Prepare To Launch U Blog

  • 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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  • 10 October 2018Hiring, Job Search Skills • Susan Rietano Davey

    How to Find a Mentor

    Seeking to be more fully and objectively informed, Kelley and I invited randomly selected new Prepare to Launch U students to participate in small video chat focus groups about the course last week. And we learned a lot.

    First off, the nagging idiosyncrasies that are all we see and hear when we watch ourselves on film, are barely noticed by our students. That’s a relief. Secondly, the content that we have worked tirelessly for two years to pull together (based on decades of professional experience before that) is accessible, easily understood, and valued by our students. Phew.

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  • 26 September 2018Hiring, Job Search Skills • Susan Rietano Davey

    How To Conquer Workplace Ageism

    As any astute observer of, or participant in, the American workplace will acknowledge, employers and hiring managers have some degree of age bias. We all do, and it runs both ways: “The millennial is lazy; the baby boomer is tech illiterate” – sometimes these statements are cliché; other times legit.

    That said, although the digitally native millennial may face skepticism or bias, her résumé will still be picked up, and she won’t likely be overlooked because she’s young.

    But that’s not true of her mother or aunt because the cost of ageism is born much more by older candidates. And, according to a rather disconcerting (to this over 50 mom) study conducted at Tulane University, it occurs earlier (age 50 vs. age 65) and more frequently, with women.

    So, what can an older female candidate do to remain relevant and employable?

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  • 19 September 2018Confidence, Work + Life Balance • Kelley Biskupiak

    Time to Pull the Trigger

    Raise your hand if you’ve had a conversation in your lifetime that would qualify more as a defining moment than a conversation. Yes? Then you will know exactly where I’m coming from with the story I am about to tell.

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  • 12 September 2018Job Search Skills, Resumés • Susan Rietano Davey

    Your Resumé Questions Answered

    Back in the day when writing a résumé required thoughtful precision (no spell check), a trip to the library (no company Google searches), expensive “bond” paper and envelopes – plus postage – the economics of time and money begot frugality. We sent résumés selectively and infrequently. My, how things have changed.

    A hiring manager’s job back then was to read (yes, actually read) each submitted résumé to determine a candidate’s fitness for a position. Not any more.

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  • 6 September 2018Mothers and Daughers • Susan Rietano Davey

    Showing our Daughters the Way

    When I entered high school four decades ago (yikes!) the first lesson I learned wasn’t extracted from a bio lab or a book of American poems. It was more of a pop psychology lesson: Being social is easier and more fun than being studious. So, I redirected my energies and focus from books to boys.

    This was the late-70s, before weekly progress reports and 24/7 digital school portals, so it took a while for my parents (both trained educators) to pick up on their formerly studious daughter’s about-face. When they did, they seemed more perplexed than upset. Mom took me to lunch one afternoon for a heart-to-heart. Was I struggling? (No.) Was I overwhelmed by such a big school? (Definitely not.) Would I, perhaps, rather go to the all-girls Academy of the Sacred Heart a few towns over? (OMG, are you kidding?!)

    I remember the day very well. The place – an outdoor bistro, the lunch – full of greens and delicious, the time – alone with my mom, not rushed, a real treat in our big family. But, it seems, I blocked out a big piece of that conversation (which my mother shared with me years later, much to my horror).

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  • 22 August 2018Hiring, Management • Susan Rietano Davey

    A Message to Employers: Hire A “Returner”

    Recently, I’ve had a number of male clients ask me how to bring more woman-leaders into their organizations. I don’t care that this might be a knee-jerk response to current events; I’m just thrilled to have the conversation. “Want to bring more women into your organization?“ I ask them. “Try recruiting at a PTO meeting.”

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  • 15 August 2018Job Search Skills • Susan Rietano Davey

    You CAN return to work. Here’s what it takes.

    One of my earliest and all-time favorite clients is a woman named Carol.

    Carol left her job as a senior corporate trainer for a national retailer to stay home and raise three sons. Her youngest was just entering kindergarten when we met.

    Warm, animated and excited about going back to work, Carol impressed me instantly. But she’d been out for over ten years, her company no longer existed, and the only recent job on her résumé was part-time spritzer – the person who indiscriminately “samples” perfume on you as you enter a large department store. (I don’t think stores employ them anymore, but they were big in the ‘80s and ‘90s).

    I was new to the coaching and placement world, Carol’s skills were narrow and dated, her experience didn’t align with the industries in our area, and that spritzing job she’d taken just to get out of the house was no asset. I wasn’t optimistic.


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  • 8 August 2018Inspiration, Interviewing • Kelley Biskupiak

    Get Pumped! The 5 Essential Tips for Getting Your Mindset Right for an Interview

    I love coaching a woman right before she heads off for an interview. There is just something about the vulnerable excitement that fills my office when prepping and pumping a woman up to go rock an interview.

    I believe there is a very distinct difference between the prepping and the pumping when it comes to being interview-ready. The prepping is about rehearsing what you can DO on the interview to be memorable and unforgettable. It is so very important to be clear, articulate and well rehearsed on the content you will deliver. Susan wrote a great blog about this a few weeks ago; you must check it out! However, the pumping is equally important and places a focus on who you want to BE on the interview. It is about your mindset and getting that mindset right and ready to show those interviewers the amazing powerhouse they would be lucky to land.

    There are 5 key components that are foundational in creating an empowered mindset for interviewing, and I have them here to share with you.

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