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Evolve #40over40: Heather Hansen

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

This article is part of our #40over40 series.

This is our time! We’re stronger when we work together to lift other women up. Evolve is creating the list we've been waiting for -- the first-ever 40 Over 40 list! We're curating profiles of women who have or are in the process of reinventing their careers in their 40s, 50, 60s and beyond. We're thrilled to share these stories of reinvention - women returning to work, pivoting careers or launching new ventures!

What prompted your career reinvention?

I've been a trial attorney for 20 years, and I'm good at it. I've been named one of the Top 50 Female Attorneys in the state of Pennsylvania, and more than once I've been called a shark in the courtroom, But sharks don't cry, or if they do they live in an environment where they can hide their tears. For years I've hid the tears I cry after a hard trial in my Toyota RAV4. I got tired of so much crying.

What's the best thing about midlife career change? After years of developing your expertise, you start to feel like things are no longer a challenge. The hard stuff is still hard, but the growth that comes from it is tougher to realize. When you start something new every challenge is met with growth, and all of a sudden you feel like a kid again.

What's the biggest challenge? The biggest challenge is the siren lure of money and comfort. As a partner in a law firm I make good money, doing something I am good at and I know how to do. When things are hard and money gets tight it is tempting to go back to those comforts.

What's your personal mantra or mission? Why? My mission is to give people the tools they need to advocate for their big ideas. I believe that our ideas are living things that need someone to go out there and advocate for them. I also believe that if we won't advocate for our ideas, no one else can or will do it for us. So I want to make sure every world changing big idea gets its advocate.

Your best career advice for other women at midlife is... Some say leap and the net will appear. I say don't be afraid to creep. You don't need to make huge changes to get to a new destination. Tiny changes in direction will get you there as well.


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