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149 | Remote Work – Joelle Pittman, Neon Canvas

Episode 149 is live! This week, we talk with Joelle Pittman in Memphis, Tennessee.

Joelle is the Vice President of digital marketing agency Neon Canvas. Previously, Joelle was a Community and Marketing Director at Yelp. And, she was a participant in a program called Remote Year.

On today’s episode, Joelle shares:

  • What is Remote Year, and what are other similar programs
  • The pros and cons of remote work
  • The types of jobs that are a great fit for remote work
  • Suggestions for transitioning to remote work

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Joelle, check out her LinkedIn here ( You can learn more about remote year on their website here (

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

148 | Boomer Career Reinvention – John Tarnoff, Reinvention Group

Episode 148 is live! This week, we talk to John Tarnoff in Los Angeles, CA.

John is a reinvention career coach who works with baby boomer and late career professionals looking to defy ageism, ignore retirement, and pivot to a new job or new business as a second-act or encore career. He is the author of “Boomer Reinvention: How to Create Your Dream Career Over 50.” John also gave a TEDx Talk titled, “The Kids Are Still Alright.”

On today’s episode, John shares:

  • What’s happened that’s impacting baby boomers negatively in the job market, and why it’s so difficult
  • The first step we should take when we’re trying to reinvent ourselves
  • How to reframe a firing and move past it
  • What we should be doing differently when we’re looking for a job
  • What to do if we’re receiving feedback we’re over qualified
  • How to overcome ageism
  • The biggest mistake Baby Boomers are making when job searching, and what they can do to fix it

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about John, check out his website at You can also find John on social media here:


Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!


Copeland Coaching Podcast | Episode 148 | Boomer Career Reinvention – John Tarnoff, Reinvention Group

Airdate: October 17, 2017


Welcome to the Copeland Coaching podcast. I’m your host, Angela Copeland. On the phone with me, I have John Tarnoff in Los Angeles, CA. John is a reinvention career coach who works with baby boomer and late career professionals looking to defy ageism, ignore retirement, and pivot to a new job or new business as a second act or encore career. He is the offer of “Boomer Reinvention: How to Create Your Dream Job Over 50.” He also gave a TEDx talk called, “The Kids are Still Alright.” John, thanks for joining me today.

Well I’m so excited. I mentioned before we got started, I think this topic is going to be incredibly relevant to our listeners, and so I’m just super-excited about it. Well, so from your perspective, what has happened that’s actually impacting baby boomers in a negative way in terms of their jobs?

JOHN TARNOFF: Well there are three factors that I kind of grudgingly like to call this the boomer trifecta, and really, this just no longer applies to boomers, because GenXers, the oldest GenXers are now over 50. So this really applies to anyone today who is moving into their late career. And the three problems are this. One is longevity. You know, we’re all living and going to be living even longer, certainly, than our parents did, and the advances are so rapid. I mean, according to the Census Bureau, if you hit 65 today, you have a 25 percent chance of living past 90, and the longer you live, the longer you’re going to live. So that’s one factor. So we’ve got a lot more time on our hands. The second factor is low savings. I don’t think the boomers are the only generation walking around now that has under-saved for retirement, particularly considering the first factor. We’ve got to make that savings last a long longer than our parents did. And we don’t have a lot of money in the bank, and there are very few institutional opportunities to really build wealth for the average person. And then the third problem really is job discrimination, and on the one hand, you can look at it and say, there are insufficient jobs for older workers, but at the same time there’s a tremendous amount of ageism, and there’s a real disconnect between our understanding of what older workers can do and our appreciation of keeping them in the job force and what they represent.

ANGELA COPELAND: I think you’re right. I really like the point that you made about savings and money. I actually saw something recently that talked about sort of the transition from having a pension to having to save on your own, sort of like in your own 401k, and what I was reading mentioned that Generation X in particular is very under-saved, I guess you could say, because we had to proactively do it, and a lot of companies saw that and they’re starting to automatically enroll millennials in savings plans, which is kind of helping to correct the issue, but that’s really interesting.

JOHN TARNOFF: We all need a lot of help, and thinking about all the generations now that are in the workforce, the problem that certainly GenX has to a degree and millennials to a staggering degree is school debt. So this is something that the boomers didn’t have, and I’m a big promoter of cross-generational, multi-generational support. So I believe that contrary to the views that a lot of boomers have about millennials, I think the millennials are a sensational generation and have a lot on their plate to handle that makes their lives quite a bit more challenging professionally than what we had when we were coming up.

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh, I totally agree. I think it’s a very complex issue. Well so, as we’re going through this change, it’s incredibly painful, it’s difficult. Why do you think that is? Why is it so difficult for us, and kind of what can we do to cope?

JOHN TARNOFF: Right. Well, I think we’re in the midst of a social-cultural revolution in terms of our attitudes about life and about life stages. I think certainly when my generation was coming up and perhaps to a certain extent your generation, the paradigm was, you get into education, you get a good job and you’re entitled to a good career because you have a good education, and if you kind of fly right and keep your nose clean, that entitles you to essentially work for 40 years and then you get to retire. And as we know, that is gone. That whole idea is gone. So there’s a shift that I think we all have to make towards a very different sense of what the life stages are. And the first thing is that education is lifelong. Right? You can’t coast on your degree or your diploma through life. You have to constantly be reeducating and continuing to educate and to build skills and build awareness and stay up to date. So the first stage is not so much about education to me. It’s about self-awareness. You have to know who you are, what you like to do, what you want to do, what’s going to sustain you, what’s going to really fulfill your sense of values and purpose. And I think the millennials are actually doing a pretty good job of making that job one. And then instead of this idea of the career, where you’re kind of punching and showing up to work every day, you really have to challenge yourself to be generating value. So it’s this generative period of your life. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the psychologist Erik Erikson, but he talks about this period of generativity, usually kind of middle age, where you’re really kind of at the top of your game, you know what you’re about, you’re delivering great value across every aspect of your life, and that really is the challenge for all of us, kind of getting right out of the blocks and sustaining our careers. And then the third stage is not retirement anymore. The third stage, I believe, is giving back. It’s about service. It’s about taking everything you’ve learned and you’ve done over your career, your lifespan, this generativity period, and giving it back, and spending the rest of your life imparting the wisdom and the value that you’ve learned to the next generation.


