Women with Cool Jobs

Corporate Philanthropy Expert Does 4 Internships To Explore New Careers, with Alisha Fernandez Miranda

April 05, 2023
Women with Cool Jobs
Corporate Philanthropy Expert Does 4 Internships To Explore New Careers, with Alisha Fernandez Miranda
Show Notes Transcript

Alisha Fernandez Miranda is an expert and leader in corporate philanthropy and social impact (a former CEO and current chair of a consultancy) who helps large companies and organizations spend their money well and in a way that aligns with their mission and goals. On the flip side, she helps nonprofits successfully raise more money so they can further their mission and make a greater impact in the world. Alisha’s also the author of My What If Year, an epic adventure during the pandemic of 4 different internship experiences while managing life as a mom, wife, and chief executive! 

 

In 2019, Alisha had checked her life boxes of a Harvard degree, a successful career, a beautiful family, and a nice home. Yet as she approached her 40th birthday, she was questioning whether things felt right. Was she happy? The result was Alicia temporarily stepping away from her job as CEO and doing 4 internships that took her to Broadway, a retro fitness brand, the London art scene, and a Scottish luxury hotel. 

 

In this episode, we talk about: 

  • What it was like growing her business, career, and family and having the courage to take a break and make space for something new?  What's it like to go from being CEO to being a beginner again? 
  • What is "corporate philanthropy" and "social impact"? What does a consultant do in this field? Why is it a dream job for many people? 
  • How can you take your own “What If?” moments? How can you explor some ways to bring joy into your life?


Alisha helped found I.G. Advisors, an award-winning consultancy that works with organizations and individuals and specializes in philanthropy, corporate impact, and fundraising advice. I.G.'s clients include many incredible organizations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxfam, Adobe, DLA Piper, The Old Vic, UN Women, Primark and many others.

 Alisha is a Cuban-American, born and raised in Miami, who has spent her adult life in New York and London. She is currently based in Scotland with her twins and husband.
 
Resources:


Contact Info:

Alisha Fernandez Miranda  - Guest
@alishafmiranda (Instagram)
Alisha Fernandez Miranda (LinkedIn)
Alisha's website

Julie Berman - Host
www.womenwithcooljobs.com
@womencooljobs (Instagram)
Julie Berman (LinkedIn) 

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Alisha Fernandez Miranda:

But I have found that the perfect job for you and whatever moment in your life you might be in is not necessarily what everybody else thinks the perfect job is. And just because you are good at something or you have invested a lot of time in something doesn't mean that that's what you should keep doing forever. So that is what led me to my internships and what eventually became the book my wife year. And the reason that we're getting a chance to talk today, because I did decide after much hemming and hawing and feeling stressed and guilty and depressed and all of those things that I was going to take these mini sabbaticals I was going to take a year from my job, and I was going to go off and do unpaid internships at all of these jobs I had dreamed of doing when I was a kid, and never got a chance to try out.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody, I'm Julie, and welcome to Women with cool jobs. Each episode will feature women with unique trailblazing and innovative careers. We'll talk about how she got here, what life is like now, and actionable steps that you can take to go on a similar path or one that's all your own. This podcast is about empowering you. It's about empowering you to dream big and to be inspired. You'll hear from incredible women in a wide variety of fields, and hopefully some that you've never heard of before. Women who build robots and roadways, firefighters, C suite professionals surrounded by men, social media mavens, entrepreneurs, and I'm so glad we get to go on this journey together. Hello, everybody, this is Julie Berman, and welcome to another episode of women with cool jobs. So I am here today to speak about someone who's super cool, very courageous, and has had a super cool career and is trying out some new ones. So her name is Alicia Fernandez Miranda. She is the author of my wife year a memoir about four internships, three countries, two kids, and one life changing misadventure. And she is also an internationally recognized leader in social impact. She's now the chair and Senior Consultant of a consulting firm in the United Kingdom that specializes in philanthropy, corporate impact and fundraising advice. And so she has some incredible, incredible work experience. And then she went on this amazing adventure, and tried out a whole bunch of different thing. So of course, I was really excited to have this conversation because in her job and her career, in the past, she has worked with some major corporations that you have heard about, including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxfam, Adobe, DLA Piper, the Old Vic, UN Women, Primark, and more. And she has helped these organizations and others to either figure out if they have money to give like they're trying to do some sort of social impact campaign, or they're regularly giving contributions to an organization, how can they do that. And then on the flip side, she is figuring out how the organizations themselves, the nonprofits, and the organizations helping to do all these incredible things in the world, how they can earn more money to continue and further what they're doing in their mission. So such a beautiful, beautiful thing that she has done in the past. And then she got to this place where she was just really curious and like wondered what's next. Because she checked the life boxes, she had beautiful family, beautiful house, this business that had been very successful, you know, she built with her husband, and she was in this spot where things didn't quite feel right anymore. And she was like, Well, okay, what's next? And she got this crazy idea, to do internships to actually figure out all these careers that she had thought about when she was younger, like, what if she followed down those paths? Because right, we always have things that we are maybe interested in doing. And for some reason, we think that we can't follow them. Right? We we think it's not practical or whatever, right? We just sort of pushed them aside. And she ended up doing for internships in the middle of the pandemic. So things didn't quite turn out as she wanted, but she was able to do an experience on Broadway at a Retro Fitness brand, the lended art scene and a Scottish luxury hotel. And these were such cool stories and amazing things that she learned throughout the process. And what I want to point out here too, is the courage that it would take to even do this, like having built your own company, having it be so successful to go back to basics and be the complete beginner. Wow, like I was so impressed with her. I love this story. And it really got me thinking, because I'm a huge fan of doing informational interviews. And if you're not familiar what those are, you can go back I have a whole episode where I explain what these are and best practices but in a nutshell, or 15 or 20 minute conversations, where you go, and you speak with people who have cool jobs that interests you, you talk to them about what did they do? How did they get there? What are their favorite things about it? What are the challenges are the things that they do not like about it? Is that something that you can imagine yourself doing? Is it something that you think you would want to pursue? And what does that involve? Does it involve more education? Does it involve, you know, talking to different people and connecting with different people. So that's an informational interview. But then what Alicia did, which is why I was like, so intrigued and excited about this is almost the next step. How can you get experience in something yourself, because talking about doing something, right, and actually having that experience, dipping your toes in, is very different. And you get such a different, instinctual feeling for whether it's right or not for you. And so I'm just so intrigued, because I'm trying to think about even like, how could I do my own? What if experiences, even in a smaller way, like on a daily type of basis, or a weekly type of thing. So I'm so intrigued if you guys have any ideas, and I'm happy to share those with Alicia too. But it's just really got my wheels, turning about how valuable this experience could be, you know, for so many reasons, just to see what really sparks us and what lights us up, what makes us feel fulfilled. That's like, if you've been seeing what I'm doing with Spark, or types, hearing a little bit about that, like, that's what it's all about is just figuring out, like tapping into yourself, and what you really love, what makes you come alive, and like how to add more of that to your life. So please make sure you share this episode with at least one other person who will love it. Because all these incredible women and their voices, they deserve the spotlight. And I want to share what's possible, through their words through what they're doing. Because right, the more we see, the more we can be. So I appreciate you being here. And enjoy this amazing conversation with Alicia. Alright, hello, Alicia. So you are such a cool guest that I'm so excited to have on today. Your full name is Alicia Fernandez, Miranda, and you are a woman with many hats that you've worn of many talents of many things that you've tried. And so I'm just so excited to be talking about, like what's brought you here to this point today in your life. You're an internationally recognized leader in social impact. And now the chair and Senior Consultant of a firm in the United Kingdom that specializes in philanthropy, corporate impact and fundraising advice. You're also the author of my What if year where you had four different internship experiences in the middle of a pandemic, while managing your life as a mom, wife and chief executive. So I just like, I'm so excited to get into all the things and pieces of this because, like, there's just a lot to unpack and sort of investigate and talk about and reflect on. And I'm just like, so happy that we can do that, because you've had the opportunity to like really have a lot of cool experiences. And I'd love to learn about them all.

