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2024 Virtual Return to Work Conference, May 14-16

EP 253: “Best Piece of Advice for Relaunchers” Holiday 2022 Compilation

Ep 253 compilation graphic

Episode Description

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

  • Samantha Kranyak shares what gave her the confidence to relaunch after divorce and becoming a single parent;
  • Arlene Willis successfully relaunched into the transportation industry;
  • Rabbi Suzanne Offit offers encouragement from her relaunch in the clergy;
  • Krystal Shorts shares how she returned to work through an internship in civil engineering as a military spouse;
  • Caytha Jentis put her career in the entertainment industry aside for 10 years to care for her children;
  • Robin Gorman Newman discusses becoming a Broadway producer later in life;
  • MaryAnn McLaughlin talks about her pioneering return to work years ago;
  • Amy Miller shares about relaunching into communications;
  • Natasha Slaughter relates how she navigated her relaunch after a 4 year career break due to health issues

Which of these relaunchers spoke directly to you? Be sure to listen to the full podcast content from these previous episodes.

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 Samantha Kranyak. Sam wrote to us to let us know our iRelaunch Return to Work Conference and Back on the Career Track book were "instrumental in helping me rediscover myself as a newly divorced woman who had given up a wonderful financial business to stay home. I walked away with a polished resume, a story to share with potential employers regarding my work gap and more confidence after being MIA from the workplace for a few years."

A single parent, Sam was seeking opportunities in a company close to home in order to provide stability and consistency for her family. Sam told us her inspiring story about first going into real estate and later making her real estate work supplemental to her job at Widener University as a non-tenure track professor, which is full-time with benefits.

And we're gonna hear more about that. Sam, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Samantha Kranyak: Thank you, Carol. I'm so happy to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, we're very happy to be talking to you about a whole range of topics, and I want to know if you can start by first telling us what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher?

Samantha Kranyak: Oh yeah. I think fearlessness is just so important , and I think we can define that in a lot of different ways, but I would just encourage relaunchers to just take a step, even if it's a small step, even if it's one step. You know, when I went to your conference in New York approximately eight years ago, instead of shaking in my boots, I was shaking in my heels, getting on that train, you know, that Amtrak train going to NYU to attend your conference. And I didn't know what to expect. And so, you know, it's just kind of taking that first step, talking to one person and then, you take one step and then you take two steps and sometimes you only can get to the third step and you kind of tip toe and then, and then before you know it, you're sprinting, right? And so it's just trying to be fearless in your approach and just getting started somewhere. 'Cause after so many nos, eventually you're gonna get a yes. Eventually a door is gonna open, and if it's not the right opportunity, you're gonna make a connection somewhere else.

So it's just trying to have the confidence to take that first step and not be afraid of what's coming.

Carol Fishman Cohen: I love that advice and I have to say, if anyone is exhibiting fearlessness and illustrating it for us, it's you. So Sam, thank you so much for your example. Thanks for joining us.

Samantha Kranyak: Thank you very much, Carol. It was really a pleasure. Thank you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Arlene Willis. Arlene has a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and a master's degree in transportation and highway engineering. She built her career in transportation systems, policy, technology integration, enterprise software development, and planning for about nine years before taking a 13 year career break.

She has been at the Florida Department of Transportation for over two years now, her first full-time role after her relaunch, following a shorter period in a part-time role while taking courses in aviation. We'll talk about her relaunch and how she did it, including working in a part-time role as a senior program manager for the IT Women Foundation and how she was able to get back into a demanding role in the transportation industry after so many years away. We'll also talk about how it feels to be back now over two years after her relaunch. Arlene, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Arlene Willis: Thank you, Carol, for having me. I really am happy to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, we're excited to have this conversation. 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 we've already talked about today?

Arlene Willis: Wow. Carol, there's so much. I would start off by saying, believe in yourself, believe in your creator, and then make a decision on what you're going to do next. And when you make that decision, be willing to shift gears. Find your tribe again and be open and receptive to refresh. Unlearn some things and learn again and keep learning. And then reach out to your network because once you came out of the game, the onus is on you now to get back in the game.