JOHN TARNOFF: So that’s the real shift that we’re dealing with, and I think change is always difficult. We aspire to change, but at the same time it’s scary. So I think perhaps the idea that there is a way forward and that we can pivot, that we can learn, and the work that you’re doing, that I’m doing, with the clients that we work with and vehicles like this podcast, I think are helping to encourage people and reassure people that change is possible.

ANGELA COPELAND: I think you’re right. I think it’s such an important message. I could not agree with you more, honestly. I think one thing that’s tough at times is for somebody who is realizing that this change is happening and accepting it, but occasionally you’re getting pushback from your older relatives who don’t agree with the idea that maybe you should work multiple jobs or have multiple careers. So that’s kind of a separate issue, but it’s—

JOHN TARNOFF: I think there’s a lot of fear out there, and that’s kind of a human trait as well, this kind of fight or flight response. And I think you’ve just got to be strong, you’ve got to do your research, you’ve got to present your case, and you have to believe in yourself at the ned of the day and be able to understand and communicate the idea that times have changed, and as much as it would be great to go back to the way things were, and I don’t want to get into a political conversation, but I think we have to be future-focused.

ANGELA COPELAND: Right. That’s just where it’s at. You know, I watched your TEDx talk, and it was excellent, and you joked about making it into a lifestyle, like transitioning different jobs. I think you’d said that you’d had 18 jobs, and I was looking through—You’ve worked with some really incredible companies, like MGM, Orion Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Dreamworks Animation. And you mention in your talk that you really struggled to see this as a positive thing until somebody else pointed it out to you. And I’m curious kind of what happened that changed your perspective.

JOHN TARNOFF: Well I joke in that talk about the fact that in doing the math on my 18 jobs in 35 years in the entertainment business that I was fired 39 percent of the time. And I joke about that, and it always gets a laugh, because who does that? Who calculates the amount of times you’ve been fired in your life. It’s something that you think about it being shameful. And my kind of self-mission and part of the larger mission is to really turn that idea around, that getting fired today is not shameful. It really is not necessarily about your performance or about who you are as a person. It’s about fit, and things are changing so fast, if you think that getting fired is a traumatic experience, and it is, and it is up there with death and divorce, but you also have to look at it from the corporate perspective. Companies are fighting for their lives, they are being disrupted out of business, the economy is in turmoil in many, many ways, and the most secure brand names are in danger of going out of business. So if you look at the Dow Companies today on the stock exchange, they’re very different companies from the companies that were there 20 years ago. So I think that you have to be able to reframe these limiting beliefs about who you are and what you can do and what your career is about and be willing to look at the lessons and the positive way of interpreting your history and your experiences. I mean, at the end of the day, what choice do you have if you’re going to keep going but to figure out how to positively assess it and learn the lesson that’s going to help you go forward, as opposed to continuing to complain or bemoan your fate? That’s not getting you anywhere.

ANGELA COPELAND: Absolutely. Well you work with clients, I know, on this exact issue. How long does it take us, usually, to move through that emotional piece? Is it a few months? A few years? Like, what seems normal to you in terms of how long it takes?

JOHN TARNOFF: You know, it really depends on the individual, and I think that, you know, unfortunately, for many people who have been in jobs for 10 or more years have such an identity with the job that they worked in, the company, the mission, and particularly the people and the social aspects of the work, that it becomes a devastating loss, I mean very, very much like a death or a divorce, where you really feel alone. You feel rudderless. You don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going when you wake up in the morning. So it really does differ from client to client, and it could be a period of three months. It could be a period of six months, a year. Some people kind of make it to a certain point where they can function, but they continue to harbor resentments or a sense of humiliation or shame that can persist for years. And one of the things that I try to work on with many clients who are in this situation where they’re doing kind of okay, they’re kind of halfway there, but there’s still stuff holding them back that they don’t really want to reexamine or think about is to go back, particularly after many years, and look at those obstacles that are still standing in their way, this sense that we all have baggage. And particularly I think older workers, because you’ve been around a long period of time, there is likely going to be some experience or set of experiences that you don’t want to think about but they really need to be resolved if you’re going to move forward.

ANGELA COPELAND: I like the fact that you mentioned that it’s really our identity, in a way, because I think a lot of times when we go into work, maybe we tell ourselves, you know, “I have a family, I have hobbies. This isn’t my identity. This isn’t my life.” And then when you do get laid off, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, this was my identity.” And I’ve at least observed in a lot of people all those negative feelings that they have, they almost try to not deal with it because they don’t want to think about it or they feel like they shouldn’t feel bad. And I feel like it takes even longer to get over it if you don’t sort of get mad in the beginning. If you’re putting it off, putting it off, it’s like, it’s just, you’re carrying it around in some way if you don’t kind of process it.

JOHN TARNOFF: Well I think that’s right, and I think there are techniques that you can work to help overcome these lingering feelings and these limiting beliefs that you have about your identity. One thing which I think is really important: our language tends to be a real indicator and an affirmation of what our belief system is. So you’re at a cocktail party and someone says, “What do you do?” and you say, “I am a.” You know, accountant, lawyer, whatever. You’re not saying, “I work as.” You’re saying, “I am.” So those subtle language habits that we have reinforce this identity problem that we face. And the minute I think we start to understand how we are the agents of our own imprisonment in that limiting belief, it becomes easier to detach from it and to go, “Oh, okay, I have a choice here. I have a choice between characterizing myself as that job and understanding that I just worked at that job.” And these subtle shifts in point of view can represent enormous opportunities to move forward and to change.

