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EP 219: “Best Piece of Advice for Relaunchers” Holiday 2021 Compilation Edition

Episode Description

Hear the “Best Piece of Advice” from ten episodes of the 3,2,1 iRelaunch podcast series:

  • Author Laura Zigman explains how to move forward through life’s most challenging time
  • Learn about angel investing and if it’s right for you with Nicole Cuellar-Lopez
  • Kathryn Troutman gives guidance on applying for jobs with the federal government
  • Dr. Ella Washington discusses how to have difficult and meaningful discussions with your team
  • LinkedIn Learning instructor Selena Rezvani explains how to have better executive presence
  • NY Times bestselling author Lindsey Pollak discusses navigating work in a virtual world
  • David Boehmer, founder of Banff Advisors, gives an insider’s view into executive search
  • Gabriella Bean and Sue Spillane rebounded from lengthy career breaks into high level engineering careers
  • Shannon Tymosko and Darci Spiteri as they explain their journey as women in the electrical trade
  • Parent educator Katherine Reynolds Lewis discusses how to involve your kids in your job search and relaunch transition.

Be sure to listen to the full podcast from each of these special guests!

Read Transcript

Carol Fishman Cohen: Welcome 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, 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.

Today we welcome Laura Zigman. Laura is the author of the highly anticipated and very popular book Separation Anxiety that was published in hardcover and just recently released in paperback.It has received praise all over the media and beyond.

Laura is also the author of Animal Husbandry, which was made into the movie Someone Like You, starring Hugh Jackman and Ashley Judd. And she's also the author of Dating Big Bird, Her and Piece of Work. She's been a contributor to the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Huffington Post, produced a popular online series of animated videos called Annoying Conversations and was the recipient of a Yaddo residency.

Laura, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Laura Zigman: Thanks Carol. So happy to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, it's great to have you, and I have so many questions to ask you, but I want to start by asking what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience?

Laura Zigman: My advice again, just goes back to baby steps. I remember in the midst of my most blocked years coming upon Instagram, and it would take all I could, it would be all I could do to post a photo and write a little, it looked like a mini blog. Just that little space on Instagram, I was like, I would fill it and I'd be like, 'Okay, I wrote today.' And that level of accomplishment or, you know, block was like, that felt like writing to me. And, it seems like a joke as I talk about it now, but there were some times when I would craft that paragraph and feel like, 'Okay, I can write, I can still write, I wrote a really good paragraph.'

And it seems like a really small thing, and the sense of just doing things along the way, those baby steps, if you can't afford an office, do what I did, get by the hour, do what you can to just take these little tiny baby steps. You may not be able to do something full-time or switch into a different field full-time, but just even those little things that you do really will help you and will add up and will help you transform to your next move. That's what I've found.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah, it's such great advice. And it applies in a very broad way, the idea of taking baby steps in a whole bunch of parts of the relaunch journey. It's a really great way to think about the process and to break it down and to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed or also too worried, it always gives you, you're always moving in a forward direction when you're taking baby steps, even when they're small.

So thank you. That's excellent. Well, Laura, it's been a pleasure speaking with you.

Laura Zigman: So great, Carol. Thank you so much.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Nicole Cuellar-Lopez. Nicole is an angel investor with Pipeline Angels and is Peloton Interactive's Senior Manager for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

She invests in early stage startups, which have a positive social impact and are led by women and femmes. An Uber alum, where she started in the early years, 2013, and worked there until 2019, Nicole held roles in writer marketing, operations and logistics and D&I. Prior to that, she worked at an international education nonprofit. Nicole is going to help us demystify angel investing and also give advice to those of us relaunching at startups, on how to evaluate a job offer when equity is on the table. We'll also talk about the role of sponsorship in all of this. Nicole, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Nicole Cuellar-Lopez: Thanks so much for having me, Carol, pleasure to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, I'm really excited about this conversation. We've never talked about angel investing on our podcast before. So before we get into all those details, 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 we've already talked about today?