And so you are the one that is going to need to do the heavy lifting in terms of reaching out to colleagues and rebuilding your network. Those are what I would share with our listeners.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Excellent, excellent advice and an excellent recap of some of the top strategies and what an example you've been of every one of those.

Arlene, thank you so much for joining us today.

Arlene Willis: Thank you, Carol, for having me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we start with part one of two episodes speaking with Rabbi Suzanne Offit about her relaunch in the clergy. Rabbi Offit was ordained at the Hebrew College Rabbinical School, which she enthusiastically entered as one of its founding students in 2004. She started her deep Jewish learning in earnest at 40 and experienced tremendous guilt when glorious hours of Jewish learning took her away from her children.

She is a board certified chaplain, and served as the palliative care chaplain in post-acute services at Hebrew Senior Life in Boston for 14 years. Her focus is geriatrics and end of life work with patients and families. Rabbi Offit is dedicated to understanding through her many experiences and research how best to serve vulnerable populations in our society, and how substance use disorder, moral injury, chronic illness, and racism affect families.

She holds leadership positions on the boards of a number of nonprofits, and in addition to caring for patients and families, Rabbi Offit also cares for 12 beehives, four chickens, three adult sons, and one husband. Rabbi Offit, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Rabbi Suzanne Offit: Thank you, Carol. I'm so happy to be with you today.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Let's get into it because Suzanne, you were one of the first relaunchers that we interviewed for Back on the Career Track when Vivian Steir Rabin and I were co-authoring the book and we were doing our research back in 2005. Suzanne, I want to end by asking 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?

Rabbi Suzanne Offit: I think my best advice is to show up and to show up for yourself. I believe that living a life of meaning and purpose is why we're here and, it's not easy. It's really, really hard, but it's worth it. And if it's okay, I would like to end by quoting a Christian theologian who taught me so much in this small quote.

His name is Frederick Beakner. And he says, the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet, which means you have something to offer and the world needs that offering. And the journey is to figure out what it is. And it might not be big in the scheme of things.

It might be small, but you gotta show up to find it. And my hope is that everyone has that glimmer of being in the right place at the right time.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thank you. And thank you for ending our conversation in that way, and this has just been the most in incredible exchange. Suzanne, thank you so much for joining us today.

Rabbi Suzanne Offit: Thank you, Carol.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Krystal Shorts. Krystal is a civil engineer who is currently working on her master's degree in civil engineering at the University of Kansas. She's relaunching her career after a four and a half year career break because of childcare decisions and military moves. She and her husband, a Navy officer, are currently stationed in Kansas.

And she's also working in an internship with Apex Engineers while she's obtaining her professional engineer certification. Krystal found out about the internship and first spoke to a recruiter about it at a University of Kansas job fair. However, after the Covid lockdown when work went remote, she was notified that the internship would be canceled for that winter break.

Krystal proposed a few ideas and convinced Apex to keep her internship even though it meant onboarding remotely. We're going to hear more about exactly what Krystal said and how she's relaunching her technical career as a military spouse and while moving locations every few. Krystal, welcome to 3, 2,1 iRelaunch.

Krystal Shorts: Thanks for having me, Carol.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, thanks for being here. And Crystal, I wanna wind up by asking you the question 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?

Krystal Shorts: Yeah, I would really say that getting immersed in your industry and knowing what your industry is about and what impacts those companies involved, I think you becoming an expert on those things really helps clarify not just what kind of job you'd like to get, but the vision behind your career. And I think the clearer that you can get that vision of really what you want to do really helps you to identify the type of skills that you want to develop. And it gives you a lot of confidence when you know, yes, this is where I wanna be and this is what I wanna do.