ANGELA COPELAND: Gosh, that’s an incredibly good point, you know, just even how you talk about it, and I think speaking of how we talk about ourselves, one of the times that we end up having to talk about what happened is when we’re in a job interview and we’re asked, you know, why we left our last job and we have to kind of face it. I mean, what tips do you have for us on how to talk about this issue when we’re in a job interview? What can we say?

JOHN TARNOFF: Well, the overall thing you have to do is you have to be really, really prepared for this question. You have to be prepared to talk about and anticipate all of the uncomfortable things that the recruiter or hiring manager is going to throw at you. So you’ve got to look through that resume, you’ve got to look at all of the jobs. You’ve got to be able to talk about why you left each one of those jobs, and the ones that you left on your own, those are going to be the easy ones. The ones where you were negotiated out or laid off or fired, those are the challenging ones, and you have to be able to be open, vulnerable, self-deprecating about it, and have a little bit of a sense of humor, because guess what? This is a drill. The person who is asking you that question may be uncomfortable about their own career and in their own career the times where they were fired. And look, they may be fired tomorrow. You just never know what’s going on. Right? And they never know what’s going on. So to have that understanding that this is not someone you’re talking to who is a kind of invulnerable authority, but just someone like you who is in a job who is just trying to get a sense of who you are and how your mind works and how resilient are you and how self-aware are you, how emotionally intelligent are you. Those are the factors that will I think help you to go, well, as you can see, it was not of my own choosing to leave that job. Ha ha. But here’s what happened: this was a political situation, or we had a difference of agreement, or someone came in who had a different personality from me, and we tried to work it out, but I have to confess, I may have made some mistakes. And I think a mistake I made was to do this. Don’t belabor it, don’t kind of go into a sob story about it, but just show that you have learned from that experience, and figure out a way to show how the lesson that you learned through that challenging experience makes you a stronger candidate for the job you’re interviewing for.

ANGELA COPELAND: That’s really good advice. You know, I’ve also heard the advice of, when someone asks what happened, that you might say, “The company and I mutually agreed that this was not a good fit,” and you kind of avoid the word, like, “fired,” or anything. I kind of have mixed feelings about that. I’m curious: what do you think about saying it was mutual?

JOHN TARNOFF: Well, if it was mutual, then say it was mutual. If it wasn’t mutual, they’re going to know you’re lying. They’re going to tell, right, because that’s their job. Their job is to know when you’re telling the truth or when you’re not, because they do this for a living. Every day they’re meeting dozens of people. So if there’s anything that doesn’t sit right that you don’t feel completely, 100,000% strong about in that interview, they’re going to pick up on it, and they’re going to go back and they’re going to be sitting around the conference table reviewing the candidates, and it’s going to come to you, and they’re going to say, “You know, they were fine. I don’t know, there was just something about them that didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t feel like I was getting the full story.”

ANGELA COPELAND: Right. I totally agree. I think a lot of decisions in an interview are made based on things that are a little bit less tangible, like how someone feels about you, or that kind of thing.

JOHN TARNOFF: Absolutely. It’s all about gut. It’s all about gut. Because at the end of the day, you’re going in there, skills are great, but I think as we get older, skills are less important, the hard skills are less important than the soft skills, because the soft skills, and that goes to leadership as well, are what makes us want to go into work with someone in the day. Right? And we are working in so much more of a team-oriented environment, where teams have so much more autonomy and independence to work together, where they are jointly responsible for the outcome of the projects that they are working on, that if you’re not a good fit for that team, you may absolutely the best skill set ever, but they’re not going to hire you because they don’t want to work with you every day. They would rather find someone who may not have the skills and maybe they can teach them the skills or they believe you have the wherewithal to jump in and apply yourself and learn the skills, but they really want to work with you because you’re a leader, you’re self-aware, again, emotionally intelligent, you know, you’ve got a sense of humor about yourself, you’ve got an ability to lead people, to work together, all that stuff.

ANGELA COPELAND: I totally agree. I totally agree. Well let me slip in one more real-life example and just get your take on it. I recently met someone who is a C-level executive, and the person had been just a fantastic employee. They actually went from, let’s say, Company A to Company B with the same CEO. So the CEO left Company A, went to Company B, hired them, brought them along, and they had been working with that person for maybe 15, 20 years, a really long time. It had been a great relationship. And eventually this CEO retired, and a new CEO came in, and within a week of that CEO coming in, they cleaned house, and this person was one of the people who was let go. And it wasn’t performance-based. It just happened. Right? So for somebody like that, how would they explain it in a job interview?

JOHN TARNOFF: I think pretty much just the way you explained it.


JOHN TARNOFF: In a funny way, those are easier conversations to have, because if you were part of a sweep, then it’s really clear that it wasn’t just you, it was the entire management team. And even if it wasn’t. Even if it was just you, I think in that instance, what you’re talking about, and it’s interesting, I have a profile in my boomer reinvention book about a guy who was in a similar kind of a situation, and he had worked for a long time with this company because he was protected, in a way, by the EVP who ran his division, and as the company began to go through changes and challenges, and there was a lot of instability, the EVP left. He quit because he had had enough, and he went to his report, this executive that I profile in the book, and said, “Look, I’m leaving. I wish I could protect you, but I don’t think I’ll be able to protect you.” And sure enough, within about a year, they let the other guy go.


JOHN TARNOFF: And in those kinds of situations where there is a a really close relationship between a supervisor and a report, I also think that’s a pretty, it’s not an easy conversation, but it’s a pretty understandable conversation to have, to be able to say, “Look, I worked with this guy for 20 years or 10 years,” or however long it was, “and we had a really close relationship, we worked really well together. The new team came in, had a very different management approach.” And talk about it in the sentence, you know, what they did versus what we did. “And so it was clear to me that we were not a good fit for one another. And I think they probably felt that, from a loyalty perspective, that I would want to try to continue to implement a lot of the policies and ideas and philosophies of the guy who was fired, so it kind of makes sense that they would let me go.”