Unknown:

I am so excited to be here. I feel honored, frankly to be included in the women with cool jobs list of women because as I was telling you before we started recording, I'm going through your episodes and I'm like I want to do that job. I want to do that job I want to do that job. So I feel like I'm gonna have a lot of internship opportunities forthcoming.

Julie Berman - Host:

I you know, if you do you can keep us updated because I would love to hear about them all like I, I something I stay is I like to live sort of vicariously through all the people I interview because I can't possibly do all these things myself. But yeah, I love that. Thank you for for that feedback on it. So to get us started, like, tell us because this is a little bit of a different interview than we've done because you gone from this place where you were the chief executive of like a very well respected organization you've worked with, like some huge, huge, very impactful people and organizations including, like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxfam, the Old Vic the UN Women, Primark and many more. Then you had some really cool internships, like where you were on Broadway, you were working for a Retro Fitness brand, the London art scene and then a Scottish luxury hotel. So like very diverse experiences, and also very diverse, like in the world, like diverse locations and culture and all this stuff. So like, I would love to start with the look back, you know, sort of retrospective, and what I guess like, what was something that you feel like when you were younger, that really like sparked who you are, or brought you joy and kind of paved the way for doing this now, because this is such a brave thing to do to be honest, like, I don't think I was even thinking about it for myself. I'm like, what I do that like, I don't know, that's like, a leap into the unknown, and so many ways. So you as a younger person, I would love to get some insight on on who you were. And like what brought you joy?

Unknown:

Little Alicia, Alicia. Yeah, so many things brought her joy. It's very funny because I actually think that some of the I guess the external sort of world and context that I picked up on when I was a little girl, of what it meant to be successful of what it meant to achieve is a lot of how I ended up in the position where I decided I wanted to go take all these internships in the first place because I was an extremely driven person. I have been ambitious since before I can remember I like to be in charge of things I like to be the boss of things, everything from my family Christmas shows where I was always the director, I was absolutely ruthless. I would write scripts. And if my cousin's deviated from the script, they would be like shunned from the next year, it was like so it's amazing. They all still love me now. Because truly, you know, it says you should never call the station never called Little girls bossy, but like I was bossy little girl, I really just I like being charged. I like being successful. And I always wanted to be the best. And whether that was something that I internalized from my environment, or my parents or being daughter of an immigrant, oldest girl, this kid, or whether it was just something innate, it was probably a little bit of both. But so that's who little Alicia was, I, I found joy by succeeding. I had a diary entry from when I was in the fifth grade. That said, My goal in life was to go to Harvard, I don't even know how I knew what Harvard was, I didn't know anybody that went to Harvard, I grew up in Miami, it was those things were on my radar screen from such a young age, that I had this very laser focused, just kind of ambition and what I wanted to do. And so up until really 2020, when I started this journey, or 2019, when I started thinking about what if I want to do something else. That's what got me to where I was, you know, being CEO was absolutely at the end of that kind of pathway that I was walking on throughout my childhood. I was so I mean, I had lots and lots of interests. But really, it was really always about what can I be the best step? Where can I really succeed?