Nicole Cuellar-Lopez: My best piece of advice for relaunchers is to seek opportunities where you feel inspired to take ownership of the work. And that might be because you're so invested in the mission, or it might be literal ownership in, "I want to be invested in this company. I want to be owning a piece of it as I work towards its success." But for me, there's been nothing better than feeling like an owner in the work that I do.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow. Well, Nicole, thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge today.

Nicole Cuellar-Lopez: My pleasure. Thanks for having me Carol.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Kathryn Troutman. Kathryn is known as the federal resume guru, with over 30 years helping thousands find jobs with the federal government.

She's the author of several books, including the Federal Resume Guidebook, now in its seventh edition and The Job Seekers Guide: 10 Steps to a Federal Job for Military and Spouses, now in its eighth edition. Kathryn provides 10 Steps to a Federal Job curriculum to career-transition counselors at military bases, universities, veterans organizations, and private industry.

So in other words, Kathryn knows the federal hiring process inside and out, and is an expert on getting a federal government job. She's passionate about helping people find great jobs with the government and we're going to discuss the attributes of a career in the federal government, what unexpected or hidden opportunities there are in the federal government, special opportunities for military spouses at military bases, and a lot more. Kathryn, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Kathryn Troutman: Thank you very much. It's great to be here. My favorite topic: career change into the government.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Excellent. So let's start by asking you the question that we ask all of our podcasts guests, and that is what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience?

Kathryn Troutman: My best advice is that you need to go to You've got to start looking at jobs and reading the duties of the jobs, and reading the qualifications in the announcements. I know the announcements are long, but you must read them if you want a government job, and do some of the research that I've talked about in this podcast, you've got to learn about federal jobs.

You also need to get the book, the Federal Resume Guidebook. You've got to see a correct federal resume to see what it looks like. It's not a private sector resume. It's a hundred percent different. It's five pages, it’s not two. So that's my best advice. Just start learning and set up your account and go forward.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Excellent. Well, thanks Kathryn.

Kathryn Troutman: Thank you very much for your time and good luck with your federal job search. Keep it going.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Dr. Ella Washington. Dr. Washington is a Professor of Practice at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and the founder of Ellavate Solutions, which provides diversity and inclusion strategy and training for organizations. She co-hosts a weekly podcast called Cultural Competence.

Dr. Washington is the lead author on the recently released Harvard Business Review article, How to Talk with Your Team about Violence at the US Capitol, which gave guidance to employers that were having discussions in their companies following the January 6th violent attack on our Capitol.

Dr. Washington, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch and thank you for writing this important article.

Ella F. Washington: Hello everyone. Thank you so much, Carol, for having me. It's my pleasure to be here today.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, it's our privilege to be interviewing you about this.

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?

Ella F. Washington: Absolutely. So, as a relauncher you have a unique and valuable perspective based off of your time out of the workplace, for whatever reason that you took that time. And so I believe in a strengths-based perspective of elevating our value in the workplace.

And so I would encourage relaunchers to think about, what are those unique strengths that you're bringing to your teams because of your unique experience that other people may not have? And particularly, how can you leverage your leadership abilities that maybe you have developed in this non-traditional space to connect with your team members and other people in ways that other people can't?

So, I think it's wonderful to have diversity of perspective. That's what this is all about. And as a relauncher you certainly have a diverse perspective that should be valued and you certainly should make sure to make it known.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's excellent. And you are right on about relaunchers providing age diversity and also diversity in terms of life experience when they've had a career break and they’re coming back.

So I am so appreciative of the conversation, and thank you for joining us today, Dr. Washington.

Ella F. Washington: Thanks so much for having me and thank you all for listening.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Selena Rezvani. Selena is a popular leadership speaker and inclusion consultant, as well as a LinkedIn learning instructor.

In fact, her LinkedIn learning course is on Executive Presence, the topic of today's podcast. Selena writes a column for Philadelphia Magazine on “How to Make Work, Work” and hosts a weekly show on LinkedIn Live, all about ways to elevate women at work, and I was privileged to be a guest on that show.