ANGELA COPELAND: I love that. It’s so clear.

JOHN TARNOFF: Right? And the bonus is, “And here are the philosophies that I really believe in that I feel can be of value to your company.” Right? So you turn it around and take what was possibly perceived as a negative or question mark or some kind of red flag and say, “No, no, no, no, it’s actually to your advantage that I’m sitting here. It’s a good thing they fired me because now you’re going to get to pick me up and we’re going to get to do great work together.”

ANGELA COPELAND: Ooh, I like that. That’s a great way to turn it around. That’s a great way to turn it around.

JOHN TARNOFF: So so much of this, and you had asked me this before we got on the call, about what’s the first step to turning your career around, and it is, as we’ve talked about a lot in this conversation, all about reframing, the idea that you take a situation that you think is a negative situation and you figure out a way to turn it around. And it’s not about embellishing it. It’s not about BSing. It’s really about drilling down to the essence of what that is about, that situation, and from your own heart and soul, coming up with the strength that’s inside you to reframe it into a positive.

ANGELA COPELAND: Absolutely. I like that a lot. Well so let’s switch gears a little bit. I want to touch on something else that you mentioned in both in your TEDTalk and your book which I really love and really agree with. You said, your resume won’t get you hired.

JOHN TARNOFF: Right. Right. Well, welcome to the electronic world. Right? And I think this is, you know, well, look, here’s the deal. You need a resume. You need a good resume. And particularly I think when you’re younger and you are still in a period where your skills are what people are really looking for, you need to have that resume really tight. You need to have your keywords all lined up, because that resume is going to get ingested, it’s going to get scanned, and hopefully your keywords and your layout are going to get you to the next level. But ultimately, at any level of employment these days, 85 percent, something like that, 85 percent of jobs are filled through referrals. And I just really know that when I was in my entertainment career, when I was in the position to hire someone, I would seldom expect that I was going to fill that job through HR, through posting the job and getting resumes. I would always pick up the phone and say, “Look, we have an opening. Who have you got? Who do you know?” And I would always network to the candidates that my network felt were the most trusted and appropriate for that position. And I would say, you know, probably in the same ratio, about 80 percent of the time, I would hire from that pool. So the strategy is, you want to be in that network that’s going to refer you, so that the phone call comes to you as opposed to you having to knock down the door and get through all of those obstacles and those anonymous email addresses that you’re submitting to to find a person at the end of the phone who is actually the recruiter or the hiring manager for that position. That’s hard work, and that’s difficult work, and that requires a lot of cold-calling fortitude to be able to knock down those doors. Much better to develop the relationships.

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh, absolutely. I think the thing that doesn’t help us in this whole situation is that the HR team of a lot of companies give the message to job seekers which is, “Apply online. If you’re a good fit, we will call you.” And somehow we’ve learned to kind of believe that in a way, and you know, I meet job seekers often who have applied to, like, a hundred jobs online, and they just can’t figure out what they’re doing wrong.

JOHN TARNOFF: They don’t get a call back. Well, they’re not doing anything wrong. They’re doing everything right. It’s a numbers game. You know. That’s the problem. The problem is, their resume is either being scanned and rejected, and it’s hard to know what are the criteria that they’re using to scan and reject that resume, because you can’t talk to anyone. And then if it gets through to the next level, who’s looking at the resume? Is it the hiring manager? No. Is it the recruiter themselves? Probably not. It’s probably an assistant, or, worse, an intern, who is given that terribly mind-numbing task of sifting through 150 resumes to come up with 10 candidates. I mean, come on. It’s a thankless job to be in recruiting and HR today, just absolutely thankless. You know? So you’ve got to cover your bases, absolutely, but I would not believe in the possibility of success from that. I would really spend most of your time concentrating on the companies you want to work with, the people that you could meet at those companies, the relationships that you can build in your network with the people who are doing what you’re doing, doing what you would like to be doing, and getting yourself referred.

ANGELA COPELAND: I think that’s great advice. Well, so, as we’re looking and maybe we’re getting these referrals and we’re getting in for interviews, one thing, I was actually talking to someone yesterday who had this issue. Early in her career, she was very, very successful, and now he’s looking at different types of jobs. She’s looking to reinvent herself. And she’s getting a lot of feedback that she’s just over-qualified, and she’s having a hard time moving through the process because of that being over-qualified. What can we do if we receive this feedback on kind of a regular basis that we’re over-qualified?

JOHN TARNOFF: I’m very split about that question, and this comes up a lot, particularly with older workers. You know, on the one hand, that is kind of a dog-whistle for ageism, and they are kind of letting you down easily because they don’t want to hire an older worker, and that’s their own bias. So shifting into the whole age bias situation, again it’s through the network. You’re going to encounter that a lot. I have a bit of a contrarian view about age and about putting your age on your resume or your LinkedIn profile. I believe that you should do it, that you should not hide your age, that you need kind of call out ageism, in a way, because at the end of the day, if you are misrepresenting yourself about how old you are, if you’re taking 10 years off of your resume in order to appear that you’re 40 instead of 50, what signal does that send when they find out who you are and how old you are? Do you think that they’re going to kind of ignore that because now that you’re working there they realize how valuable and good you are? Maybe, but I don’t think it’s a good way of starting a relationship. The other side of that is, do you really want to go work for a company or a team that doesn’t value you for your experience, your wisdom, and what you bring to the table as an older worker? And so that’s one whole side of it. The other side of the coin about the over-qualified question is you actually may be over-qualified. You know, you may be applying to jobs that are more junior than your capability. And I see this a lot. I worked with a client for a long time that was kind of addicted to job boards, and he was applying to—and this is a guy with 15 to 20 years of very intense technical and managerial experience. He had an MBA and an engineering degree, and he was applying to kind of product marketing positions that were looking for five to eight years experience. And I said, “Really? I mean, do you think you’re going to enjoy that job?” He said, “Well, maybe I can grow with it.” I said, “No, no, no.”