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. When I was reading your book, I think what stood out to me is like, there's so many similarities. I feel like between us, I always felt like I was definitely the overachiever, I went I want to go to Stanford, which didn't happen. Maybe fortunately, or unfortunately, I met my husband where I went to school. So it worked out, right. But like I, you know, so many similarities. It's so interesting, because you talk about sort of, you are so driven. And a lot of things you did is like you did with this ultimate purpose in mind of like, building this life for yourself, which you did. And by all accounts, so many people be like, Oh, my gosh, you have an amazing life, you know, you had some beautiful people in it and your family like a job. That seems so cool. And I'd also love to hear a little bit more about that, too, as we go on a husband who is supportive, like, it sounds like you had a really close set of friends, things like that. So I'm curious from that standpoint of you as a young girl, sort of going through and with sort of this zest for like, I'm going to do all these things. I have these high peaks that I'm going to get to and climb the mountain, and then you get to a peak right around. It seems like maybe that 2019 timeframe where you're like looking around, you're like, oh my gosh, I'm here, but is this kind of like what I want to do now in the future? Is that kind of how that felt? Or I'm just Am I hope I'm not putting words in.

Unknown:

You're not You're for some right 100% Right. And so, oh, go ahead. No, no, go ahead.

Julie Berman - Host:

I was gonna say I know you have this, this big night out with your friends involve some alcohol, and that's kind of what started getting those thoughts flowing. of jumping into this alternate path, at least for a short time, right and taking the literal leap of faith basically off the mountain, and figuring out what's next for me. So I would love to hear you speak on that. Because that I feel like that moment, you know, especially in the pandemic, with what happened, I think, you know, whether or not we planned on it, a lot of people had maybe something similar, where we reevaluate a lot of what's going. So I'd love to hear your thoughts. And if that felt scary, or like, how did you navigate that?

Unknown:

It's such a good question. You're not putting words in my mouth? You're absolutely right. I mean, that's 100% how I was feeling and I think I think I had been moving forward, I had this forward momentum for so long. And it always felt almost like a video game, like I was unlocking the next level, unlocking the next level. And not just in my professional life, but in my personal life as well. And I had been so laser focused on that for so long. And then I had kids, I had my twins, my twins at 29. I went back to work after I lived in the UK live in the UK. So I had a 14 month maternity leave everyone who's listening to this in the US is going to be like dead of jealousy because I had. So I had this long maternity leave, I went back to work, and, and then I kept then it was like doing the working mom life and managing with two young kids. And my cup was so full. And I was just moving, moving moving forward. And a lot of what happened. I think I started to have these questions for myself. When I started to have more time and space, when my kids started school, when I got to a comfortable point in my career, where I didn't feel like I was constantly hustling all the time to make sure that the business was succeeding. And we were doing that. And so I just had the tiniest amount more of time than I had had before. And as soon as I quieted all of those, you have to do this, this to do list, you have to do this thing. As soon as that went quiet. And I started to ask myself, Is this is this working? Like, let's check in? Are we happy here. And when I found that I was not, it was a horrible feeling. How did I feel I felt terrible, I felt extremely guilty, because I had so much and I had everything I had really wanted. And somehow that was not making me happy, I felt scared that maybe I was never going to be happy. Maybe this was just like it, maybe this is what happens when you hit middle age like I was coming up to 40. Maybe this was just the feeling of being at that stage in my life, I don't get to be happy anymore. Maybe I'm not going to have any more new experiences or first days or that kind of jolt of excitement when you do something new. And it was truly awful. I was so I didn't even realize I think how unhappy I was until after this whole thing had happened. And then I was in a position where I was waking up every day and excited about what was coming next that I looked back and realized I had been missing that for a while. My job was and you know, I still do it a little bit of time, I'll tell you all about how I spend my working time at the moment. But it was extremely cool. And I was very happy doing it for a very long time. And I felt really like I was being so ungrateful for what I had been given by even questioning that I wanted to do something different. So there were a lot of emotions in that sort of pre Martini fueled night, and a lot of buildup, and not just one thing, but a number of situations. And it was that kind of constant that waking up each day that cycle and routine and just wondering if I was missing out by not asking myself, What if what else? What's coming next? Yeah,

Julie Berman - Host:

that's like, I think such an amazing reflection. I appreciate you sharing kind of especially the emotions part of it, because I think it is really interesting. Like sometimes when we're younger, we're like about almost checking the boxes like I should, I should have this or I want to do this, or I need to have this. It's like you get to this point this year, I'm turning 39. So I'm like almost at the same place. And it's so interesting, because I feel like these last few years and like oh, like I don't know, like is this? It's just a lot of thought and reflection going into everything. Like is this what I thought it was gonna be like, is this what I want to be doing or how I want to be doing it? And I think that it's it's a place where we often find yourself especially if we do have like these amazing blessings in our life. It's hard to be at a place where you're questioning. So I appreciate that so much. And, and I would love to hear a little bit about what were you doing at that point, because you have like this really incredible organization I had actually, I mean, it's new to me that this field exists. So I would love if you could explain what kind company that you had created, like what it was that you guys did. And I would love to hear about like a little bit about those internship experiences. And then we'll get to what you are doing now.

