Prepare To Launch U Blog

  • 20 February 2019Uncategorized • Susan Rietano Davey

    What’s Motivating You?

    If you work in a ‘helping’ field, every once in a while you really fall for a client. (Actually, for me it happens all to often – but, anyway …) A delightfully warm woman named Regina came to me recently. After a robust, two-decade career in NYC publishing (plus a few years home with her sons) she was anxious to pivot in a new direction. Before talking job search or résumé, however, I dug deep to understand her motivations for the pivot, and her priorities for the job she would ultimately take. (This, students of our Prepare to Launch U course know, is essential foundational work that is often overlooked).

    Regina was crystal clear: her #1 priority was to learn to construct and design good digital content. Her reasons were thoughtful and well-vetted. She had a vision and needed help executing it. A decisive person myself, I love helping clients who know what they want, get it. Regina and I were off to a good start.

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  • 14 February 2019Inspiration • Kelley Biskupiak

    The Basics of Essential Self-Care

    “Putting myself last is right, honorable or just the way it has to be.”

    This mindset myth is killing the talent, the gifts, the creativity and the power of women on a daily basis. It is that clear-cut. I see it in the clients I work with, the students we teach at PTLU, at my speaking events and also in most conversations I have with women. Living with this mindset myth is a lie that women tell themselves. You see, when you live in a place of constant deprivation in sacrifice of everyone around you, you are giving the world a depleted, exhausted version of who you really are and everyone loses.

    Consider this, the speech they give you on an airline flight before you taxi down the runway, “Put on your oxygen mask first. Then, assist those around you.” The reason behind this safety procedure is that you are of no use to your children, your spouse, your elderly parents or your neighbors if you’re not breathing yourself.

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  • 6 February 2019Inspiration, Job Search Skills • Susan Rietano Davey

    Living Out Your Option B

    Published in 2017 and widely promoted last year, Sheryl Sanberg and Adam Grant’s book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy, has a pretty bold title. Heck, any one of those things in the tag line can be singularly daunting, and they think I can accomplish all three?!

    But that’s not really the point. The point is, and it’s a good one, that we have fuller, richer and, yes, more joyful lives if we can face our challenges head on and smiling.

    Of course, that’s easier said than done.

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  • 24 January 2019Job Search Skills, Management • Susan Rietano Davey

    Aptitudes and the Accidental Businessperson

    I have often called myself an “accidental businessperson”. I majored in Literature and planned to go to law school. Despite taking full advantage of my school’s liberal arts curriculum and studying everything from Biology to Middle Eastern Relations to Computer Science (in addition to the full canon of essential American and British Lit), I didn’t take one business class.

    Between undergrad and law school, I planned to bike cross-country with my roommate Gail. Unfortunately (much more so for Gail), our travel plans were thwarted by the broken femur she sustained in a car crash just weeks before graduation. Unprepared to apply to law school and still hopeful Gail would recover in time to resume our trip, I set out to find an interim job to occupy me for the six months of Gail’s recovery.

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  • 16 January 2019Inspiration, Work + Life Balance • Kelley Biskupiak

    Find Your Tribe

    When I launched my first business, Be You Bravely, after years of being a stay-at-home mom I was terrified. I was taking a leap of faith, pivoting from the world of education into an arena that was, well, not so defined. I knew what I had to offer had great value, life-changing value actually, but the success of growing a viable business was not certain and that uncertainty was terrifying. During those early days there were many moments when I said to myself, “Kelley why did you not just go back to education?” A job in education came with benefits, a steady paycheck and a predictable schedule. Educational consulting was an even better option with lucrative pay and plenty of client connections. This business I was launching came with none of that. The personal risk was also overwhelming. I was in an extremely defined role at home. I did just…

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  • 28 November 2018Work + Life Balance • Susan Rietano Davey

    4 Tips for Kids to Help Their Moms Return to Work

    “What can I do to help?” These words spoken from young lips are music to any mother’s ears. I have four children, 22 nieces and nephews, and 9 godchildren, so the odds are favorable that I hear that phrase on occasion. It always warms my heart.

