I have been fighting and breaking stereotypes since I was a kid.
I grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home where girls were supposed to be seen and not heard. I had to fight my way out of that universe. At 13, I had a big fight with my parents. I knew I didn’t want to live in that closed community. I had to be very tough because I was literally leaving the tribe.
I got married right after college and quickly divorced. Thankfully we didn’t have children. I floundered. I eventually became a manager in human resources for a corporation. Then I became a director in its philanthropic program. At that time, it was a brutal culture for women. The women in management were insecure. There wasn’t a culture of helping other women.
I went into private practice as a therapist concentrating on rebirthing, which is a form of breath work and healing. I also became certified in yoga. I began to teach yoga based on transformational principles.
I heard that Hillary Clinton was looking for a regional director in Rockland County, New York. I sent my résumé and a letter to Hillary. I had no experience in politics, but I was seeking “the fullest expression of myself on earth.” Hillary hired me at age 55. I worked for her from 2005 until 2009. And I was Regional Director of Rockland County for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand until 2011.
When I turned 60, I focused on what was worthy of my time. I discussed this with some friends and decided I wanted to share with other women what I had learned. So, I started “Smarter, Bolder, Older: Women Redefining Life After Fifty.” I created several workshops that were sold out.
I started life coaching, teaching individual women the strategies from my workshops. Coaching is different from therapy. In therapy, the client is broken and needs to be fixed. In life coaching, you try to get the client to see with a new perspective and to expand her vision.
Women, especially those age 50 and up, should not be afraid to dream or take risks—or to talk about their age. Women over 50 are extraordinary! One more important thing: Women need to understand money and finances. Learn now what you need to live the rest of your life.
This is an excerpt from a comprehensive interview.