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What makes these 50+ co-founders tick (and how self-reflection will power your next chapter!)

photo credit Peek Photography

Whether you’re currently employed, relaunching your career, or making a pivot, what’s one of the most important factors you need to consider? The aspect of your career that determines if you stay or if you go?

Culture fit.

You want to work in an organization that gets you. And the first step to achieving that is to understand yourself better -- what motivates you, your values, how you collaborate with others, how you make decisions.

The “behind the scenes” of professional you!

Taking time to become more self-aware -- understanding how you want to work – will give you a leg up in your current or future role!

And you’ll come away with greater confidence as you move into new opportunities.

We all rely on user manuals to figure out how technology works, but what about for us humans who’re even more complicated?

As colleagues and EvolveMe co-founders, we’ve been working together for four years. It always helps to check in with ourselves - and each other - periodically to think about how we work best – especially since so much around us is constantly changing!

We've written our own Personal User Manuals! Take a peak into what makes us tick :)

After you read ours, we hope you’ll be inspired to take the time to complete your own User Manual. We’ve provided a link at the end of this article to make it easy for you to do exactly that.

The more you know yourself – the clearer you’ll be about your future direction!

Judy Schoenberg,

Co-founder, EvolveMe

My inspiration: My inspiration is my EvolveMe co-founder, Linda Lautenberg! She returned to work after a 16-year caregiving break from her career. What I love about Linda is her can-do attitude about EVERYTHING! If there’s a problem to solve – she can fix it! Her “everything is figureoutable” attitude fuels me and the women we work with in our community. She makes me believe you CAN grow and develop at any age and stage. Get this- she became our CTO too!

My style: I love hybrid work. Remote work is great for meetings with women all across the country and for leading our virtual signature training cohorts, the Reinvention Collective. I look forward to in-person connections with women this year at Luminary, a woman’s co-working space where Linda and I work in New York City. I get fired up when I’m around smart, motivated women entrepreneurs – we have so much to give and get from each other.

My values: I’m so lucky that my values align with my company’s! As an entrepreneur - we have the freedom to choose! Linda and I developed EvolveMe’s values early on, and they guide all of our work: Collaboration, growth, authenticity, change, and optimism. These values are my north star and help me stay grounded in our mission and why we founded our company – especially when times are challenging.

Communicating with me: I like using email for colleagues and partners outside of EvolveMe. And I use text for day-to-day communication with my co-founder. We catch up on work on text and in our personal lives too. We love sharing tips and resources on slack with the EvolveMe community.

Give and get feedback: Feedback is a gift, and I’m all about “evolving” and continuous improvement. We collect feedback from the women in our programs so that we can make their experiences even better. We also give feedback to the women we work with if they’re feeling stuck. My approach to feedback is to help women lead with their strengths rather than trying to fix all their weaknesses. And I try to be direct and warm at the same time – it’s a lifelong work in progress!

Supporting me, supporting you: What I love about working with women in midlife career transition is that I get to support them in the next phase of their careers and offer the support they need in a safe and brave space. So often, women can’t talk about the challenges they face at work. I look to my colleagues, friends, and co-founder for support when I need it. I’m at the stage of my life where I can ask for help more now. Thank goodness for that!

What gets to me? My pet peeves are when I make an effort to reach out to people, and they are unresponsive. I guess that’s called ghosting? It really bugs me. I don’t need to get a response right away – but even an “i”m not interested” in an email back to me would help!

Bright spots that make my day: The best thing that can happen work-wise in my day is that we get a message from a Reinvention Collective graduate about how the training has changed their life and transformed what they think is possible. That makes my day. And often my week! Knowing that I’m impacting women’s lives is everything to me.

Special sauce: People tell me that I’m positive and supportive and often come to me as their cheerleader. It comes naturally to me, so sometimes I don’t see it as special! I’m the natural ringleader in my group of friends, organizing gatherings too. And it makes sense that one of the things I like best is bringing cohorts of women together for community and support. Sometimes who we are in our personal life impacts who we are at work, too!