Selena recorded a 3,2,1 iRelaunch podcast with us about a year ago on how to brag about yourself without sounding obnoxious, and how to reach out to people to help you in your job search without coming across as opportunistic. And she told us at the time, that that is all about how to demonstrate executive presence.

Selena, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Selena Rezvani: Thank you so much for having me, Carol. I love your mission and what you're doing with this podcast. So it's great to be here and join forces.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, we love having you as a guest and having you as a guest again. So I want to start by asking you the question that we ask all of our podcasts guests, and that is what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something we have already talked about today.

Selena Rezvani: I'll share with you something that's been my hardest one lesson just for me personally. And I encourage you to think about it. Don't underestimate what you can do and overestimate what everyone else can do. Trust in that value you bring. And then get as comfortable speaking about that value as speaking your name.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yes, this is so important, especially for relaunchers. And it's something that sometimes we have to practice over and over again and get ourselves in that mindset. And ultimately that happens because there is that tendency to come in feeling like you're undervaluing yourself. Really glad that you put that out there as a goal for the audience.

Selena, thank you so much for joining us today.

Selena Rezvani: Thank you, Carol, for your awesome work and just being such a great supporter.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Lindsey Pollak. Lindsey is the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders. Her 2019 book, The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multi-Generational Workplace, was named a book of the month by both the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.

Lindsey's upcoming book, a response to the COVID crisis, Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work will be published by HarperCollins in March, 2021. And evidently, iRelaunch is mentioned in it, I'm very excited about that. I want to say one more thing about Lindsey. She was named to the 2020 The Thinkers50 Radar List of Global Management Thinkers, whose work is shaping the future of how organizations are managed and led, and I remember being on this list myself in 2017. Lindsey, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Lindsey Pollak: Thank you so much for having me, Carol.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, it's very exciting to be able to talk to you about all of this, especially the topic of your new book, it is so relevant to the work we're doing here at iRelaunch with relaunchers who are in return to work programs and in completely virtual environments, so, very interested in getting your advice on that. What is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience?

Lindsey Pollak: So in my book, I have five rules for recalculators and rule number five we've already talked about, but I am going to underline it, ask for help. When everything cratered in March, my instinct was, just start to reach out to people, and I go back to Steve Dalton's line, "The people who say yes will be inordinately helpful, but nothing will happen unless you ask." So ask for help.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Good one. Lindsey, this has been a pleasure, thank you so much for joining us.

Lindsey Pollak: Thank you so much for having me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome David Boehmer, founder of career management advisory firm, Banff Advisors. Prior to launching Banff Advisors, David headed up the global financial services practice for Heidrick & Struggles.

David returned to the US in 2017 after three years in the London office, where he also led the financial services practice in Europe and Africa, as well as senior client engagements across the sector, including banking, payments, asset management, and FinTech. With his deep background in executive search, David gives us the insider's view, including what actually happens in executive searches and how best to position yourself to be considered. David, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

David Boehmer: Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here today.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, we're excited to speak with you. David, what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something we've already talked about today.

David Boehmer: I’ll nail this down again. I know I've said it already, but it's a part that I think we get afraid to ask for things, it's be explicit. You have to be explicit. Don't assume things. Don't hope things, give someone permission to give your name, be explicit. You can give my name for searches, go for it.

Have your narrative tight. So you're handing the reader or the listener answers to their checklists. What do I mean by that? Anyone looking at LinkedIn, by your resume, has a checklist they're looking to answer. It's either literally a piece of paper on their desk or it's in their head. And if they can't find answers to that checklist quickly, they're going to swipe you to the next LinkedIn, right? Or swipe to the next resume, whatever it might be.

And so how you design your resume, your bios, your narrative, how you speak about it. Think about what industry are you in? What functions are you in? What have you done? Achieved? And that's kind of it. It's usually three or four things, and make sure that's pretty explicit.

Don't hope they can go find it within the bio somewhere. So handle the checklist, be tight on the answer of what you want to do, even if you have no clue, even if you have no clue, fake it. Right? Have 10 answers in your pocket. Figure out what the right one is in that moment. You've got to give them something, you've got to give them a clue.

