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EvolveMe #40over40: Simone Berkowitz

This is our time! We’re stronger when we work together to lift other women up. EvolveMe's #40over40 list curates 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!

Meet the brilliant Simone Berkowitz. Simone brings expert analytical skills to nonprofit management. AND - she's also a published fiction author! Simone's secret power? Imagining a different world and charting the path to get there.

Read on to be inspired by Simone and benefit from her advice!

What is the current focus of your career?

I have a professional career in nonprofit management and a rich creative life as a writer. I have experienced transitions in both areas. Recently, I moved from an analyst role to now serving as Development Director at a social services nonprofit that has been deeply impacted by the pandemic.

Last year, at age 40, I published my debut novel, Manflu, and am currently working on a second book. I have tried a number of different formats for my writing and even performed at a live storytelling event!

What prompted your career reinvention?

I fell into fundraising somewhat accidentally because the person who previously held the job left on medical leave and then retired. I was tapped to serve as Interim Director and then took over the Development Director role on a permanent basis.

Prior to that promotion, I had worked closely with the person as an analyst and she trusted me to take over her work. My skills as a numbers person and writer and my ability to connect with community members make me a good fit for the role.

On the writing side, I began writing fiction as an outlet for the anger and powerlessness I was feeling at the state of the world after the 2016 election. In my stories, women are in charge and it's very satisfying. I love to imagine what the world would look like with a different power structure.

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

There is never a dull moment! I enjoy the feeling of constantly learning and growing. If I'm not working toward a goal, I feel restless. This stage of life is exciting because I'm learning, but I'm also drawing on significant life experience to make huge strides in many areas.

What's the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is balancing my career goals and writing with being a parent while trying to stay sane. My kids are still young - ages 7 and 10 - and it can be hard, especially during this pandemic.

What's your personal mantra/mission? Why?

Let's see how far I can take this. Sometimes, the sky is the limit. If I can write an essay, how about a novella? What about a whole book? How about two? Similarly with my professional career, I'm always trying new things and seeing how far I can go.

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

We all tell ourselves stories about our lives and it's helpful to stop and examine them sometimes to make sure they're true and helpful.

For example, people say they couldn't write a book. Well, if you sat down and wrote 1,000 words a day for a couple of months, you could have a book written. If you have a goal that you want to achieve, break it down and figure out how to make it happen.


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