    We hosted 40 for Thanksgiving last week. The shear number of our gathering is testament to our many blessings and our many reasons to be thankful. Twenty-seven of our family stayed overnight, and 17 of them were “the kids”. (I use quote marks because some of them are technically adults now). As I savored many moments of “Aunt Susan, how can I help?” I pondered the significance of their question in the context of my work.

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  • 14 November 2018Confidence, Job Search Skills • Susan Rietano Davey

    Resilience: the Antidote to Rejection

    It’s Girl Scout cookie “close-out” season and I’m all in. Outside polling stations around the country last week, boxes of last year’s cookies were selling like hotcakes. And they taste as good as they did back in January! I know this because, yesterday, I polished off the remainder of a nearly full box of Samoas in Kelley’s pantry. Gross, I know, but is the Samoa not cookie perfection? Shortbread, caramel, toasted coconut, dark chocolate. I am weak in its presence.

    The scouts are marketing geniuses. Whatever doesn’t’ sell in spring, they pull back out during the dark days between Halloween (which primes our sweet tooths) and the holidays (where sweets are abundant), when the days are darker and our clothes are baggier.

    For years, I looked forward to the arrival of adorable clipboard-carrying girls dressed in their green uniforms, badges aplenty, towing their red wagons of ‘samples’ and cheerily asking for my order. I didn’t disappoint; over the years I even noticed an asterisk next to my address on the order form suggesting that my generous orders were well documented.

    Not every homeowner was generous or even friendly. My neighborhood girl scout, now 21, reports that she had doors closed in her face, angry admonishments for disturbing the peace, and even raging dogs released in protest of her visits.

    “It was all good training,” she says now with the wisdom of a young adult. “Rejection stings, but we deal with it and get stronger from it.” How true.

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  • 31 October 2018Husbands & Wives, Job Search Skills • Susan Rietano Davey

    In Praise of the Cavewoman and her many ‘Hats’

    When we were newly married, Bob and I saw the play “Defending the Caveman” with some friends. Caveman is a one-man comedy that explores the innate differences between men and women with hilarious clarity.

    Its premise is simply that we have been primally wired since pre-Neanderthal days in gender-specific ways that have stood the test of time.

    Men descend from hunters who spent the better part of their days hiding in trees, focused on the singular task of finding an unsuspecting mammal that might become dinner.

    Women descend from gatherers, who spent the better part of their days watching over children and completing any number of concurrent tasks like planting and harvesting vegetables, collecting water, preparing food, cleaning huts, building fires, whittling, sewing, cooking.

    In short: Men are wired to do one thing at a time. Women are wired to multi-task.

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  • 24 October 2018Inspiration, Work + Life Balance • Susan Rietano Davey

    Partners: a ‘must have’ for the working woman

    I began my career in Xerox Corporation’s executive training program, which, in the mid-80s, was reputed to be one of the top three executive training programs of the time. How I, an English major who never took a business course and didn’t know a balance sheet from a cookie sheet ended up there is another story for another blog post.

    Suffice it to say, I interviewed really well.

    There were about 15 or so trainees in my training class year – a collection of lively, confident, competitive achievers of which only a portion were expected to last beyond 12 months. On my first day, I met Sherrie Potenza. Nothing in Sherrie’s and my histories matched up. Being Connecticut natives and part of this training program was about all we had in common. But it was enough. Sherrie and I became fast friends, partners in crime. Ultimately, we became each other’s lifelines.

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  • 17 October 2018Work + Life Balance • Kelley Biskupiak


    My first year as a teacher I had 29 students in my 3rd grade classroom. Seventeen of those students were the cutest, most high-energy boys you could ever encounter. The school district was financially struggling and there was no class-size policy in place. I was hired because the previous teacher took early retirement, as she knew what she would be facing in the fall. I was so grateful to have gotten the position straight out of college that I resolved myself to the fact that there was no room to complain. I was tossed in the deep end and it was one of those life “sink or swim” moments. I was determined not to sink.

    I knew I had to find a mentor fast. My principal assigned me to a well-respected teacher I met during my interview process. She was organized, dedicated and filled with a wealth of knowledge. I was so grateful to have a wise mind guide me and support me during those early days. I am convinced I may have left teaching all together in that first month had it not been for her. This is something I told her and our administration often. 

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