And then leverage those vouches. We talked about it again. If you don't have them find them and convert them, that's going to be the difference. I hate to say it. It's probably not how you interview that will ultimately get you the job. It'll get you in the room. The big difference is someone that really vouches for you will back you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Terrific advice, David, thank you so much for joining us.

David Boehmer: My pleasure. Real, real fun today.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Gabriella Bean and Sue Spillane who both relaunched in engineering roles at Northrop Grumman in fall 2017, as part of the inaugural cohort of iReturn, Northbrook Grumman's return to work program. Northrop Grumman launched iReturn as a member of the STEM Re-entry Task Force, the groundbreaking multi-company return-to-work collaborative run by The Society of Women Engineers and iRelaunch.The program has now expanded to five campuses.

Gabriella and Sue both took very long career breaks, 22 years for Gabriella and 19 years for Sue, and they are both in technical roles. Gabriella is Principal Engineer Operations Program Manager for a program which has to do with protection from guided missile attacks. Sue is a Manufacturing Engineering Manager in the Navigation Targeting and Survivability Division of Northrop Grumman.

Gabriella and Sue, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Sue Spillane: Hi, Carol. Thanks for having us.

Gabriella Bean: It's great to be here, Carol.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, I'm so excited to be speaking with both of you. And I want to ask both of you the question that we ask all of our podcast guests, and that is what is the best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

So, Sue , would you like to start?

Sue Spillane: Oh sure. I think my piece of advice that I would give is to seek out a support network with other relaunchers if you can. We were lucky in that at Northrop Grumman, we had a pretty big cohort of relaunchers. So it was a little easier for us, but I don't know if I'd have been as successful in that first year without the support of Gabriella and some of the other iReturners, we just really supported each other.

It helps to have someone who's going through the same experiences. You feel like you're not alone. So, even if you don't have that ability within your own company, if you're relaunching, if you're the only one or there's only one or two of you, reach out. I think there's a broader network now that you can tap into to actually just commiserate and share your successes and your challenges.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah. I wrote an article for Harvard Business Review called The Power of the Cohort in Career Re-entry Programming, and it is so powerful, in the way that you're describing the members of the cohort support each other on the personal and professional side. And in terms of networks, that's one of the things that we do at iRelaunch. We have a private Facebook group, that's an alumni group. So people who have relaunched and it could be people who have relaunched in places where there is not a program. So they don't have a built-in cohort. But it's a way to connect with other people and have that kind of camaraderie that Sue is referencing. Gabriella, what about you?

Gabriella Bean: Well, I certainly agree with Susan and she and I were fortunate to actually work together in the same area, different roles, but in the same area. And I definitely was glad she was around and we have definitely, as the new cohorts have come in, tried to have lunches with them and help them out so that the networking is definitely key.

As far as other ideas, if you're still out there looking. Don't hesitate to own your break, regardless of why you've been out. It was the right decision for you. It doesn't make you less capable and it doesn't reduce your potential. I would say, be able to verbalize how any of your volunteer work that you may have done while you were out, can support the role that you're interested in.

Certainly a lot of what I did paralleled in many ways what I'm doing now. And finally I think companies are learning that relaunchers tend to be very dedicated employees, as they really want to be back in the workplace, and often by choice are back in the workplace. And that's a plus for employers. So letting people know that is a plus.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Excellent advice. And I'm glad you said that because we find across the board that relaunchers are dedicated and loyal for exactly the reasons you state Gabriella. And, you know, I remember myself chomping at the bit to get back to work. I took an 11 year career break, it was in year nine that I started to realize it, and we find that energy and enthusiasm that relaunchers bring, because we're so excited to be back at work, is something special that gets injected into our work teams. So a really good point.

Gabriella and Sue, thank you so much for joining us today.

Gabriella Bean: [00:33:25] We were glad to be here.