JOHN TARNOFF: “No one’s going to hire you for those jobs, because they’re going to look at you’re background, and they’re going to, ‘Oh my God. You know, why would I hire this guy for this job?'” So it becomes more challenging as you get older because those jobs are fewer and farther between, and guess what? Back to the 85 percent question, a lot of times, the jobs that you are going to want as an older, more experienced worker, are jobs that are not posted. These are jobs where they’re sitting around in the conference room going, “You know, wouldn’t it be great if we could find someone with this mix of skills who could help us solve this problem? Like, should we post it?” “Nah. We can’t post for a job like this. Who do we know?” So be the person who knows the person that those guys know, so that you’re one phone call away from an interview, and you go in and you say, “Oh my God, you’re the guy, you’re the woman, you’re going to be able to help us solve this problem. Oh, where have you been all our lives?” So yes, you can be over-qualified, and I think for the person that you’re talking about, this woman, I would advise her to think more entrepreneurially about, what is it that she wants to deliver? What is the value, the product, as it were, that she wants to deliver? And start marketing herself from that perspective to find the client. You know, I like to say that in any position, and I say this to my grad students as well as to my boomer clients. Today you don’t want to think of yourself as an employee taking directions from a supervisor. You want to think of yourself as a consultant providing value to a client.


JOHN TARNOFF: Right? No matter what you do, whether you’re a 1099 contractor or a W-2 employee, it’s the same deal. And your resume and your LinkedIn particularly should reflect that. So if you have a period of a gap, right, between jobs, what do you do with that gap? Well, you put yourself as a consultant, because in trying to get that next gig, you are representing yourself as someone who is delivering a particular product or service, and you may get some clients, you know, you may get some gigs along the way, and then someone hires you in house. But it’s all about that value and that brand that you’re representing, and that product and service and value that you’re providing.

ANGELA COPELAND: Do you find that many of your baby boomer clients are switching from full-time opportunities to more of like a consulting contract kind of opportunity as they go through this process?

JOHN TARNOFF: Yeah, I am. I would say it’s, you know, probably 50 to 60 percent I would say, and I think that, you know, for some of them it’s a bridge, which is fine, and I think that the good news is that the economy is beginning to appreciate the fact that older employees are not done and don’t need to be kind of shunted off into this retirement backroom, wherever that is that they don’t want to think about, that there actually is value in keeping people on board. And there’s more and more stories about this and about how firms are loosening up these rules and keeping people on part time while they bridge to something else and encouraging people to find new ways of providing value.

ANGELA COPELAND: Totally, totally. Well so, I’m curious: if you had to had to describe the one big mistake that we’re making when we try to reinvent ourselves, what is it?

JOHN TARNOFF: Well, I think, you know, the first thing that I say to older workers is, watch your attitude, because I think there is a certain defensiveness that many people have. And I understand it. It’s a challenging, scary situation out there, and some people will tend to shrink up a little bit and go, “Well, I’ve been working for 30 years, and I shouldn’t have to sell myself,” or, “Why should I have to interview with a 30-year old recruiter?” Attitudes like this, where they feel like they are kind of under scrutiny and being kind of dissected, when they feel entitled to greater respect. And I think that holds a lot of people back, and in fact I think we need to approach this from a beginner’s mind and recognize a lot of the stuff we’ve been talking about in this conversation about how work works today and how employment works, and also to reframe that sense of who we are and what we can do, and open up a little bit, lighten up a little bit, really kind of reach across the desk to build a relationship with someone and find affinity. And so that I think is the icebreaker that I would recommend people start with, is think about your attitude. Think about how open and willing to be an older person in what may be a younger environment, and think about, where would you want to fit in into that space? And also to remember the phrase which we had a phrase, which we had in the ’60s growing up, which was, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Right? That was the ageism that my generation had about older people. And so now that we’re in that position, big time, we don’t want to be ageist. Right? We don’t want to be reverse ageist, and we want to not be those people that we were railing against back then who were kind of closed off and told us to cut our hair and didn’t like our clothes and all that stuff.

ANGELA COPELAND: In terms of attitude, it makes me think of really treating that hiring manager or that HR person like they are the customer, and again, in that entrepreneurial perspective, that you’re there to sell your services, and really treating them with respect as the customer and as you would want to be when you’re the customer.

JOHN TARNOFF: And also to be enthusiastic, to be enthusiastic about what you are there to offer, and to not have a sense of attachment to the job, to the outcome. And I think this is true of any level of interviewing. And I’ll just tell you one story that I always think about that really impressed me. Many, many years ago, I was at a party one night. I was talking to a young woman who was an actress, and I’m not sure if I was trying to pick her up or not, but whatever. We had this great conversation. She was really enthusiastic about the work that she was doing, and I said to her, “Look, I work with actors a lot, but I’ve never really gotten a good answer to this question: how do you deal with a rejection from all of these auditions that you go on? Because you’re going on two, three, four auditions a day, and how many jobs do you get?” And she said, “You know, it’s a really good question. I used to feel really dejected at the end of the day and I felt exhausted by the rejection, and I took it personally. And then, at some point, I don’t know what happened, but I got this epiphany that, regardless of whether they hired me for the role or not, I was helping contribute to their final decision, that I was presenting one way of going, and if they rejected me, I had helped them kind of check that box, and that it was going to help make the final decision work. So I feel, whenever I go in on an audition, regardless of the outcome, I’m making a contribution to that movie or that TV show.”

