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EP 279: Best advice compilation of 2023 - Part 2

400x400 best of 2023 part 2

Episode Description

Looking back at the many stories we've aired over the last year, we wanted to share the best bits of advice from our incredible list of guests. Today, the great advice continues as we hear from Keita Young of FanDuel and her exciting story of reaching a senior level after her relaunch; Samantha Orlando of Lockheed Martin and her relaunch after a life-threatening illness; Chip Conley, founder of Modern Elder Academy; Jennifer Chin Schnabl of State Street Advisors; Wendy Sachs, author and talented multi-media communications executive; Jill Johnson, co-founder of IFEL discusses DEI and access to capital; Priya Venketesan, Business Systems Analyst at University of California, Davis; Christine Fay, HR Manager at Grenova; Ying Chen Axt in public finance investment banking; and our resident resume expert, Heidi Ravis. We hope you enjoy the second episode in our 2-part best advice compilation of 2023 series.

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've 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're focusing on relaunchers who have been back in the workforce for longer periods in order to understand their career path. Once they relaunch, and there's no better example of this than Keita Young. Keita serves as Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at sports tech entertainment company, FanDuel.

In this role, she's responsible for developing and leading FanDuel's DE& I strategy. Keita joined Fanduel from JPMorgan Chase, where she was an attorney in the legal department and was actively involved in JPMC's DE& I efforts, that's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, over her eight years with the firm.

Keita relaunched her career through JPMorgan Chase's career reentry program, called ReEntry, in 2014, after an 11 year career break, during which time she founded and ran a successful children's consignment boutique. And prior to her career break, Keita practiced employment law for six years. Keita, welcome and thanks for joining us.

Keita Young: Thank you for having me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, it's thrilling for us to see your career progression over time. And I'm so happy that we have the opportunity to talk about it. Your career path is such a model for other relaunchers who are trying to navigate their careers post relaunch, and I want to know if you have any advice for them in navigating this process.

Keita Young: One, I would say, get rid of the self doubt. I know it's there. I had it. I remember thinking, no one's ever going to hire me. Like, how am I going to ever get back? And I have people say that to me, I'm going to take 11 years off and go back to work, right? Who's going to hire you? Keep your skill sets up.

I was very active in my kids school. I was very active in an organization called Jack and Jill of America. I started a chapter. I was president. I was vice president. All those leadership skills that had, I needed to develop or enhance, I was able to, and, work on them in these different organizations that I wasn't getting paid for, but I was actually involved immensely in.

I would also say, make sure you're networking with people. You never know, like, where an opportunity is going to land just by talking to people, finding out what they do, finding out what your passions are, and just try to get involved, even if it's from a volunteer standpoint, right? You just never know what could lead to something else.

That's what I've learned in my career, just by talking to people, telling them like what I don't like, even the ReEntry program, someone actually told me about it because I was like, I'm thinking about going back to work and they work to JP Morgan. They're like, hey, we're doing this ReEntry program.

That's how it just got started. And then also like, when I was at JP Morgan, I remember and even now, I'm proud of the fact that I relaunched, and I took time off. I'm not embarrassed. It's not something that I don't talk about. It's a part of my story and that's who I am and I'm proud of it.

So I think celebrate that. It makes you unique from other people. And then also, I think one of the things I, when I was trying to get back into the workforce, one of the things I really tried to do, you have to have a story, I think. And you have to be able to say it in a way that people hear you, believe you, and really want to advocate for you.

And my story was, I practiced law, I took time off, I started a business. I didn't own a business before, I didn't know anything about owning a business, but I did it, and it was successful, right? I went back to work through the ReEntry program at JPMorgan Chase in root cause analysis. No idea. I didn't even know what that was, but like I, it was like, but my story was, if you invest in me, I know I can do the job. I've done it, I've done things before that I haven't had any knowledge in, but I've got skill sets. I've got a, I've got a drive that will, that you'll see will produce results. I think also here coming to this job, right? I wasn't chief diversity officer, but I had so many things that added to my plate and my brand and who I was, then I was like, of course I can do this job, right?