Faves: My favorite way to spend my free time is getting out and moving! I love walking, doing yoga, and sculpt classes. I also love cooking – it's my creative outlet. My favorite book right now is Zibby Owens’ Bookends. Her honesty about how she pivoted her career to be a podcaster and an author is inspiring. I love learning the stories about how other women have made a change in midlife– if you can’t see it, you can’t be it!

Linda Lautenberg,

Co-founder, EvolveMe

My Motivation: When I decided to return to work after a caregiving break from my finance career, I had no idea what I wanted to do next. And that kept me stuck for three years, spinning my wheels. Trying to figure out my next move was isolating and frustrating. I was worried it was too late for me, that I wouldn’t be able to find work that would give me meaning and fit into my life.

As co-founder of EvolveMe, I believe we all deserve to have a brilliant next career chapter, regardless of age or stage. So many factors may have impacted a woman’s career by midlife. Caring for others (children or parents), geographical moves, health issues, divorce… or simply realizing we want different things from our careers now than we did in our 20s and 30s.

My inspiration: My co-founder Judy Schoenberg is a constant source of inspiration for me. We bring complementary skills to our partnership, and I’m so grateful for all I’ve learned from her. I’m so impressed with her talent for building programs enabling women to be their best selves. She brings such passion to this work. I am one lucky co-founder!

My work style: I’m social and prefer to work with others. As an entrepreneur, I enjoy having a co-founder for brainstorming ideas and balancing interests, skills, and strengths.

The ability to work remotely allows me to fit work into the rest of my life. As a digital company, we’re constantly on Zoom with women all over the country and around the world - that’s exciting! I love a hybrid work model - going to New York to work a couple of times a week is energizing!

Happy places to work: In warm weather, you can find me working outside at the beach (I live near the Jersey Shore) or on my back porch with my flowers and birdfeeders. In cooler weather I’ll be in my office, surrounded by my furry co-workers, my dog, and two cats.

Once or twice a week I LOVE meeting Judy in Manhattan for some IRL time. I take the ferry to work - how cool is that? I love the energy of the city and meeting up with colleagues at co-working spaces like Luminary in Nomad.

My energizers: Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. All day long. And exercise! Boot-camp HIIT-type classes, running, hiking. All the adrenaline. It’s so important for my mental as well as my physical health.

I enjoy having an outlet for my creative side - designing on Canva, experimenting with fashion, and gardening. I also love reading - I’m a classic lit nerd.

My values: Kindness, optimism, growth, authenticity, and generosity. It’s so important that your values coincide with the work you do and the company you work for. As co-founders, Judy and I couldn’t be more aligned - our values are baked into EvolveMe! Communicating with me: Like most people, email for work colleagues, text with Judy, friends, and family. And our EvolveMe community stays in touch on Slack. But I prefer actually speaking to people when possible - Zoom over a phone call is better, with cameras on. There are so many nuances you can miss otherwise, no matter how many emojis you use!

My decision-making style: I’m a fairly decisive person - I like to pick my course and move on, then course correct later if needed.

Special sauce: I love a challenge. My motto is that everything is figure-outable (or at least Google-able!). Being an entrepreneur means you have to be a jack of all trades - which is FANTASTIC for me because I love learning new things. For EvolveMe that means I’m the tech person - go figure! Give me a problem and tell me it can’t be solved, and I’m all over it.

I’m an optimist and live in a glass-half-full world. I always believe things will work out and can find a silver lining in any outcome. People tell me my positivity is contagious!

Make my day! Hearing about the success of someone in the EvolveMe community - being reminded that the work we do is changing women’s lives - always makes my day. And in everyday life, unexpected acts of kindness, or just being around nice, friendly people - that’s always a mood booster for me! I absorb all of that positive energy.


How about you? Download our template and create your own User Manual here: How-to of YOU.

Set yourself up for success – the more you know yourself, the easier it will be for you to land the role that’s right for who you are NOW!

We want more for you!


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