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh, that’s interesting.

JOHN TARNOFF: And I thought, what a great attitude, and I would recommend to everyone to have the same attitude going into a job interview. You are there to contribute what might be a possibility for that position. You’re there to learn about the company, about the person you’re sitting across from. There may be something unexpected that you learn that day from that interview, so ask some good questions, share some fun stuff about yourself, be vulnerable, be transparent, be authentic, be enthusiastic, and be unattached from the outcome.

ANGELA COPELAND: That’s such a helpful story, and I know that those listening are definitely going to be interested to learn more about you. John, where can they go to learn more about you and your work?

JOHN TARNOFF: Sure. So it’s really easy. My website is, and I’m on Twitter as John Tarnoff, and Facebook, “Boomer Reinvention” is the page on Facebook, and again, the book is “Boomer Reinvention: How to Create Your Dream Career Over 50.”

ANGELA COPELAND: Perfect. Well, I will share links to everything in the show notes so it’s easy to get to. John, thank you so much for joining me. This has been excellent.

JOHN TARNOFF: It’s my pleasure.

ANGELA COPELAND: And thanks everyone for listening. Thanks everyone who sent me questions. You can also send me questions. You can send me your questions at You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach, and on Facebook, I’m “Copeland Coaching.” Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review.

147 | Career Reinvention – Dr. Shirley Raines, University of Memphis

Episode 147 is live! This week, we talk with Dr. Shirley Raines in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Dr. Raines is a speaker, author, and consultant. She was the first woman President of the University of Memphis, and successfully served for 12 years. Dr. Raines began her career as a preschool teacher before becoming a Head Start Director, a founder of a community child center, a teacher educator, a department chair, a dean, a vice-chancellor and then The University of Memphis President. Dr. Raines is the author of 17 books on children’s literature, literacy, creativity and curriculum development.

On today’s episode, Dr. Raines shares:

  • How to succeed at our job search when we’re different than the competition
  • How to make major career change, and reinvent yourself
  • How to take on a job that covers skills outside of your area of expertise
  • How parents can best help their adult children job search
  • And, Dr. Raines answers your listener questions!

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Dr. Raines, check out her website at You can also find her on LinkedIn at

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!


Copeland Coaching Podcast | Episode 147 | Career Reinvention – Dr. Shirley Raines, University of Memphis

Airdate: October 17, 2017


ANGELA COPELAND: Welcome to the Copeland Coaching podcast. I’m your host, Angela Copeland. On the phone with me today, I have Dr. Shirley Raines in Oakridge, Tennessee. Dr. Raines is a speaker, author, and consultant. She was the first woman president at the University of Memphis, where she successfully served for 12 years. Dr. Raines began her career as a preschool teacher before becoming a Head Start director, a founder of a community child center, a teacher educator, a department chair, a dean, a vice chancellor, and then the University of Memphis President. Dr. Raines is the author of 17 books on children’s literature, literacy, creativity, and curriculum development. Shirley, thank you for joining me today.

SHIRLEY RAINES: I’m excited to join you and to know that I am interacting and will be interacting with some of your listeners through the questions they’ve submitted.

ANGELA COPELAND: Yes, as I mentioned before we got started, people are so excited about this interview today that I got an overwhelming number of questions. I’ve cut it back to three. At the end, hopefully we’ll have a chance to cover them, but everyone was so excited to hear that we’d be chatting.


ANGELA COPELAND: Well, you know, when I look back on your career, it’s been so impressive, and one of the themes that really stuck out for me was being the first person to do something, and it seemed like you were very often the first person, including as I mentioned the first woman president at the University of Memphis. And I’m just wondering if we are job seeking and we feel different, you know, maybe we’re the only woman or maybe we’re different in some other way, what advice would you have for us and how can we succeed when we are different.

SHIRLEY RAINES: It’s really critical to go ahead and try, declare yourself as wanting that position, and make a match between what the position requires and what your knowledge and qualifications are, and then go for it. If we continue to wait for people to tap us on the shoulder to take a position, then we may be waiting for a long time. I had that experience. I was a department chair in three different universities, but I didn’t apply to be a department chair. I waited until someone said, why don’t you do that? But eventually when you want a job, you have to say, yes I want that job, and we as women often wait for someone to say you’d be good at that. But you have to look at yourself and say, would I be good at that?

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh that’s interesting. What made you kind of change your own thought process between when you were kind of waiting to be tapped and when you decided to sort of tap yourself, so to speak.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Well I didn’t realize at first that I was waiting to be tapped. It was only after two experiences, one where I was the youngest faculty member and I was asked to chair a department, and the other when I was asked to chair a department that was undertaking a very different reorganization that involved several [[INAUDIBLE]]. So I began to say, what is it about myself that they think I could do a good job? And frankly, in the first instance, it was because everybody else had turned them down.


SHIRLEY RAINES: So sometimes it is taking that difficult job that it seems like nobody else wants, but you have something special. Either people trust your or you’re a good communicator, but they’ve found something about you that says you could be good at this. So after I’d been a department chair twice, I eventually said, you know, maybe I’ll apply for the next job, and that’s what happened. So look at what you know, what you want to do, but be willing to declare yourself.

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh, that’s great. So is that the main way that you declared yourself, by just applying for the job and putting your hat in the ring?

SHIRLEY RAINES: Yes. After two times of being tapped for the position, then the third time, at another location with a much more ambitious set of responsibilities, I decided to declare myself.

ANGELA COPELAND: I like that. It’s so straightforward. It doesn’t sound like it was that complicated, but it was more just recognizing in yourself what you wanted to do.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Well I think it’s complicating when you look at becoming self-aware. That’s the complicated part. Then once you are self-aware of your talent, your skills, what you bring with your background, then you have to declare yourself. But some self-analysis goes along way, and that’s why a good career coach could be a great asset.