Of course I can come and I'm passionate about it, I've got experience in it and I got hired for it. So a lot of different nuggets to take. I'm an example of someone and I wake myself up every day very blessed and feeling like it's possible. You can do it and you can go on and be successful as you were before you decided to take some time off or whatever reason.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah. Oh, I love what you're saying. Keita, thank you for talking to us about your entire career path, for being such a role model for relaunchers about what that career path looks like post relaunch years out and in the senior role. Congratulations. We're so excited for you in this new role. And thank you for joining us.

Keita Young: Thank you. Thank you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today we welcome Samantha Orlando, Senior Systems Engineer, F16 Training Systems at Lockheed Martin. Samantha, who has a Bachelor's Degree in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University, started her career in 2003 as a Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin, where she built underwater vehicles.

A decade later, Samantha resigned for medical reasons. In March 2021, she resumed her engineering career by returning to Lockheed Martin through their career re entry program, Chapter Next. We don't often have the opportunity to speak with relaunchers whose career break was for health reasons. In addition to relaunching a technical career at their pre career break employer.

Thank you, Samantha, for sharing your relaunch success story, and welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Samantha Orlando: Thank you very much. It's wonderful to be here.

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

Samantha Orlando: So my best piece of advice is it is going to be hard. Adjusting to a new normal is always hard, whether you're a mom who's been home for many years taking care of kids, or if you've been home taking care of a loved one who's had a chronic or terminal disease, or if you yourself have been dealing with health issues, you're not the same person you were when you left the workforce the first time.

And that's okay. It's okay to not be the same person you were. Don't try to be the same person that you were. You'll drive yourself crazy if you try and fit into a mold that no longer exists. So focus being the best version of the new you, and you'll be amazing.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thank you. That's really specific advice, especially for relaunchers who have taken a career break for health reasons. And we appreciate you talking very directly to that part of our community. Samantha, thank you so much for joining us today.

Samantha Orlando: You're very welcome. It's been wonderful. Thank you for having me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Chip Conley. After disrupting the hospitality industry twice, first as the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, the second largest operator of boutique hotels in the world, and then as Airbnb's head of global hospitality and strategy, leading a worldwide revolution in travel, Chip co founded Modern Elder Academy in January, 2018. Dedicated to reframing the concept of aging, Modern Elder Academy, or MEA, supports students to navigate midlife with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility. Chip has an upcoming book, Learning to Love Midlife, 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better with Age, which is about rebranding midlife to help people understand a life stage that is misunderstood, and that book will be released in January 2024.

In today's episode, we're going to talk to Chip about what it means to be a modern elder and the evolving perception of aging. Chip, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Chip Conley: Carol, it's great to be with you. We both come from the same hometown, so I appreciate the fact that all these years later we meet for the, we're meeting for the first time.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yes, and I didn't put that as part of the introduction, but Chip and I are both from Long Beach, California, and we don't often meet other people who are from our hometown, so that's been a real treat to, to talk about that. Let me just ask you this 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?

Chip Conley: So I would ask the following question, what is it you know now or have done now that you wish you'd known or done 10 years ago? So think about that for a moment. That's not the end of my answer here. But think about that. What's the, what's the thing you wish you'd learned 10 years ago? And now ask, moving forward, what is something you will regret if you don't learn it or do it now? Because anticipated regret is a form of wisdom.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's a great question and a great concept. Thank you.

Chip Conley: Yes. Thank you, Carol.

Carol Fishman Cohen: All right, what a way to, to, end our conversation, at least for now. I hope we have many more opportunities to speak, Chip, thank you so much for joining us today.

Chip Conley: Now, Carol, thank you,it's a joy.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Jennifer Chin Schnabl, who relaunched her finance career four years ago. Jennifer is currently a vice president in the capital markets group at State Street Global Advisors, where she is responsible for managing and developing relationships and strategic initiatives with top tier investment banks and liquidity providers.

