wanted to pursue, or, the idea that I was going to be a lawyer, even the idea that I was going to turn the startup gig into a full-time gig, I would start to say it out loud.

And when you do that, you'll be surprised. First of all, in terms of your own acknowledgement and validation for yourself, but you'll also be surprised about the audiences it might land on. I happened to have a lot of opportunities because I said it out loud in front of the right person or the right group who was able to offer assistance, advice, guidance, and warnings. And so I think that would be my answer for that.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah. That is great advice. And you see how it feels, how you feel when you're talking about it, and that gives you clues. I love that. So thank you.

Amy Impellizzeri: Of course.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Amy, thank you so much for joining us today.

Amy Impellizzeri: Oh, Carol, it's my pleasure. Thank you so much.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Rochelle Nemrow, who earlier in 2020 sold her company, Family ID, to Arbiter Sports ten years after founding it. Family ID is an online program registration platform. As founder and CEO, Rochelle was responsible for the strategic direction and growth for Family ID, which serves families and the educational, recreation, sports and other programs in which they participate.

Not only is Rochelle a relauncher herself, having taken a seven year career break earlier in her career, but part of her business model relied on hiring relaunchers as Family iD was growing. I just met Rochelle when she was a guest on a recent entrepreneur panel, organized by Bobbie Carlton who runs the Innovation Women online speakers bureau, among many other ventures.

So, shout out to Bobbie. Here's what one colleague said about Rochelle, "Rochelle is the best. I have worked with her many times and can't think of enough superlatives to describe the quality of her work and her special value as colleague and friend."

I just loved reading that and I'm so excited to be speaking with Rochelle. Rochelle, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Rochelle Nemrow: Hi Carol. Thank you so much for having me and thank you to whomever wrote that about me as well.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah, really wonderful commentary. Rochelle. So what is the best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Rochelle Nemrow: The best piece, that's, what's your favorite meal? I probably don't have a favorite. I will say a couple of things I actually think are really important. I have to remember this, don't apologize for the choices that you've made. You're a better person.

You're a more rounded person. You have more experiences today than you did yesterday. And even if you've been out of the formal workforce for a number of years, you haven't been in a bubble without experiences, you've been doing things. And those things can be incredibly valuable. In fact, for the people that understand that sometimes bringing different experiences into a position can be even more valuable than somebody who's just done the same job before.

They're the people that are gonna really appreciate you. And you need to understand that. I've always loved to hire people who have waited tables. And I have never owned a restaurant. So why do I value that? Because the skills that they bring when they're able to keep people happy in that kind of environment and when they have so little control over so much of what happens, if you can do that, there are a lot of things that you can apply those skills to.

So having confidence in the things that you've learned while you were taking a break from a formal career, and understanding how that can fit and how that can help you be a great employee or a great entrepreneur or whatever you choose, I think is I think is really critical. And recognizing that, you're not so much selling yourself, as you're trying to understand what the needs are of the job that you're pursuing and how your special skills and accomplishments and talents really solve that for the company.

Then you don't have to worry so much about what your resume looks like because you're showing somebody that you understand how you can bring value in your own special, unique way. And then you're not stacking up lines on a resume against lines on a resume. Resumes are important. People look at them and you've got to be able to do that. But at the end of the day, you're bringing something special to somebody. And if you go in with confidence in yourself and the understanding that your experiences matter, then you're going to be able to really show the value that you bring.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That is great advice, and it really underscores one of the parts of the whole concept about relaunchers that we talk to employers about, that the life experience of the relauncher is part of what they bring to the table. So thank you for that. So Rochelle, this has been a delightful conversation. Thank you so much for joining me.

Rochelle Nemrow: It's been a pleasure and, go relaunchers! Everybody should have multiple chapters in their life and if your chapters are varied, then you're super lucky, and I just wish everyone the best of luck.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Charlotte Japp. Charlotte is founder of CIRKEL, a company that connects older and younger professionals for mutual, personal, and professional growth. Charlotte started her career in creative marketing and saw the consequences of age segregation in the workplace. Older and younger professionals needed to connect and learn from each other, but had no way to meet. CIRKEL enables networking across generations, working with both individuals and corporations to bridge the gap.

Charlotte was named one of Next Avenue's 2020 Influencers in Aging and a 2020 Gen 2 Gen innovation fellow. Charlotte, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Charlotte Japp: Thanks so much for having me Carol.

Carol Fishman Cohen: It's great to have you, what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about?

Charlotte Japp: My advice is to network, network, network. Please. You need to connect with people who are different from you. You need to flex that networking muscle, talk to people from different age groups, from different backgrounds, with different skill sets. We actually call it a personal board of advisors. So instead of having one, go-to, soulmate mentor, even if that person is older or younger than you, I recommend finding a lot of different people with a lot of different things to offer, different backgrounds and skills. And it's like you're sitting at a table with your board, your personal board of advisors, and each of those board members has a specific expertise that you want to learn.

That way, at the end of this experience, you're becoming a more 360 and well-rounded professional. So talk to people, if you need more structure or a place to meet those interesting people, there are places like CIRKEL and we do welcome all of you to join. But even if you're just naturally meeting people, do you make the extra effort and record all the things that you're learning so that you can build those relationships and go back to them with questions?

They say the weak ties are actually stronger than your strong ties. So really reach out to that outer circle and leverage all that knowledge.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's great advice. And thank you so much. It's a great place to wind up. Charlotte, thank you so much for joining us today.

Charlotte Japp: Thank you so much for having me, Carol, it was a great conversation.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thanks for listening to 3,2,1 iRelaunch, the podcast where we discuss strategies, advice, and success stories about returning to work after a career break. I'm Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO and co-founder of iRelaunch and your host. For more information on iRelaunch conferences and events, to sign up for our job board, and access our return to work tools and resources, go to

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