Unknown:

I would love to tell you so it's funny because I think one of the points in the book that I had to be like that my editor came back and made me rewrite probably a dozen times was the description of what my job was before because talking about jargon, like so even just talk about social impact, or philanthropy already in the description, we've thrown out words that a lot of people don't know. So right. The I started my career in corporate philanthropy, which is essentially, I was a consultant being hired to give companies advice on how they should spend their philanthropic money, that's their foundation dollars, or their corporate responsibility dollars, or they want to donate $1, from every pack of diapers, they sell to UNICEF. And so companies do this, because of a lot of reasons they get tax benefits for it in the US, it makes them look very good. It makes people want to work with them. At the time, when I started this field, it was not very well known at all, which was kind of the early 2000s. And so I started working with companies on helping them design, how they were going to give their money away in a way that made sense for what was needed in the world, what kind of problems they were looking to solve, but also that was good for their business as well. And so really helping them think about what their customers might like to see or their clients. You know, if you are a brand that sells to mostly mothers, maybe you want to be partnering with a firm that helps preemie babies or whatever it might be. So something that was aligned for lack of a less jargony word with what it is that their business was doing. And so I started my career doing that I was a consultant for several years in New York, then I moved to London, and in London, I went to work for a bank, and I was doing the same thing. But for the bank, not for a lot of different companies. So I worked for the bank. And basically, I was responsible for giving away their money, making them look less bad, they were a very nice bank. But that is like the easiest way to describe working with companies on this, help them be less horrible and tell them where to put their money that they're looking to donate and give away. And so the company that I built with my husband, and that I had been running a CEO is called IG advisors and we did that type of work with companies. But we also worked with nonprofits on helping them fundraise. So taking everything we knew about how companies give, and helping nonprofits, fundraise from them better, more effectively, to raise more money so they can achieve whatever their mission is that they're trying to achieve. And also working with wealthy people, their families, their foundations, and sometimes big foundations, again, on helping them think about where to put their money, how to develop their strategies. It's like a field with so much jargon, actually. It really is, even when you try to like explain it to a five year old, I'm like company company seamless, bad. Like, that's kind of where it is. So that's what we were doing, we would get hired by people like the Gates Foundation, or the UN or whoever it was. And they typically come with a problem that has something to do with their strategy or their giving. And we help them solve that problem. And that's what consultants do, basically, is that you solve problems. So that is what I was doing. We built that company, my husband, and I registered the company, and I found out I was pregnant with twins a month later. So that was an exciting time for our family. Yeah, I stuck it out in my corporate jobs for several years, while kind of moonlighting on the side, helping with clients doing the finances, whatever was needed. And then I joined the firm, full time in 2015. And I took over a CEO in 2017. So do you feel like you know what that is? Now that I've explained it? Like, did

Julie Berman - Host:

I explain as though that really helps. And to be fair, I did do research beforehand, because I always do research beforehand. But that really helps. And I think one of the interesting things you said that I didn't it didn't quite click even having done the research until you just shared that was it's really interesting that you started out by helping these bigger organizations, corporations, what have you figured out where they were going to spend their money to sort of give back in a way, but the interesting part to me is the flip side, because you learned that how these organizations give that you were then able to flip it and help the like nonprofits to figure out like how can I get more funding? Because I know that's obviously like their lifeblood like they have to have that in order to do their mission and survive. So that that's really interesting to that flip, and also then adding in those private parties, that people who happen to have large funds. So yeah, that's, that's really helpful.

Unknown:

It is a job that is fundamentally focused on trying to create a better world by helping the people that we were working with who were doing incredible work, raise more money, give away their money better and connect with each other. So I think it definitely is sometimes I think tricky for people who haven't yet read the book and seen all the things I wrote about it, why I would leave a job like that, which is actually like the job a lot of people want to leave their jobs for. Right? Right. A lot of people want to leave their job because they don't feel like their job has any purpose. And so, to be honest, it made it even harder, because not only was I my own boss, and so I had all of the lifestyle things I need. I mean, obviously, there's a flip side to that, too, which is that, you know, you are the one it's feast or famine, and you're the one generating you know, what needs to come in and out. So there's a lot of stress that comes with running your own business. But, of course, I had the freedom to take vacations when my kids were off of school and go in on Tuesday mornings and read to the class and kind of do these other things that mattered for my family. Plus, I was doing a job that felt like I was doing something positive for the world. And so it's hard to leave a job like that. And to take that step. And that's a lot of what I was feeling at that time, which was that like, how dumb Am I that I actually would give this up, when this is what other people really, really want. But I have found that the perfect job for you. And whatever moment in your life you might be in is not necessarily what everybody else thinks the perfect job is. And just because you are good at something or you have invested a lot of time in something doesn't mean that that's what you should keep doing forever. So that is what led me to my internships and what eventually became the book my wife year. And the reason that we're getting a chance to talk today, because I did decide after much hemming and hawing and feeling stressed and guilty and depressed and all those things that I was going to take these mini sabbaticals, I was going to take a year from my job, and I was going to go off and do unpaid internships at all of these jobs I had dreamed of doing when I was a kid, and never got a chance to try out. And so I kind of laid out this very clear plan was all starting February 2020. So that was an interesting time to be making any changes. And I went and I did these four internships.

Julie Berman - Host:

And will you tell us, like, just a brief overview of cars? I know, obviously, they were a month long each, but just kind of give us a taste of each one. Because I like honestly, I was reading them. And I was like, That sounds fun. That sounds fun. That sounds fun. Like

Unknown:

it's like listening to a podcast. Exactly.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, no, I think we have like very many things in common. And it's, you know, so it was just like so many neat opportunities. And oftentimes, I was thinking after I'd finished your book, and I was reflecting on the fact that, like, it's, it's children, and I have, you know, I have children now, and they're still pretty young. And it's just like, we don't stop ourselves as children from sort of like dreaming these big things and giving ourselves just the bandwidth to like, try. And once we get older, like, I feel like the older we get, the better we are at filtering ourselves and like our wants and our sort of our desires. So for you to go out and try this stuff is is like so epic. So what were like the things that you tried. And then if you had like certain, I don't know, if you want to share just like any stories or insightful moments, or whatever you feel like from all those four internships? Sure.

