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How She Did It: Noelle Sojka-Howell

Each month we feature inspirational women who've made it to the other side of career change. Learn how they did it and take away usable tips from their professional journeys!

Meet Noelle Sojka-Howell, successful strategist, change leader, career pivoter AND a Reinvention Collective alumnae!

An open-minded and solutions-oriented thinker, Noelle is curious and optimistic with a contagious energy that makes you want to be around her! She used these very special portable skills to embark on an exciting new role.

We're thrilled for Noelle and her exciting new chapter! Read on to be inspired and find out how she did it.

What is your personal mantra, mission, or manifesto? I have a few:

  1. There is a solution to every problem if you are willing to dig in and find it.

  2. When faced with a challenge or failure, shift your mindset. Look at it as a lesson and apply those lessons to your life or career.

  3. Elevate your team as much as you can - cultivate leaders and empower them to lead.

  4. When the ox bows, sharpen the knife - this is a saying a leadership professor in college shared with our class. It means when an opportunity or challenge presents itself, face it head on and go for it.

What inspired you to launch your current career? I wanted to evolve and go to the next level professionally - I was ready for more and ready for a change.

What's unique about pivoting in midlife? Challenges & opportunities? I look at my pivot as more of an evolution - I was looking to grow and move to the next level.

The challenge for me was to get out of the mindset that I had to look for jobs or roles that fit my experience level perfectly. I had to change the perception that I had to meet every single job qualification to talk to someone about a new role or apply.

When I let that go, I realized that the opportunity to pivot existed, but I had to challenge myself to think differently first.

What’s one intention you have for your work this year? Not to limit my ideas. Anything is possible - throw the ideas out there and see where it goes.

What are you most passionate about right now? Transformational change - we limit ourselves when we can't get out of our own way personally, professionally, or organizationally.

What does a typical day look like for you? I work primarily remotely, so it usually starts on the Peloton. From there, anything goes - calls, follow-ups, managing projects, developing ideas, etc. and the occasional tea breaks with my pups, Miles and Layla.

What’s the one thing that has advanced your career in the last year? Evolve Me's programming. This program helped me embrace my strengths and identify the direction I wanted to go.

The partnership and collaboration of the women in this program is amazing. Women with different backgrounds and from all over the country empower one another. It's powerful.

The other item is networking. I have never been a great networker. I realized the power of networking this year.

Who’s your “tribe” when it comes to professional inspiration or support? I have various circles, including lifelong friends, former colleagues, etc.

I now also have my EvolveMe friends, who always offer amazing guidance and support. Even though the program ended, we have continued meeting weekly.

Favorite book, app or podcast? Favorite app - I have two right now:

  1. Peloton app - working remotely, this has been a game changer for me.

  2. Calm - also a gamechanger.

You’re granted an extra hour in the day. How do you spend it? Depends on the day - could be hiking, could be reading, could be at a yoga class, could be listening to music, or browsing a record store. It will not be spent checking email.

The advice I wish I had given to my 20-year-old self is… You will make mistakes along the way, and it's going to be OK. Remember to learn from them. It's ok to be strong, and it's OK to step out and lead. Don't be afraid of either. The other piece of advice is to follow your instincts.

The advice that I want to give to my 75-year-old self is... Look back with grace and admiration, and don't be afraid to tell your story.

Your theme song that played every time you walk in a room would be? It depends on the day, the situation, and so much more - could be one of many given the type of situation.

Best career advice for other women? Support each other. Share your story.

When did you feel you got “you” back? I'm not sure I was ever lost. I think I had some aha moments that pointed me in the right direction.

What’s up next? Good question - I recently pivoted jobs, so I am still settling in, learning, and moving through this shift. But, I do have some personal goals that need some focus.


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