In today's episode, we're going to speak with Jennifer about her return to work journey. Jennifer, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Jennifer Chin Schnabl: Thanks so much for having me, Carol. It's great to be here.

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

Jennifer Chin Schnabl: I'd say, know when you're ready, and when you're ready, act. There's just a lot of I think maybe because of the nature of this subset of people, there's a lot of, theorizing what it should be or what it should look like, or that I need to put together my CV and I'll do that next week. Or, just take us just one foot in front of the other, act, whether that's talk to your neighbor, get out there, get, talk to people, just talk, talk, act, and take some risk.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yeah, great advice. And also sort of accompanies what we say about, if you can do this with another person, it helps keep you accountable. So some people are motivated on their own and some people need to be checking in with someone on a regular basis to make sure that they're moving forward. But this idea of acting and moving forward is such a key component to, to the relaunch because there's a lot of revision you can sit back and do and a lot of research on your computer.

But before you, you take those steps that really lead to something that is a job opportunity. And I'm just going to reemphasize how much of your process had to do with, reinvigorating that network and getting in touch with people from the past and having those conversations. That's part of acting, as you're saying, taking that step.

It's harder to do that than to sit behind your computer. But that is exactly what leads to relaunch success. So Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us today.

Jennifer Chin Schnabl: Thank you so much for having me, Carol. It's been great. Thank you. And thank you for everything that your company has done.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Wendy Sachs, a seasoned communications executive and creative storyteller. Wendy has spent more than two decades in media as a journalist, Capitol Hill press secretary, Emmy award winning TV producer, Forbes columnist, author, film director, and digital editor in chief. Additionally, Wendy is a frequent keynote speaker, giving talks about growing confidence, embracing failure, engineering serendipity, and taking risks.

In today's episode, we speak with Wendy and her career pivots and the career breaks that she's taken along the way. Wendy, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Wendy Sachs: Thank you so much for having me, Carol. I'm a big fan of the work that you're doing and of your company, and it's so great to know that companies are actually looking to hire relaunchers. So,thank goodness for that.

Carol Fishman Cohen: I know, thank you. I know that we have been in touch for a long time through a lot of career transitions for you, and I'm really excited to have the opportunity to talk to you about these transitions and career breaks. I do 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?

Wendy Sachs: Taking action. You have to take action. It is a small steps. It's so easy to feel like you're getting stuck in your paralyzed by either fear, or insecurity, or just laziness, of just procrastinating, or not knowing what to do first, or next, or just really the fear of moving forward, and it's, small actions lead to bigger actions, and inertia is the killer. So you just need to start doing something every single day.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That is such great advice. It is so true, that soundbite, inertia is the killer. I mean, it's really true when people, that's one of the reasons we tell people try to do this with another person or a group to keep your momentum to know that every Tuesday at 10 o'clock you're gonna have a meeting, you have to report back on the goals you set for the week before, because otherwise things come up and, three weeks can go by and you're, you just lost more time.

So I'm so glad to be ending on that note. Wendy, thank you so much for having this conversation.

Wendy Sachs: Thank you, Carol. It was a pleasure.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Let's move on now to our podcast conversation. I'm really excited today to be speaking with Jill Johnson. Jill is the co founder and CEO of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, IFEL as an abbreviation, based in Newark, New Jersey. IFEL was founded in 2002. It's an independent non profit organization that supports economic development through entrepreneurship.

As a 30 year champion for black businesses, Jill is a pioneering voice for inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems and creating a new paradigm for access to capital conversation. She's the driving force behind a new initiative, The Making of Black Angels. to drive diversity and inclusion within the investor ecosystem.

Jill is a member of the Women's Forum of New York, the Women Business Collaborative, and Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs. In 2022, Jill was named one of Crane's New York business Whole Health Heroes for her work creating pathways for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs and small business owners to have entrepreneurial success.

Jill has a BA in economics from Harvard and is married with four amazing sons. Jill, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Jill Johnson: Oh, thank you so much. I'm really glad to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, we're excited to have this conversation, and 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?