Unknown:

So my long list at the beginning was different than what I ended up doing, because COVID happens. So I had sort of laid out this beautiful color coded plan for all of 2020 in which I was going to go and do five internships. My first two were lined up. So I was going to work in musical theater for a month. And then I was going to work at Christie's the Auction House on their work experience program, which is fun fact, what Anne Hathaway did when she was practicing being an intern while she was making the Devil Wears Prada movie. So I was so ready for like an epic, like someone's going to throw coffee on my face. And I wanted to do marine biology. I was going to maybe go to Miami, which is where I'm from originally and try to do something with that. I really wanted to work at Disney. I really wanted to work at peloton like I had all of these, you know, I have this kind of hit list of stuff I really wanted to do. Magazine journalism was another one that I had done when I was a kid. So I have this list. And I had nailed the first two and I had set times out for the remaining and I was like I thought I was coasting. I was like this is perfect. So but then the world had other ideas. And so those are not all the internships I ended up doing. But I did make it to New York. I flew to New York on February 29 2020. And I was essentially shadowing two productions, a Broadway and an Off Broadway production. The off Broadway production was Assassin's which was scheduled to open originally in April 2020 at the classic Stage Company, and the Broadway production was a new show called flying over sunset, which was also scheduled to open in March at Lincoln Center. And I had gotten these opportunities through a A very good family friend who's like a legend in the theater. And he said, Look, these people know what they're doing. They don't really need your help. But like, go and learn and see if you can make yourself useful. So that was kind of the agenda that I went with. So I went to New York. I was sitting in on these rehearsals, I was mostly just observing on Broadway. And when I was going to rehearsals every day for Assassin's, I was like filling up the water jug. And nobody was asking me to do anything. By the way, I kept being like, Can I do something? Can I do something? Can I do something? Here? It was like, no, no, it's fine. You're just here to observe. I was like, yeah, get coffee for someone now, actually did go get coffee for people. And I bought them all the coffee's myself, which most interns don't do, because I was like, please, for the love of God, let me go and get some coffee for you. I love that. And so eventually, they let me sweep up the floors. After rehearsal, I was able to arrange the music stands, I helped the assistant stage manager with some props. And so really little things that just kind of soaking in the atmosphere. I also did some filing for them. I did filing at every single one of my internship. So notice that big intern task, and I love filing. So that was great. So I had these like two and a half blissful weeks in New York with my fingers in my ears, ignoring all the news about the pandemic, and my husband freaking out on the other end of the ocean being like, we need to take all our money out of the bank and put it under the mattress because we don't know what's going to happen. And just pretending it wasn't happening because I didn't want it to happen. I want it to continue. And when things went down, as everybody remembers from March 2020, it happened very quickly, I was in a show. And I got a text at MIT turn off my phone for the first act and I got a text at intermission. I have many, many texts. And I could see the news that Trump had cancelled all flights to and from Europe. They were closing the borders. The next day, they announced that theaters were closing for an unspecified amount of time. I think it was actually supposed to be for six weeks maybe and that was four weeks or six weeks. And that was the longest theatres had ever been closed for since Broadway started. And then I had to turn around and fly home and my internship was unceremoniously interrupted. A lot of funny stuff happened, including bumping into Stephen Sondheim, but I'll let I'll let y'all buy the book and read it. So you can Yeah, that story. And so I came home, we packed the kids and the dog in the car, we came up to Scotland where we had a vacation house and had spent a lot of time. And it's still the UK was like a little bit in denial that COVID was happening. So my kids were still supposed to be in school. But my husband was absolutely certain the writing was on the wall. So we made our way up north. And then we went into lockdown shortly after. And then we were just home for a long time my internship at Christie's was cancelled. First it was postponed, and it was indefinitely postponed and then was like flat out cancelled. And like everybody else, I was trying to homeschool and bake and be terrified of everything all day long. And like wipe down my groceries with antibacterial soap before I went to the grocery store, you know, doing all of that, and really devastated that this project I had spent so long dreaming about and planning was over. And so I decided I didn't want it to be over. And there were not a lot of options for an internship in the middle of the first lockdown of the pandemic. But I reached out to a friend of mine who had started a fitness company several years ago. And I saw her she popped up on my Instagram and there she was doing live virtual classes from her living room. And I was like, please, please, please, please, please can I be your intern, and she very graciously allowed me to do that. So I interned for her from my living room between homeschooling between everything else I was trying to do. And I was doing social media posts. But my main job was trying out all of these new virtual fitness classes that were like coming to town because everybody was pivoting to virtual fitness. And I had this big spreadsheet of market research that I kept for Frankie, my boss, and I just had what was the platform they were using? How much did the class charge? How many people attended? Was it terrible? I was editorializing a lot. And I was doing all of these classes which truly saved my life during the pandemic that saved me from gaining 7000 pounds because I was baking cinnamon rolls like every three days. My mental health because I was so depressed and frightened and overwhelmed. And it was a way to keep the project going. And so I did my once things start to open up again. I sort of secured a third and fourth internship again, working life was not really back to normal. But I managed to work with a contemporary art dealer named Harry Blaine who let me come and sort of be his intern as he was setting up his brand new art dealership called Blaine art. And that involved running paintings around town, doing a lot of research about different artists and different works of art and where they had come from a lot of going to galleries to see what was out there, which was amazing. I had always loved art and minored in art history when I was a kid, and I had not been spending very much time about art around art probably since I'd had my kids. And then yeah, well I mean, you know, I would take them to the museum and be like Oh my God touched nothing, right? That's a little kids, it's a disaster. So the funny I tricked them to an Andy Warhol exhibition, and at the Tate Modern ones, and there were these big, it's called the oxidation series. And essentially, he and his fellow artists had peed all over this metal and oxidized. And this is like up on the wall of the museum. So explain to me how I'm supposed to tell my kids they can't touch something. When there's like, literally, someone's pee on the wall. That's so good. How come he can pee and I can't pee? I was like, I don't know. Yeah, it's really hard for me to answer that question. Oh, my gosh, that's so good.