And I think employers and other people in the industry really respond to that kind of excitement and enthusiasm. And it really doesn't come unless you know what you're talking about, right. I've definitely heard a couple people tell me, your heart cannot love what your mind does not know. And so I think the more that you spend knowing the industry you wanna get into and the career, is all about getting to know the people who are in it, what kind of job they do, what skills they find important, and who these companies are and what's important to them so that you could bring that value to them and they can see that. And if you don't know, then the best thing to do is really by asking questions of other people who are in it.

People love talking about that, and especially, if you get to know those things and you realize, yes, this is what I wanna do, now you can move forward. Or you can say, oh, that did not sound like something I wanna do, so I can figure out something else. But, I just think, the more you know, the more you'll find what you really love.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Excellent advice. Well, Krystal, thank you so much for joining us today.

Krystal Shorts: Thank you, Carol, for having me. And yeah, thank you so much for all the work you guys do at I relaunch. I've been a part of the community for a while and it's been great encouragement.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Caytha Jentis. Caytha is a successful, independent comedy writer, producer, director who started filmmaking in between driving carpools and suburban New Jersey as a mother of two. Her stories are character driven, heightened reality comedies. Caytha has an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA. She has many credits to her name, including Bad Parents, which is currently running on HBO, Apple TV and other platforms and her most recent film, Pooling to Paradise is what we will talk about in part today among many other topics. Caytha put her dream career, the one that she has now, aside for 10 years, her children were younger. So very excited to be speaking with Caytha today about everything to do with writing, directing, producing, and having to do that after taking a career break.

Caytha, welcome to 3 21 I relaunch.

Caytha Jentis: Hello, Carol. It is amazing to be here with you today. Thank you for giving me this platform

Carol Fishman Cohen: You're very modest and I wanna make sure that we don't downplay any of your accomplishments. But, so Caytha, what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something we've already talked about today?

Caytha Jentis: Yeah, no, I would just, which was kind of my thing out of the other F word is like, no fear, no regrets. Everything is a no until you ask the question. So just, it's just like, again, through all the stuff you need to be prepared. You only get one chance with most people. So do your homework, but don't ask permission, you just gotta figure out what it is and you can throw a whole bunch of things against the wall and just go for it. Because my whole thing is when you get super old, do you wanna, you don't wanna have regrets that you wished you had. So now's the time. And again, even if you are unprepared, you learn from your mistakes. And so you go in and somebody shames you and then you know what your homework is.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Caytha, that is such excellent advice for all relaunchers. So many of us are, we're 35 to 55 or older. We're men and women, people who take career breaks for a whole range of reasons. and what you said applies I think in every case. So thank you so much. And Caytha thanks for joining us today.

Caytha Jentis: Thank you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Robin Gorman Newman. Robin is the founder of RGN Marketing, where she is a specialist in marketing, communications, and public relations. She has also authored two books and is a Tony Award nominated producer. She is the founder of Motherhood Later Than Sooner. A worldwide organization whose mission is to support, connect and empower later in life mothers and fathers, and she's also the founder of

Robin, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Robin Gorman Newman: Good to be here. Thank you so much for hosting me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, you have such an unusual and varied career path and I'm really interested in hearing how all of that happened and came together. But let's first start with 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?

Robin Gorman Newman: One of the things that I learned so much, especially during my investor reigns as a producer for A Great Comet, because it was new to me, is that no is often just no for now. And of course in that case it related to, 'cause I had some investors who initially said, oh, I, I don't know. The timing's not right for me.

I love it. I'm interested. Can you circle back? And I did, and it wasn't right one month, but then three months later they were on board. And in that case, that was for investing. But I have learned just in general for anything that you wanna do, quite frankly, Carol, you know, if you're just not getting the answer that you want, then maybe you're just not meant to do it right now, but it doesn't mean it's not meant to happen.

Carol Fishman Cohen: No , only means no for now applies to so many aspects of relaunching. Robin, thank you so much for joining us today.

Robin Gorman Newman: It was my absolute pleasure. I hope that your listeners enjoyed and I hope you did as well, and thank you for the platform to share.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Oh, yes, I enjoyed it so much. I know our audience will.

