Working Mother magazine recently published an article that highlighted the inspiring stories of 25 celebrity mothers who chose to reinvent themselves mid-career to pursue new endeavors, which proved to be just as inspiring as they are prosperous. Read on to see how reinvention isn’t just for the rich and famous, it can also be your reality, too.
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Oftentimes, the success of others can be chalked up to luck or “right place, right time” scenarios when viewed in hindsight by onlookers. However, as Working Mother discovered in their recent piece, 25 Mothers of Reinvention, career success wasn’t handed to all of these well-known hardworking mothers – most of them had to overcome the usual trials and tribulations that come with being a working mother juggling a time-deprived family and a time-consuming career. Here are a few of the famous working mothers from the list that we feel capture the essence of hard work paying off, celebrity status aside.
1. Jessica Alba – Best known for her success on the big screen, Jessica Alba became a household name when she co-founded The Honest Company – an eco-friendly, safe, and affordable baby care line – with Christopher Gavigan, father-of-three and former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World. Why did Alba choose to reinvent her career after having so much success in Hollywood? In her own words, “When I became a mom, I finally became the person I am, that I always should have been. I created The Honest Company to help moms and to give all children a better, safer start,” according to the site. Alba’s responsibility as a mother inspired her to develop a company that she believed in, and that the everyday mother (including herself) could feel safe giving to her child(ren).
2. Sallie Krawcheck – Mother of two teenage children and “former ‘First Lady of Wall Street,’ Sallie held high-ranking executive positions at Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney and Bank of America (gracing the cover of Fortune in 2002),” according to Working Mother. After facing an untimely lay off at Merrill Lynch in 2011, Krawcheck decided to take her career in another direction by acquiring the global women’s network, 85 Broads, so that she could “invest in other women.” Krawcheck’s reinvention allowed her to use what she acquired along her admirable career journey to help other working women/mothers wanting to do the same.
3. Liz Lange – If you’re a mother, then the name Liz Lange might ring a bell – you can blame “pregnancy brain” for you kind-of-not-really remembering why it sounds so familiar. Liz Lange started her career as a staff writer for Vogue, which sparked her curiosity into the world of fashion and her eventual partnership with fashion designer Stephen Di Geronimo’s Geronimo, according to Wikipedia. It wasn’t until after her first pregnancy and a lack of attractive, form-fitting maternity clothes to wear, that Liz Lange Maternity clothing line was born (pun definitely intended). According to Working Mother, “Today, Liz Lange Maternity counts Target and HSN as partners, raking in annual sales of around $200 million.” Lange reminds other working mothers and entrepreneur-hopefuls as she tells the magazine, “You need to have the strength to shut out the naysayer, and proceed with your idea in the face of a lot of negativity.”
4. JK Rowling – Possibly one of the most profound rags to riches story is that of Harry Potter author, JK Rowling. Talk about turning lemons into billion-dollar lemonade, Rowling was enduring the loss of her mother, a failed marriage, and raising her child on welfare during the time she wrote the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in the wildly successful Potter book series – oh, and she wrote the first book on a typewriter, people. A typewriter! Rowling told Working Mother that, “I had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Rowling’s little book idea that came to her on a train ride helped her realize her dreams of becoming a writer and piquing the imaginations of millions of people around the world.
5. Gretchen Rubin – “A former clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor” and author of best-seller, The Happiness Project, Rubin paved a new career path mid-career because it allowed her to “finally find and be her true self,” according to Working Mother. Finding a career that is fulfilling is often the hardest part in a professional’s life, but when one does, it changes the game completely. Rubin says that taking a risk to do something you love is better than sticking with an unfulfilling career, when she tells the magazine that she’d rather “fail as a writer than succeed as a lawyer.”
See who else made the list in Working Mother’s 25 Mothers of Reinvention and find some inspiration for your own life and career.
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What other mothers of reinvention do you admire? Share your inspiration with other working mothers in our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.