Julie Berman - Host:

I remember, I actually I only went there once to that museum. And when I mean, this was a long time ago, when I was actually studying abroad myself. And I just took like a weekend trip to visit some family and in London, and I went there and the, their current, their current person, I don't remember the name. But they had literally crumpled paper, like white paper, you know, if you crumpled in your hand, and you just throw it, like, throw it everywhere. And it was just like an a mountain and it was all over the floor. And I was like, I just had never seen art like that. It was so interesting. So hearing your story. Yeah. But I can't imagine taking my children and they're now being like, What do you mean, don't touch this mom like this?

Unknown:

This is my second toy like Exactly. Why can't I climb on the sculpture? Right? It looks like it was made to be climbing. If I ever had my own museum, I would let people touch and climb on everything because I like to experience art in that way. But that's maybe another career for There you go Yeah, in the future. My own museum. So that was phenomenal. I did that in London. And then my final internship, which I didn't know was going to be my final one when I started it. But I kind of gradually realized I was coming to an end of my story was at a beautiful hotel and restaurant on the Isle of Skye in Scotland very close to where my we had our home. And they put me on a rotation. So I did a week at the restaurant. And in the back of the kitchen, polishing silverware, folding napkins, spilling food all over people, which was not part of the job description. But I did it anyway. I spent a week at front of house which was the bar and checking people in and out and I memorably checked a couple into the wrong room where there was another guest already in there lounging in his skivvies because while he was in his escapees who's totally nude actually, and and I didn't know that which room was which and they weren't numbered. And so that was a real fun experience. Yeah, no one. I mean, it's funny. Now, I don't know that anybody. I did a week doing filing again in the office, and then it kind of week on rotation, just doing whatever was needed at the time. And then I got to the end of doing all these internships. And I realized without spoiling the book for everybody that I wanted to keep being something like an intern, but I wanted to be able to get paid for it. But that I had just loved experiencing and trying all these new things. So what if I could craft a job that just was doing exciting new things all the time? Yeah, that's, that's how I ended up where I am now.

Julie Berman - Host:

I love that. And it's interesting, because, like, I was, you know, and yeah, I don't want to end the book. But like, I was like, trying to be, like, wonder what she's gonna do. I have no idea like, I'm the hmic here. And then I love the ending, honestly, because I feel like it was so authentic and just like human, for lack of a better word. But we try so hard sometimes to put ourselves in a box, right. And like, this is or this is like the lines that I'm so suckler in. And I loved I loved your approach to everything because I think it takes in order to be even able to go in and into those situations, especially in the middle of a pandemic, when the world felt like literally everything, like the sky is literally falling on all of us. And everything is so unknown to go into those situations. And just be so open to like, starting at the beginning, especially after where you built yourself in your career. And the fact that you are such an expert in this area to go into these other areas where you're like a complete novice and just be like, I'm just gonna learn whatever it is I need to learn. I mean, that takes a certain right like a certain person, a certain ability to be patient with yourself as well. So I really like loved I loved that part of your story. And also those funny parts in between Yeah, like where you made mistakes and blocked in there, you know, naked really. So where you accidentally ran into someone who we all know very well, and the takeaways from your experience I thought were really beautiful as well. And so I'm, I'm curious like with what you're doing now because You had all these incredible experiences, you tried all these things, and you are crafting now, like your own version of doing an internship and like, it sounds like taking these pieces that you've loved and trying to incorporate them into your life in a new way. So will you share a little bit about, like, where you're at now? And how you are going about crafting a life? And, and specifically, like, I'd love to know how you're doing that because you're a mom, right? Because you guys still do have a business that you're running, kind of managing all that.

Unknown:

So I think it's funny because my podcast, quit your day job. Everybody gets like a pithy little title, like the royal expert or the spy, and I'm like, What would mine even be, I guess, would be the intern. But that's not really a good reflection. So when I finished doing the fourth internship, and I realized I wanted to keep doing stuff like this, I think the first thing that I had to do was like really pull back and make the space for new things to happen. Because there was no way that I could go back to my full time CEO role and keep plowing ahead at that, and have the mental, emotional, and just actual time to like, do these other things I was like, interested in pursuing and I wanted to keep working with some of the people I had interned with for money now, obviously, so I knew I needed to take that step back. And honestly, of all of the scary things about the process, I think that was maybe the scariest was realizing that I was going to step down as CEO, we were going to promote our managing director to become the new CEO. And all of this was going to involve not being in charge of the business that my husband and I had built anymore. And that sounds really scary. They talk about like, founder syndrome for a reason, because you build a business, and it really feels like your child in a lot of ways. And, you know, you get used to the fact that you're where the buck stops where everything good and bad. And learning how to delegate and give up that control was one of the hardest things I think I had to do in this process. I had a great coach helping through the process, had a fantastic woman who's now the CEO. But you know, we took a year of transitioning, but that was pretty key. And I think I spent, once I realized what I wanted to do, I knew that I needed to step back to give myself the space to actually say yes, if an interesting opportunity came my way that I would want to do, because if not, there was no way I could make that happen. So that was the first thing that I did. And I still do that job. When I say chair and Senior Consultant, all that really means is I'm still on the board of the organization. We have our regular board meetings, I catch up regularly with the management team. And I work on a couple of clients who I've had for a long time that I still love and want to work with. And I think I will always have some finger in the philanthropy pie at some point, because that's still very important to me, I think philanthropy matters, I think I want to do what I can to help support the people who are working tirelessly to try to make the world better. So that's part of it, then, my intern bosses kept like coming back with stuff to do. So I started working for the art dealer for a couple of days a week doing a whole bunch of random things like helping build a database where they can track all their history of what pieces are available and what their provenance is and where they for sale and figuring out how to get a free to color painting from Germany to the UK and if it met all of the rules of like the Mexican patrimony law about a Frida Kahlo painting. So there's like never a dull moment with that job. It's fascinating. I'm still doing it. And it uses a totally different skill set than kind of anything I did before the hotel. And Skye has never asked me back for a waitress shift. Even like when I've been there. And people have been sick. You can tell they're short staffed. Nice. I can do this. They're like, No, No, we're fine. But last year, they celebrated their 50th anniversary. And they knew that I was writing and they liked my writing. And so they asked me to write the narrative for a cookbook that they wanted to put out. And it's a bunch of stories about the people on the island to supply the produce and who hunt for the venison and who harvest the scallops. And it's about whiskey tasting and foraging for mushrooms and wild garlic and all of these like beautiful things, again, never wrote about food had never done anything like that never wrote a cookbook. I didn't write the recipe so you can all be grateful for that. But I got to do that. And so that's and then I wrote this book, my wife here, it came out a month ago today, today's March 7 That came out February 7, which is opening this whole new world of opportunities that are coming my way around writing and publishing around figuring out how to harness the power of this community of people who have really taken the story in it's really resonated with them. They want to do something. How can I be part of that mission that we're all on to help people live better, happier, healthier lives? And I don't even know yet what that's gonna look like. And that's kind of my MO right now is that I do the jobs that come my way, I'm gonna reach out to these people on your podcast and see if they'll let me intern at Disney or in marine biology because I still kind of want to do that. Yeah. And so that's what I'm doing. I'm doing things that interest me. Also, there's, of course, practical concerns, and I am trying to see if it's possible to craft this stage of my career like that. And with my kids, you know, it's kind of hard to imagine when you have young kids, but because the twins are 11, now they're in school, like all day, and then they have sports after. And honestly, like, I'm begging them to spend time with me. So they have a lot more time now than I did when they were little, which helps, I think in pursuing some of these opportunities.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I think I'm at the other end of the spectrum, because mine are still pretty, pretty little. So yeah, but I love hearing that. And just your journey is really interesting. And I think the part where you're figuring all the puzzle pieces out and like you're giving yourself the time and the space to do that is amazing. And and also being really clear, like, when you do say yes to something that that's truly aligned with like, what do you want to do now? Like, how do you want to spend your time? And is it something that brings you joy? I know, you mentioned that as a huge piece, which I think is so important. I feel like you know, sometimes, for myself, just reflecting back, like after, you know, reading your book, I'm like, there's a lot of things that I did in my life, because I just thought, Oh, well, that's just what I've always done. We don't always take that time to reflect on and be like, actually, do I still need to do that? Like, even though I put in a lot of time, energy, tears? What have you like, is that actually part of my life? That brings me joy? Do I still really need to be doing it right now? Or do I just like, have never requested it before? So I really love like, just your experiences and and where you are? I think it brings like so many beautiful questions. Not only for me, but hopefully, you know, I'm sure for the people who are also reading it like about what's important to us, you know, like how do we want to live in a post pandemic world when things were shaken up. And so I want to ask like a few things because I want to make sure to touch on these before we wrap up like for you. You went into this. And there's a part in your book where you talk about like, literally, you were just contacting everybody like especially in the middle of a pandemic, because you're trying to find these opportunities, which are a bazillion times more difficult to find it. That takes like a lot of guts, I feel like to just literally contact people until something happens. So what I mean, like, how did you go about that? Like, what, what was your thought process because even for me, like now building a business and like doing this podcast, I've had to get used to that. But there's still so many things that are a huge push that I do not want to do, and I procrastinate on. So I'm wondering if you have tips or thoughts or anything.

Unknown:

It's so uncomfortable. It's so uncomfortable. I hate asking people for stuff like I really don't like it. But being a consultant for many years and running my own business where we were constantly selling business, I developed a very thick skin because you can't there you face rejection all the time, it was great preparation for being an intern and then an author actually, where are also two fields where you face a lot of rejection. So you know, some of it is just practice, it is getting used to the fact that somebody's ghosting you or not responding to or you're not getting a job or an opportunity or somebody turning down your request for spot podcast sponsorship, or whatever it is. It's never personal, really. And it is a lot of times a numbers game. So if you think about it like that, like a funnel, okay, so I thought I want five internships. And if I want five internships, that means I'm gonna have to talk to 40 people about my internship journey. And if I want to talk to 40 people, I probably need to email 150 people to get 40 to say yes to talk to me about this. And then that's it, I have a list. I know that 150 People are not going to email me back. And so I think about it as a numbers game, it is hard to advise how to develop a thick skin without just going through it. Like you just kind of have to get rejected a lot. And stop feeling bad about it and keep pushing forward. And try not to take it personally. When I was looking for internships, I reached out to so many people. And I also applied for a lot of internships of which nobody ever wrote me back like here I am this like, you know, went to Harvard CEO, my own company. Oh my god, I was like no one wanted to touch me with a 10 foot pole. Wow. And it's hard not to take that personal. I wish I could say I never take it personal because of course I do sometimes, but that doesn't stop me from continuing on with the next one. And sometimes it's just working your way down the list and knowing that eventually, somebody is going to respond positively. Somebody's going to agree to have a call arfi, but you really just need to go wide with your net at the very beginning and try not to let it get you down, you cannot stop just because you got a whole bunch of nose. You have to keep going. Now sometimes you have to reflect if you've got a lot of nose, why am I getting these nose? Do I need to change my pitch? Do I need to do differently? That's okay. But don't stop because you're being rejected? Because, honestly, you eventually something is going to stick?