Jill Johnson: My best advice for relaunchers is to be open to the journey. It's very easy for all of us, and I was one of those people that had life completely scripted from the time that I was a teenager. And you figure out that sometimes it just does not go the way that you planned. It's great to have a plan because that gives you a north star.

But you have to be open to what the opportunities are. And one of the things that I'm very proud of, and I talked about the children early on, but all of our children have had not straight road paths to where they are today. And I think for me, just watching that, observing that I have taken away that lesson to really be open to where the opportunities are that every time there's something that seems to be a roadblock or a barrier or something in your mind is negative, think about what is the opportunity in this and where could this lead me that I just wasn't thinking about before? So, whether you're an entrepreneur or in a career or a large company, there are many paths to take that can lead you to where it is you're trying to go.

Sometimes where you are trying to go may not even, may not be where you thought you wanted to go when you started.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Exactly. Great advice. A great way to wrap up our conversation. Jill, thank you so much for joining us today.

Jill Johnson: It has been my true pleasure to be here, so thank you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Priya Venkatesan. She relaunched as a business systems analyst at University of California, Davis, after a 16 year career break. Priya has more than seven years of experience in working customer centric and analyst roles in the finance and education industries. She became a certified Scrum Master during her career break, and since she's been back at work, she has achieved her Lean Six Sigma white, yellow, and green belts.

Her relaunch involved many job applications, interviews, rejections, and much more. Priya was a speaker at one of our iRelaunch Return to Work Conferences in 2022, and her mantra to everyone is keep pursuing your dream job and don't give up, and we're going to explore all of this in our conversation today. Priya, welcome to 3 2 1 iRelaunch.

Priya Ventakesan: Hi, Carol. Thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, I'm really excited to have this conversation, and I want to know what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today. And you've had so much advice all the way through, and you just gave a couple of more great points, is there any particular point that you want to repeat or, or anything else that you want to bring into the advice category?

Priya Ventakesan: The advice I would say is anyone who is trying to relaunch is look at options for part time jobs as well. Don't just have your, if you're trying to relaunch at a full time career, if you're not having any part time experience, part time, having a part time experience will help you relaunch the full-time career.

. So if you have that part-time experience or part-time project work that you're doing, you'd be able to get that's experience that you can get and read and bring it, bring that experience in to get a full-time job. And also do not compare yourself with others. That's the best piece of advice I can give you.

Go through your journey on your own, and, what do you want, only you know. You cannot take advice from others. Anyone can give you advice or anything. However, you know what your situation is, what you're facing, what your difficulty, what your success, what your strength, focus on your strength, rather focus on your weakness.

Always focus on your strengths, see what your strengths are, what you're good at and focus on that and find your passion. Passion is more important than getting a high paying job. So you need to have that drive and passion for a job. If you find it, I think go for it.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow. Priya, thank you so much for this conversation and, all that you have given our listeners today.

Priya Ventakesan: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me here. It's always a pleasure.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Christine Fay, a human resources professional who took a nearly seven year career break. Christine is currently an HR manager at Grenova, an innovative biotechnology startup focused on high quality waste reduction solutions. She has extensive experience in human capital consulting across a variety of industries, of industries from Fortune 500 companies to federal government agencies. Christine has worked on global HR transformation projects, designed and implemented learning and development trainings, and created HR programs for a number of companies. She's also on the board of directors of the Richmond, Virginia chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, also abbreviated as SHRM, where she serves as the director of learning events.

In today's episode, we speak with Christine about her own relaunch and how professional associations can help with upskilling, reskilling, and networking. Christine, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Christine Fay: Hi, Carol. Welcome. Thank you for having me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, it's really great to see you. And I'll just tell our listeners that Christine and I met when I was speaking at the Richmond SHRM Leadership Conference a while ago, and Christine hosted a Q& A with me, and we had a really great conversation, and we were so looking forward to this moment when we could interview her. Christine, I want to ask you our final question, the one that we ask all of our podcast guests. I feel like the conversation went so fast. What is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Christine Fay: Let me say, give yourself some grace. You're going through a major transition, and relaunching your career, it's a journey, and it's not necessarily going to be a straightforward path. And it may not go exactly as planned, but, I can promise you for, from someone who's been there and done that, that it's going to be fantastic

on the other side, when you get through it, you land your first job. And even after that first job, when you're, getting back into your career, or if you've transitioned and pivoted into a new career, you're going to look back and be so happy that you took that first step.

