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EvolveMe #40over40: Katherine Riebe

This article is part of our#40over40series.

This is our time! We’re stronger when we work together to lift other women up. EvolveMe is creating the first-ever #40over40 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. And we're thrilled to share these stories of reinvention - women returning to work, pivoting careers or launching new ventures!

And it's Katherine Riebe's time too! Katherine's career is devoted to helping others. After 20 years teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL), she's transitioning to her passion - international development. Read on to be inspired by her journey.

What has been the focus of your career and what's your current area of professional interest?

I've been a teacher of English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) for over two decades. Right now, I'm transitioning to a career in international development. I’m particularly interested in WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), nutrition and agroecology.

What prompted your career reinvention?

While I consider myself blessed to enjoy teaching ESOL, I was bitten by the international development bug over 20 years ago. However, because we were in the throes of moving and starting a family, it was not the time for me to change careers. As my children approached the end of their high school years, I went back to school to continue my preparation for a career switch though in fact, I had been preparing all along.

What's the best thing about mid-life career change?

At my age, I have a much clearer idea of what I wish to do and where my strengths lie. I also have a wide network of people which are a valuable resource to me. In addition, at this stage of life the day-to-day needs of my family are few.

What's the biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge is in translating my varied past employment and volunteer experiences in a way that employers in international development realize the value I can bring to their teams. While a lot of job postings emphasize specific technical skills, I am searching for a space to apply a trans-disciplinary systems approach that welcomes multiple ways of knowing.

What's your personal mantra/mission? Why?

I am called to journey and collaborate with others to achieve improved livelihoods and well-being globally. I want the poorest of the poor and the world’s most vulnerable people to experience sufficiency, peace, and health.

Your best career advice for other women at midlife is...

Carpe diem! Seize the day! You only have one life to live, so go for it.


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