Today we welcome Maryanne McLaughlin, pioneering relauncher. Maryanne McLaughlin worked for over 40 years at the Office of Spiritual Development within the Archdiocese of Boston, which is the fourth largest archdiocese in the United States and the spiritual home for more than 1.8 million Catholics.. We are speaking with Maryanne as part of our mini-series on relaunching in religion, whether in the clergy, in a non clergy role as part of spiritual life, or in an administrative role within a place of worship.

After starting her career as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, Maryanne was forced to leave when she was pregnant with her first. Yes, those were the rules in the sixties. She had five more children over the ensuing 16 years and returned to work in 1981 over two decades before anyone was talking about relaunching.

It's an honor to speak with her today about her incredible career and pioneering relaunch, and how she's still really working, even though she's technically retired. Maryanne, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Maryanne McLaughlin: Thank you, Carol. I'm delighted to be here and look forward to our conversation today.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, me too. And let's start by, what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Maryanne McLaughlin: Well, I do think, I do think having the credentials, and I'm saying that is not probably a good term to use, but taking a look, even if you're going back into the similar work that you did earlier on, I think going back and rooting yourself in whatever it is that's new about that. For me, my own fear of going back and learning something new, something that wasn't ordinary for a layperson in the Catholic Church, but there were so many helps along the way.

And the last thing I say is prayer. Prayer, believing that there's something out there much bigger than you, and asking for what I would call the grace to be able to do what is best, not only for yourself, but for others in the world.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thank you so much for ending on that note. And Maryanne, thank you so much for joining us today.

Maryanne McLaughlin: I'm happy to be here. It was a delight.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Amy Miller. Amy wrote to us a few months ago after relaunching her career following an eight year career break and a three year effort to relaunch. Her background is in public relations. Here's what she told us, I spent two years applying for jobs and for a year of that I was hitting it really hard, going to Chamber of Commerce meetings in my community, telling everyone I knew that I was ready to go back to work.

I had my little elevator speech down pat, took classes to refresh my skills, got myself business cards, made a gorgeous website to showcase my capabilities, professional photos, went to the iRelaunch conference. You name it, I did it. And she sure did. Those are so many of the top recommendations and strategies that we give to relaunchers.

But here's what happened. She said, I don't think I ever got more than a phone interview. And I only got a couple of those. It got to the point where I got so demoralized. At not even getting a second look that I told myself I had to stop because I was becoming depressed. And I want to comment also that this is a reality of a prolonged job search sometimes is it can do a number on your mental health and it can, cause depression. So, we're really appreciative of Amy for putting that upfront as part of her story. We want you to know that things changed when Amy took a few weeks off and made a decision to go into business as a consultant. Amy, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Amy Miller: Thanks, Carol. It's really nice to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, Amy, thanks again for that very authentic and real story, that hit home with so many relaunchers who read it in our private community, and of course with us at iRelaunch. What is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience?

Amy Miller: My advice would be that although the tools and resources are invaluable and they will point you into some work or opportunities that you may not have considered, ultimately I got to a point where I felt a little overwhelmed by all the advice that I was getting , and I was sharing my resume with a lot of different people, and people would often offer completely contradictory advice, particularly on the resume. And so at some point I had to recognize that I needed to step back and listen to myself, and really get in touch with what I knew about myself and how I could best navigate the situation.

And that's when I decided to go into business for myself. So I would say my best piece of advice is take advantage of all the resources, get every piece of advice you can, but also know when the advice doesn't work for, and try to have the confidence to follow your gut if it's telling you not to do something or that it's not the right thing for you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's great advice and, and a great way to finish out. Amy, thank you so much for joining us today.

Amy Miller: Thank you. And thank you for, I mean, I just have to say thank you for all the resources that you have made available and for the work that you're doing. It's so important and I really hope that there becomes, you ever wanna launch like a political action arm of this operation , I'll be there. I'll be there.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Oh, I love that. It's very timely too, because of everything that's going on right now in the larger political world. So thank you so much, Amy.

