Each month we feature 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 Analiza Quiroz Wolf, Executive Coach, Facilitator, Strategy Consultant, and Author. A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion advocate, Analiza leads women’s leadership programs and the Women of Color Rise podcast.
A former CEO, Analiza has had several pivots in her career and so much wisdom to share from her diverse experience. Read on to learn how she did it!
What is your personal mantra, mission or manifesto? Ready, Fire, Aim!
I used to be extremely obsessive-compulsive. I remember in my twenties that I would wake up at 5AM to practice a presentation. I'm grateful that I've grown out of my perfectionist tendencies. Now, I'm more likely to trust my intuition and inspiration.
When I'm excited about an idea, instead of spending hours and hours and weeks and weeks analyzing and going through all the detail - plan As, plan Bs, and plan Cs, I'm more likely to go with my gut and then let 'er rip. That's led me to go write several books, present at conferences, and start my own non-profit and business.
What inspired you to launch your current career/launch your business?
I've spent the last 15 years in education, starting and leading schools for low-income students of color. Before starting this business, I was the CEO of a charter school network. My passion has always been helping people live aligned to their values, purpose, and joy - not just kids but also adults.
I have also always had a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion - how can we provide all people, regardless of race, gender, or difference, access to opportunity so that they can be their best selves?
As I was reflecting on my next chapter, I realized that the time was now to lean into supporting leaders, especially women and leaders of color. I also wanted to lean more into my zone of genius - coaching and facilitating. So Women of Color Rise was born.
I focus on coaching diverse leaders, facilitating high-impact leadership and training sessions on DEI, and consulting for organizations on how to develop and retain top talent. Each day, I wake up inspired and excited to do work that is meaningful to me and brings me joy.
What is unique about returning/pivoting in midlife? Challenges & opportunities?
I've had several pivots in my career. After Stanford, I served as a Captain in the US Air Force, then went to business school at Northwestern and was a Brand Manager at a Fortune 200 company.
I then pivoted to education, where I led schools and non-profits. This pivot is unique because what is driving the decision is much more driven by heart and joy. I use my gut and intuition more to let me know whether certain projects and opportunities make sense.
I also trust that doors will open and close however they need to. I know it sounds very "Woo", but I believe in visualization, and I had envisioned less hustle and more flow. Business would arrive naturally without much effort. I'm grateful this has come true for me.
Most importantly, I am prioritizing spending time with my young children. Having my own business and not being responsible for 200 people allows me the flexibility to take time off to be present with my kids.
Last summer, I took the entire school vacation off. I brought my kids to Guanajuato, Mexico, and we did a language program and lived in a homestay. We also spent a few weeks on safari in Africa. I've always dreamed of doing this, and I feel very fortunate to have this time with the kids.
What’s one intention you have for your work this year?
I am working on a book called "How Women of Color Rise." It's the playbook and advice from an older sister that I wished I had as I was advancing my career. My intention is to publish the book this coming year.
I have a podcast "Women of Color Rise" where I interview women leaders of color, mostly CEOs, about their journeys to the top. How did these women beat the odds? What made their ascent possible? How did managers or mentors or community play a role? What were their mistakes? What had held them back and how did they eventually succeeded? What were their lessons learned, mindsets, and tools that that helped them get to the top? How did their hearts guide them to the right career path?
I also trust that doors will open and close however they need to. I know it sounds very "Woo", but I believe in visualization, and I had envisioned less hustle and more flow.
What are you most passionate about right now?
I love coaching, especially women of color. It is the biggest honor to support someone on their journey and help them realize that all they need they already have. I hold up a mirror to their talents, gifts, and dreams they have, while also help them identify mindsets and beliefs that might not be serving them.
I'm a systems thinker, so it is fun for me to help clients craft a blueprint of what their ideal life at work, home, and self-care can be - and then a clear plan of what they can do to get there.
What does a typical day look like for you? 6:30am - Wake up and meditate Help my husband get the kids ready for school Quick jog, shower, and journal 9am-4pm - Usually coaching sessions, facilitating or preparing a leadership or training session to facilitate, working on a consulting project for a client (usually talent or culture related), interviewing for my podcast Women of Color Rise 4pm - Pick up kids and play piano or games 6pm - Dinner 8pm - Bedtime for kids Hang out with husband 10pm - Bedtime for me
What’s the one thing that has advanced your career in the last year?
Staying in contact with my community, including mentors, colleagues, and friends. It's amazing how we can all support each other. Even though I am running my own business now, I don't feel lonely and feel extremely supported.
Who’s your “tribe” when it comes to professional inspiration or support?
Women of Color Rise podcast interviewees - I find so much inspiration from the women who I interview. They share very vulnerable stories and also wise advice about how to rise in your career. I leave each interview feeling renewed and full of energy.
Favorite book, app or podcast? A plug for our podcast Women of Color Rise: analizawolf.com/womenofcolorrise
You’re granted an extra hour in the day, how do you spend it? Cuddling with my kids and husband
The advice I wish I had given to my 20-year-old self is… Trust yourself. Lean into what makes your heart sing. Let go of what weighs you down.
The advice that I want to give to my 75-year-old self is... You're as young as you believe yourself to be.
Your theme song that played every time you walked in a room would be? Lovely Day by Bill Withers
Best career advice for other women? Know yourself - your purpose, strengths, and joy - and create that life now.
When did you feel you got “you” back? Starting my own business and releasing others' expectations of me. So freeing!
What’s up next? I hope to publish "How Women of Color Rise" next year and also lead a course to support women with how to advance in their careers.