Sue Spillane: [00:33:27] Absolutely.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, I'm thrilled to be speaking with two Canadian women in the trades, Shannon Tymosko and Darci Spiteri, who are both electrical apprentices with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers or IBEW Local 105 located in Hamilton, Ontario. Shannon made a career transition from short-term lending to become an electrical apprentice. And she's also an ambassador for KickAss Careers, a Canadian organization promoting the trades to young people as a career choice. Darci is a relauncher who originally was a project manager in marketing. After a three-year career break, she received a second career grant from the Canadian government, which funded her electrical apprentice training. They are friends and colleagues, and I'm thrilled to be interviewing them together for today's podcast.

Darci and Shannon, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Shannon Tymosko: Thank you so much for having me here today. I really appreciate it.

Darci Spiteri: Yes. Thank you for having us.

Carol Fishman Cohen: I'm so happy to be talking to both of you at the same time and getting these two different perspectives. Shannon, can you start by telling us what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today? Shannon?

Shannon Tymosko: I think it's really important, it's never too late, I touched on it earlier, there's a lot of years of employment ahead of most people. I think it's really important to do what you love, and so just try different things. You never know if you're going to like it, and if you're already on the avenue of wanting to become a tradesperson, just be persistent. Dreams sometimes take time to unfold. Don't give up on that first door that doesn't open because it's really sometimes hard to get into the skilled trades, but once you do, there's just so many doors that open.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Great. Thank you. And Darci?

Darci Spiteri: I think along the same lines of what Shannon is saying is, just don't give up. I did do my pre-apprentice and it was hard for me and I almost did give up, but I had someone in my life who pushed me and told me that I could do it. And just working hard to go through the steps, because as Shannon said, it is sometimes hard to get into the trades, but I think people don't always look at your test scores. We had to do an aptitude test, and I think they also look at your personality and how you interact with everyone. And I think that's important to not get discouraged if you don't think you can do something.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah. Great advice from both of you and we really appreciate it. I know our audience will. And thank you for joining us today, Shannon and Darci.

Darci Spiteri: Thank you for having us.

Shannon Tymosko: Thank you so much for having us. I appreciate being here with both of you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we're speaking with Katherine Reynolds Lewis. Katherine is a certified parent educator with The Parent Encouragement Program and award-winning journalist and author of the popular book, The Good News About Bad Behavior, which brings the tools of narrative journalism to the question of why kids don't do what you want. Katherine is the perfect person to speak with us about parenting and relaunching.

Many relaunchers are returning to work after childcare career breaks and need to transition their kids to new routines at home when they relaunch their careers. Katherine gives advice on how to involve kids in the job search, when to introduce new childcare arrangements, how to manage new routines in the household and how transparent to be on the ups and downs of the relaunch process both before and after starting a job.

And we're going to cover all of that today. Katherine welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Katherine Reynolds Lewis: Thank you so much, Carol. It's great to be with you. The article I wrote for the Washington Post Magazine about a job relaunch was my first big career break, and I of course cited iRelaunch and I've really enjoyed following your work since then.

Carol Fishman Cohen: I remember that article well. And I think we did an early give and take live with The Washington Post. And it was one of these early Twitter conversations, I don't even know if they do it that way anymore, but that was one of my first times doing that, that kind of a followup to an article. So we broke new ground together.

I want 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.

Katherine Reynolds Lewis: My one piece of advice is to believe in yourself and believe in your kids. Because when we are doing hard things, that is when growth happens. So you're going to have uncomfortable moments. You're going to have moments of self doubt, but if you have the courage to lead your family through this transition, everyone's going to grow and develop in ways you couldn't have imagined. And when I look at the things that I've accomplished in my career, the one question I occasionally ask myself is, “Why didn't I try to do this sooner?”

It's usually because I had self doubt or I had imposter syndrome or I thought I wasn't ready yet. And so looking back, I think the only thing I would've done differently was to just have more confidence earlier. And so I just want to give that to your audiences. Just believe in yourself now. Don't wait.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's a great way to end. And Katherine, it was such a pleasure. Thank you for joining us.

Katherine Reynolds Lewis: So great to talk to you and to reconnect, Carol, and good luck with all of your really wonderful work supporting relaunchers.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thank you so much.

And 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

And if you like this podcast, be sure to rate it on Apple podcasts and your favorite podcast platform. And be sure to share this podcast with a friend on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media.

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