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, that's very helpful, even for where I'm at personally. So I appreciate that. And then, you know, normally, I asked people oftentimes, you know, how can someone get into this field? Or how could what are the associations or resources, all those things? But because this is a bit different? Like, I want to ask you, what do you think is the best way for someone to sort of apply this concept because it's hard for everyone to be able to take a month off? Like, most of us cannot? Maybe do it for that length of time. But do you have any suggestions for the spirit of you know, the what if you're like, what if moment, perhaps I would love some advice on that.

Unknown:

So I think when it comes to just kind of chasing after things that bring you joy in your life, there are ways that you can do that. At any time, it can be spending some time going for, you know, going for a walk in nature by yourself once a week, if you never get a chance to do that, it's going to see some beautiful art, if that's something that you enjoy, it's joining a choir if you like singing, it's all of these different things. If you like singing rent, for example, maybe join a Broadway choir. In your personal life, I think that there are lots of ways to have a what if moment, that can bring you joy in your professional life. It takes a little bit more planning, but it is very doable. So I think there's there's probably three things I would say. One is that there are so many resources out there I mentioned to you, I relaunch, there's evolved me there's this company called pay their social media that helps people train in terms of social media skills, there are so many people out there that are building networks, skill building communities, for people who want to change their jobs, change their fields entirely at a later stage in life than what you would typically do. Imagine what your career office might have done for you in college if you went to college, but for somebody who's 40 or 50, or whoever, there are so many resources like that. So my first piece of advice is to seek them out because they exist, not only will you find other people in your same stage of journey, but you'll find actual practical support on how to kind of get to that next stage to is to consider a side hustle, I think that you know, a lot of people I have interviewed on my podcast, got into the field there. And now, by starting something at nights or on weekends, it can be time intensive to do that. You can work very hard, you're having two jobs for a while. But if there's something you've always loved, like maybe you've always wanted to be an interior designer, then is that something that you could do on the side and you transition out, maybe you're doing four days a week at your current job to allow you time to do that. So but there's a period of hard work that is involved in that. And sometimes just sometimes it's an investment of money, but it's always an investment of time. So that's a big piece. But then I think the third thing I would say is if you kind of have an idea, if you just want to explore something different, just take that take one small step in that direction, making a big change in your life, and your career can be so intimidating. And I see why people don't do it that often because it's very hard. But you don't need to think about it or conceptualize in terms of the whole huge pivot, you can really think about what's the thing I can do next, what's the thing I can do the thing after that, and taking these very small steps to get you where you want to go. That is the only way to get there is by taking one step at a time, frankly. So just think about the first one, and then maybe think about the second one. And I think that's probably where I would stop my advice for people. I didn't write a prescriptive nonfiction book for a reason.

Julie Berman - Host:

I get that right. But I think those are great ways to explore, and very doable and like in bite sized chunks are just starting at the beginning. And doing step by step. So gap. That was wonderful. Thank you. And to end our conversation, I always ask the same question. And so I'm really curious, look forward to what you're gonna say, will you share a sentence that uses verbiage or jargon from your field? Then translate it so it's understandable to us?

Unknown:

Cuz this is like the best question. I love it so much. And there's so many fields I could choose. And a lot of my book is me learning words I never knew before and then having to figure out what they meant because nobody would tell me so think jargon is universal across every job that people have to do. But I said, I didn't write a prescriptive nonfiction book for a reason. And it's true because I'm always wary of giving people life advice, because I feel like I do not have it all figured out. But I'm getting asked this question of advice a lot. So the sentence I chose the jargony one is this very self healthy, follow your bliss, which is something I've heard before maybe it dates me as being like a little bit 90s 2000s but okay, and I think that it's some sometimes some of these like gurus, they make it seem like it's so easy to go out and do that. And so the way I would translate that would be to think about what makes you happy and take one one small step in that direction. Because I think it's more manageable for people, I, there are so many practical and emotional reasons that people struggle with changing their life chasing their joy, whatever those things are. But there are some that we can control. And so figure out just one small bit of those, figure out what makes you happy. Go after it. To me, that's what following your bliss is really all about that and chocolate chip cookies, also.

Julie Berman - Host:

Very important. Love that. Well, that was an amazing answer. And also, this was so much fun, Alicia, I really, really enjoyed getting to know you learning about your book and your journey. And I'm just so appreciative that you were here. So thank you so much. And before we go, Well, you share where can people find you? Where can they find your book, and if they want to learn more about what you're doing.

Unknown:

So my book is called My What if your you can buy it anywhere books are sold your local indie bookstore or Amazon, Barnes and Noble, you can get the audiobook which is just listening to my voice for another several hours. If you would like to hear that way that's on Audible and all the places where audiobooks are found. I have a website, which is Alicia F miranda.com. And that's a li S H A. And I spend way too much time on Instagram at Alicia F Miranda, you can also find me there. And I really love to hear from people who either have read the book or they've had a what if moment in their life or they're thinking about having one so all my email is on my website. You can also reach out to me on Instagram. I would love to hear from you. All right, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for having me.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody. Thank you so much for listening to women with cool jobs. I'll be releasing a new episode every two weeks. So make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you loved the show, please give me a five star rating. Also, it would mean so much if you share this episode with someone you think would love it or would find it inspirational. And lastly, do you have ideas for future shows? Or do you know any Rockstar women with cool jobs? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Julie at women with cool jobs.com Or you can find me on Instagram at women who will jobs again that women will jobs. Thank you so much for listening and have an incredible day