ANGELA COPELAND: Well, that’s a really good point, and as we kind of talk about your career background, another theme that really popped out for me was major career change. I mean, even in the introduction, I mentioned the number of different types of roles you had as you kind of reinvented yourself over and over, and I’m curious what you learned from your own career reinvention that you feel is helpful for job seekers who are looking to reinvent themselves.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Well, one of the first things you may find interesting is that I had to reinvent myself because I needed to make more money. I was divorced and had a young son, and a preschool teacher’s salary was not going to get us what we needed as a family, for the two of us. So I looked for a position in the same field that paid more money. And I think there are a lot of people out there who are like that. They may love their present job, and I loved every job I did, but they need more money, and so you have to look at what is the next step up, and what does it require. Now that wasn’t the case for all the steps. I was remarried and very happily remarried and supported in my career by my husband. It was not true at that point, but some of the earlier changes were made because frankly I needed to make more money. Many people in education do, and other careers as well.

ANGELA COPELAND: I do think that really drives a lot of our desire for change, you know, if we’ve found ourselves in an uncomfortable situation.

SHIRLEY RAINES: I think the other part that is involved in career reinvention is simply a thirst to know more and learn more. That thirst to learn more after I became a Head Start director, it was to learn more about child growth and development and to learn more about the strength of people who come from poor backgrounds and to help teachers to understand and not [[INAUDIBLE]] their children just because they’re poor. But there are sometimes motivating factors that you just want to learn more, know more, and then when you know more, sometimes the thing one has to realize is, in order to do more with what you’ve learned, you need a different position, and so that became a driver for me. But I have to say, my career, I never imagined becoming a university president or a Head Start director or a teacher-educator. I think my life unfolded, and many people’s do, and it evolved over time, my thirst to know more, my desire to do more was a natural evolution of being someone who was a learner but also just trying to seize opportunities that came along. So I must say I was not a long-term planner, except for a few times, when I decided to do a doctorate, when I decided to move to different parts of the country to pursue my goals, but had they not worked out, I would have been content where I was because each position—I’m very fortunate—each position was very meaningful in my life.

ANGELA COPELAND: I think you make a really good point. You know, I speak with job seekers very often who feel discouraged because they look around them and they assume that their friends have a grand career plan that’s been planned from the beginning and they feel like they’re the only ones that things are just kind of evolving for over time, but I don’t think it’s that unusual actually. I think when you look back, it makes perfect sense to me how a career could have evolved. But we don’t always know in the beginning what the end will look like, I guess.

SHIRLEY RAINES: No. No. And I think there are some people who know at a very early age. Maybe they pursue a medical degree, or whatever. But even with those people, there’s a huge length of time in their education, they may not know that they’re going to evolve from private practice to hospitals to managing a health care system. There are evolutions that happen that seem right for us at the time until we are what we’ve learned and frankly what society has to offer for us.

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh, that’s so true, because timing and society, kind of what’s available at that given moment in history makes such a big difference too.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Right. Don’t wait for the perfect job. Take one and do it extremely well, because that’s what opens the door to the next one.

ANGELA COPELAND: Absolutely. And you also mentioned sort of lifelong learning and I think paying attention to where you have that interest and where you are interested to learn more. I think that’s really helpful as well.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Yes. Absolutely.

ANGELA COPELAND: Well, so as I was kind of reviewing your history in more detail, I realized, and it’s obvious I guess, but when you were a university president, your responsibilities were gigantic. I mean, it encompassed things like finance, marketing, communications, student affairs, I mean, all these different departments—

SHIRLEY RAINES: Academic affairs, athletics, buildings, facilities, yes, all those things.

ANGELA COPELAND: Right, right, and when I talk to job seekers, one of the things that often scares them from applying to a job is they say, I don’t know about this particular part of the job. And I have to think that when you started as university president, you may not have had experience in all of those areas.

SHIRLEY RAINES: No, I did not. What I did have was I had viewed other people who had done that job. I was close enough to the president of the University of Kentucky and the vice chancellor there that I had seen them work in these areas, and so I knew what the responsibilities were. But I also knew that there were gaps in what I needed to learn, but also that no one knows everything about these very all-encompassing jobs, and you depend on the people you appoint as vice presidents or directors to have the depth of knowledge that you may lack. However you do need to know something about all the areas so that you’re not totally naive in those various areas. For instance, I tell the story in this book that I’m writing about my leadership along my career path, and it was, what do people think you won’t know something about? For instance, people would often ask me, the woman in the search about, did I know anything about athletics? Well, I was married to an athlete and I formerly had been married to an athlete and I had been very involved in athletics all my life, but they assume if you’re a woman you don’t know about athletics. So I could learn more and to convince them that I knew more. And the other thing that they ask you about a lot was finance and business. Well, I had grown up on a farm where everybody’s budget means everything, and directed programs, federal programs, and started an independent childcare center, and while the finance and business operations grow larger with every job change, the reality is you know the basics, but I decided to steep myself in the university’s budget and actually during the interview process requested a copy of the university budget, and I was the only one who did. And one of the things that helped me there was, by studying the budget, I could see the university’s priorities and sources of funding and look at it from a variety of ways, and I got help from the University of Kentucky by asking them some questions that related to budgets. So you have to figure out two things: one, what you really don’t know anything about, and two, what you think people will be worried that you don’t know enough about, and find out more information, what the priorities are, what the attention is, the attentional problems that are needed to be solved at that point in time in that particular area.

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh, I really like that. I think you make such a good point about what do other people worry about you, because you know, when you’re getting hired it’s very much about perceptions. And so you’re kind of addressing that perception. And I think those worries come up even more when you’re the person who is different. So it’s very smart. It’s a really, really smart strategy. Well so, if we are job searching, and we’re looking at jobs that maybe stretch our skill set or maybe are outside of our comfort zone, what advice would you have for us in terms of how to pursue those opportunities? Like, should we apply to something if we don’t meet every requirement? Based on your experience, what would you recommend?

