How She Did It: Alisha Fernandez Miranda
Updated: Feb 7
It’s never too late to say YES to second chances and explore new dreams deferred or newly imagined! Just ask Alisha Fernandez Miranda.
Each month, EvolveMe features inspirational women who've made it to the other side of career reinvention. Learn how they did it and take away usable tips from their professional journeys!
We're thrilled to introduce Alisha Fernandez Miranda, debut author of the soon-to-be-released My What If Year: Four Internships, Three Countries, Two Kids, and One Life-Changing Misadventure – a hilarious and thoughtful memoir that recounts the adventures of a successful Latina CEO & mother of twins who takes a sabbatical from her career to explore the “What If” jobs of her dreams.
Bravely, she decided to give herself a break and left her home in London to spend one year exploring four internships along roads untraveled.
On her journey, Alisha discovers a long-buried question,“Why didn’t I do what I most wanted to do until now?”
Alisha’s memoir traces her journey to finding what lights her up, overcoming burnout, and debunking the myth that careers need to be linear to be successful.
We promise, like us, Alisha’s courage will inspire you. And you’ll be energized to embark on your own journey (even if you do it from home!) Read on to learn how she did it!
What is your personal mantra, mission, or manifesto? I'm not sure if I have a pithy slogan yet! But I suppose I'm passionate about helping inspire people - especially women, especially of a certain age - to explore their own "what if's".
What inspired you to launch your current career/launch your business? I would say that my current career as an author felt more like an evolution, the next step in a bunch of baby steps away from my old career, and less like a great launch forward.
But in 2019, I was successful but stuck. I was unhappy, although I had achieved all the goals I had set out to - career, family - and I was craving change. So I had a rather unorthodox idea: what if I found internships in all the careers I wanted to try as a child but didn't? Then I discounted the idea. Picked it back up. Dropped it again.
I was afraid of change until finally, I realized that my fear of change was outweighed by my fear of things staying the same. So I took the leap.
What is unique about returning/pivoting in midlife? Challenges & opportunities? I think the older we get, the more perspective we have and the more we know. It's a huge opportunity. As an intern at nearly 40, I got so much more out of my experiences than I ever would have at 20. I appreciated tasks I might have once been annoyed by having to do, like filing or polishing silverware - they were opportunities to learn. My mindset was totally different, and that was truly a gift.
The biggest challenge was, for me, hands down, balancing my family's needs with my own professional goals. My leaving to pursue my dreams meant someone having to stay with my kids - in my case, my husband, who is very supportive, but it was still a challenge to be away. Also, they missed me, and I missed them, but I felt - and still feel - torn in multiple directions. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to balance this on a case-by-case basis!
What’s one intention you have for your work this year? After doing my internships, writing my book, editing my book, and everything entailed, it will finally be out in the world! People will read my story. So my intention is to be in those moments where I have the chance to connect with people who saw something of themselves in my own journey. I've been waiting for this, and I want to make sure I don't let it pass me by too fast.
What are you most passionate about right now? When I'm not writing or reading or traveling (three of my always travels), I'm trying to make a dent in the fight for greater reproductive rights. My former and still sometimes current career has always focused on greater empowerment of women and girls, and with increasing restrictions around the globe, I feel passionate about contributing my skills to the fight in the best way possible.
What does a typical day look like for you? Most weekdays, I'm woken up by my son with a coffee for me at about 7:15. I get the kids off to school before eight and then slowly ease into my mornings. I'm based in Scotland, but a lot of my work right now is happening in the US, so I won't really have many meetings until 1 or 2 pm my time, which gives me time to approach the day with care.
I try to exercise most mornings. Check on my plants, do the Wordle, maybe get a second coffee with my husband, who also works from home, and walk our dog. If it's a heavy writing day, I'll park myself somewhere and just write or edit until my brain starts to melt. My favorite spots are the Reading Room at the National Library of Scotland and the Cafe at the Botanic Gardens.
Afternoons will be Zoom after Zoom, but they are varied and mostly fun. I will interview someone for my podcast Quit Your Day Job, then hop on a call about philanthropy with my team at the consulting firm, then possibly another call with some art dealers about a work that we're trying to find export papers for. It's never the same and never boring.
I pick up the kiddos from school at about 5, and then the evening is theirs if I'm not on calls - my twins are obsessed with sitcoms, and I love watching with them. Then dinner, put the kids to sleep, and hang out with my husband until it's time to do it all again the next day!
What’s the one thing that has advanced your career in the last year? I have been a huge fan of online writing classes and have taken a few this year that have unlocked a lot of me. One in particular, a Grub Street class on Screenwriting Tips for Fiction Writers, blew my nascent novel wide open for me and allowed me to finish a draft. I'm a huge fan of classes of all kinds, from tap dancing to knitting to writing to art history.
Who’s your “tribe” when it comes to professional inspiration or support? How lucky am I to have so many tribes to turn to? I've got my family, of course, my husband and mom and dad, who are the first port of call. Then I have my core group of best girls, some newer to my life and some older, who provide moral support, jokes, memes, and advice.
And then, I have the Zibby Books authors for anything writing-related. We have WhatsApp groups, and regular catch-up Zooms - they are always there for any questions, gripes, successes, all of it, in navigating this new world of publishing for me.
Favorite book, app, or podcast? As a podcast host, it may surprise you to know I listen to very few podcasts, but I love Zibby Owens' Mom's Don't Have Time to Read Books. I read a lot, so as soon as I finish a book, I'm off to my podcast app to see if she's interviewed the author yet (she usually has!)
You’re granted an extra hour in the day, how do you spend it? Sleeping - in my ideal life, I get 9 hours a night, which rarely actually happens!
The advice I wish I had given to my 20-year-old self is… Don't be so afraid to fail - it's not as bad as you think it will be, and you learn a lot. Also, always stop one drink before you think you're ready.
The advice that I want to give to my 75-year-old self is... I hope she'll be rocking it. But maybe just a reminder to never stop having adventures.
Your theme song that played every time you walked in a room would be? Yeah, by Little Jon and Ludacris, how do you not dance to that?
Best career advice for other women? Listen to the little voice inside you, and don't shut her down. If you want something but another part of you says "you can't," - interrogate if that's really true and why you feel that way. Often we all place arbitrary limits on what we think we can and can't do - not saying there aren't plenty of real ones, but some are just in our minds. Ask yourself why you don't think you can do something and maybe, just maybe, give it a try anyway.
When did you feel you got “you” back? I came back after kids in pieces. A bit when I went back to work (after 14 months, three cheers for a UK maternity leave), and again when they started school. But I didn't feel like I could really start contemplating a major career change until they were about 8 - old enough that they didn't need me constantly, and I had more headspace to dream.
What’s up next? I'll be on tour for My What If Year in February, and I wrote a novel which I'm excited to share more about soon.