So just take a deep breath, and it's exciting, it's tiring, it can be a little stressful, but you're absolutely going to be so happy that, that you did it.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Right. Well, that's so great. And Christine, thank you so much for joining us today.

Christine Fay: Oh, you're welcome. Thank you. It's great chatting with you again.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Ying Chen Axt. Ying found her passion in public finance and capital markets during her early career at the World Bank China Mission. After earning a master's degree in public administration, an MPA, at the University of Southern California, she consulted on infrastructure project finance for six years in Washington, D. C. Ying began her career break in 2012. During her career break, Ying studied The Chartered Financial Analyst, the CFA program and earned the CFA designation in 2018. And we're going to talk about that because, there's a lot involved in doing that. Ying completed the Fitch Group Credit Path Returnship Program.

And then the following year, she relaunched her career at a boutique investment banking firm with its public finance investment banking team. In this episode, we will speak with Ying about how upskilling during her career break and networking in a different industry enabled not only her relaunch, but also her career transition from consulting to finance.

Ying, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Ying Chen Axt: Thank you, Carol. I'm excited to be here and have a good conversation with you. I appreciate the opportunity to share my story with your audience.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, we're really excited to hear from you. And I also want to note how generous you have been with our iRelaunch Return to Work Forum, Facebook group, where we have probably 15, 000 of our most active relaunchers in our much larger 120, 000 person community and we so appreciate when relaunchers in that community, stay in the community after they relaunch and then give advice to people who are earlier stage. And you've been doing that and I just want to say thank you for as we start off.

Ying Chen Axt: Yes, that's my pleasure.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Yes. let's, so let's get into this. What is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Ying Chen Axt: Career relaunch is a journey of personal growth. Enjoy your ride, but don't forget to appreciate your well being, your family, and other important relationships.

I'd like to thank my husband, Ted, my son, Gio, for being my cheerleaders and providing the space for me to explore and research.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's wonderful. Well, it's an incredible message, and also I loved how you're thanking the people closest to you for that critical support. Ying, thank you so much for joining us today.

Ying Chen Axt: My pleasure. Thank you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Today, we welcome Heidi Ravis, who is our iRelaunch recommended resume expert. We're so excited to have her on board. She has 30 years, over 30 years experience as a career counselor and has worked with many relaunchers in the past in a whole range of industries. She's a relauncher herself, and therefore understands the challenges of writing a resume that reflects potential value to an employer, especially when we're looking, as we all are, to return to the workplace after a hiatus.

In this episode, we're going to speak with Heidi about her career journey and we're also going to get some resume recommendations and talk about trends that she's seen over time. Heidi, welcome to 3 2 1 iRelaunch.

Heidi Ravis: Thank you. It's good to be here

Carol Fishman Cohen: . Well, thank you for spending some time with us. What is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Heidi Ravis: I think don't sell yourself short. I think that's in, in anything in the job search, everybody has a story to tell and everybody has worth. We're not just the sum total of our job experiences, how we animate them, and I think to recognize that you have something unique to offer and that somebody will want what you have to offer

is so important. It doesn't matter, don't compare yourself to other people, focus on what makes you unique and what makes you of value to an employer. And it will, I think that the confidence is really the most important piece.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Well, I love that. And I love the, the word animate. I think that's such a, that's such a great way to talk about how you translate your story as a person onto the page, and I like that you use that. I haven't heard that word in connection with this. I'm going to have to remember that. Heidi, thank you so much for joining us today.

Heidi Ravis: Thank you. It's been a real pleasure to talk to you.

Carol Fishman Cohen: 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, 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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