Amy Miller: Thank you

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Natasha Slaughter. Natasha relaunched initially after a four year career break by starting her own professional services consulting firm, Next Chapter Media Group, specializing in nonprofit consulting, marketing, consulting, and professional association management. A year later, she added a part-time role in human resources, first as a senior consultant and now training coordinator at Human Resources Consulting Firm Dynamic Corporate Solutions, or DCSI for short. Natasha is the immediate past president of the Jacksonville chapter of the Society for Human Resource. Management professional association where she's now on the executive board and oversees the marketing and public relations activities of the chapter.

She was also the recipient of the HR Florida State Council 2020 President's Award, the state affiliate of the Society for Human Resources Management, which is also known as SHRM. And we don't see too many relaunches that include a substantive part-time role, let alone combined with an entrepreneurial venture. So we have a lot to learn from Natasha's example. Finally, we will discuss how the power of social media resulted in Natasha being interviewed for this podcast, the 3,2,1 iRelaunch podcast today. So we're very excited to have this conversation. Natasha, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Natasha Slaughter: Thank you so much, Carol. I greatly appreciate it, that you invited me to be here today, so thank you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, we're gonna talk about how that happened in a little bit, but first we wanna focus on your relaunch itself. And I wanna know if you can start by telling our audience what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something we've already talked about today.

Natasha Slaughter: Well, I think one is the power of networking. Even if you are unemployed, you need to be networking. You know, if you have the ability to join a professional association, or utilize your LinkedIn to reach out to people within your network and have conversations with them, making sure that you're on their radar at some point, because when you decide to go back or when you have the ability to go back to work, you have those connections.

So the power of networking is phenomenal. On those same lines, use your resources that are available and I know that, I don't know whether you have such resources listed on your website or what have you, but there are several resources that will assist you in going back to, to work or going back and or starting your own company. I took advantage of those resources.

And, you know, whether it's help with my business plan and forming and, and keeping me on track to make sure that I'm still, that I'm not going off on a tangent over here. That I'm really focused on my company, and all these ideas that I have for my company. Okay, Natasha, you need to focus on these ones right here, these products, these products, and services . And so that is also helpful for anybody who is a relauncher, utilize those resources. And I think the third thing that was most powerful for me was volunteerism and having a board position, 'cause allowed me to achieve so much more personal satisfaction and personal success in addition to professional success that I couldn't even measure it.

And when I won the President's Award with HR Florida it was a shock because it was something that yes any president would want. But, in the year of a pandemic, in a year of lack of resources, if you will, in the year of, you may not be making as much money for your nonprofit as you would've liked to, in the year of volunteers that may be scarce because they're so focused on their company or they're focused on, on, on the mental health associated with dealing with a covid and pandemic.

All those things that, that just was culminating to, it was like, oh my gosh, this is gonna be my worst year and it's my second year of presidency, everybody's calling it the lame duck year, right? . And I win the President's Award. So, utilize that network to find volunteer positions, whether it's a board position, whether it's an enhanced leadership role within a volunteer organization. Use that to your ability to, and be strategic about it. Don't just take anything and just don't commit to anything. Research that board and research that board position to ensure that it's the right fit for you, just like you would with any full-time employment and treat it as if you are getting paid because , at the end of the day, you're gonna be evaluated that way as well. There is quite often, I'm put down as a professional reference for folks when they've worked in a volunteer role and, so you have to be if you're going to do that, then you need to treat this like you would, your work ethic needs to be the same as if you were getting paid.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well. There's so much excellent advice there, and I can say, just based on this conversation, I can see why you won that award.

Natasha Slaughter: Thank you. Thank you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Alright, it's, it's been a pleasure. Thanks Natasha, for joining us today.

Natasha Slaughter: Thank you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: And thanks for listening to 3, 2, 1. I relaunch 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. 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. Thanks for joining us.

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