SHIRLEY RAINES: I think you do apply if you meet most of the requirements and if you can show in your documents or in your interview that you’re gaining experience in the other area or areas, so that obviously you’re going to be evaluated on whether you’re a match or not, so you’ll get pluses all along the way because you’re a good match, but in an area that may be very important in the job that you don’t know, you need to help them understand how you’re learning that area, and that will usually satisfy people. They’re interested in someone who can do the job and grow with the job. No one is going to have everything in perfect order. All jobs these days are multidimensional. So that’s my best advice, at least.

ANGELA COPELAND: I totally agree. I really think it’s better to apply and give it our best shot, especially if we think we can probably do the job, then to not even put our hat in the ring, so to speak. Well so, on a kind of a different note, I’ve noticed a trend lately that I’m guessing that you may have seen before a little bit, and that is, I’ve had a lot of parents reaching out to me and want to help their child to get an interview for a job and wants to really be involved in the child’s job search, and the child may be 25 or 35, so they’re maybe not so much a child anymore, and I know that they want to help, and I’m just curious, from your view, how can parents help their adult children to grow into the successful person that they want them to be without going maybe too far, I guess.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Well, I certainly did have that same dilemma, as people wanted me to encourage their children to go into this or that field or to apply for law school or whatever, and I would always say to them as parents, have your child call me and let’s talk, but I would not give the parents advice. So I would say to parents, it’s okay for you to reach out to someone, but back off quickly, and let the child or the young adult take the initiative, because one of the things we know is that if people aren’t willing to take the initiative, they’re probably not going to be successful in that degree or career. So these parents can encourage and if they’re determined to reach out to a career coach or a university professor, that’s fine, but immediately expect that the career coach, the university professor or administrator is going to go right back and say, have your child call me.

ANGELA COPELAND: I totally agree. I actually had two parents reach out to me last week and I had a very similar response to each one, where I said, “Hey, have your child contact me. I’d love to chat with them.” And one parent immeidately sent an introduction between me and their child, and it was very positive, and the other parent was actually very offended, and said, we choose not to talk to you because I will be the one footing the bill and I’m not interested. I understand that, but at the same time, the whole goal, right, is for the child to be self-sufficient.


ANGELA COPELAND: And if you do everything for them, I don’t think they develop their own sense of what they want to do.

SHIRLEY RAINES: That’s absolutely right, and I think there are ways in the background for parents to help, to give your name to them, to say here’s what I’ve found out about possible jobs in the area, what can I do to help you get your materials together, not do it for them, but assist in getting them together, and if they have experience themselves in those areas, to say, here’s what I think people are looking for today. Those are just good parent advice, but initiative-taking is really the young adult’s, it’s really their responsibility and it shows a lot more about whether they will be successful or not.

ANGELA COPELAND: Yeah, I totally agree, and I kind of wonder if this is a new phenomenon because I don’t remember this from 20 years ago or so.

SHIRLEY RAINES: I think it is.

ANGELA COPELAND: Okay. I was curious, because I don’t remember when I was coming out of college that my parents weren’t trying to find a job for me or my friend’s parents weren’t doing that either, so I think it’s maybe a new thing. Well, in terms of sort of steps in our career, the next step that a lot of different people I speak with pursue is they want to pursue an advanced degree, so something like an MBA, and they come and they have a lot of questions about, you know, which school they should pick, which program they should pick, and I think that they often initially feel that, for example, every MBA is the same, and when you talk to someone who is considering going to graduate school to pursue an additional degree, what advice do you have for them in terms of picking the right school or picking the right program?

SHIRLEY RAINES: Well you know I’m going to say go to the University of Memphis.

ANGELA COPELAND: Right. Of course!

SHIRLEY RAINES: But I think what they need to consider is the MBA differs, if it is an MBA, differs in different schools and there are different opportunities within those degrees. And so one is to be sure to look on the website and also talk with other people who are in that program, particularly if it’s a local program. Talk to other people to be certain that there is a good match between what the possibilities are. And counselors, graduate counselors, graduate professors, love to talk with people who may be interested in their degree, so make an appointment with someone and talk with them about the degree and understand what you’d be getting into. The other is if you’re planning to transfer and go somewhere else, or your spouse has moved somewhere else and you want to pursue a program, I would have a similar approach in that I would find out as much as possible online, but then I would get the personal touch, not just on the phone, but asking for an appointment to see a counselor and, if possible, even in a new community, find someone who is studying in that program and get the inside view.

ANGELA COPELAND: I think that’s a great point, and, you know, the thing that you mentioned about having meetings with the professors, I think that’s a new one. Even when I was applying to school, I was just beginning to realize that that was even an option, because when you’re an outsider to the school, it feels I think a little bit like you would be imposing on the professors or that they wouldn’t have time to meet with you.

SHIRLEY RAINES: They’re very eager to get new graduate students and to get the best graduate students, so for them it’s an opportunity.

ANGELA COPELAND: So would you recommend, like, if we were interested to set up a meeting with professor, that we just sort of like search online for their email address and email them, or what’s sort of the best way to do it?


SHIRLEY RAINES: Well, I would certainly do that, but what I would want you to do is do your own background work first, review the website, look at the requirements, so that you come with very specific questions you want to ask, and the other thing you need to know is quite often, professors will invite you to sit in on one of their classes, so that’s another opportunity, especially for graduate school.

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh, that’s interesting. That’s very interesting. I don’t think I did that when I applied. I’m sure it would be very helpful, though. I mean, graduate school is such a big commitment both financially and time-wise. You definitely want to research the programs. Well, as we talked about in the beginning, I solicited listener questions, and like I said, I got too many to ask, but I’ve narrowed it down here. The very first one is, what is your perspective on female leadership in higher education, and is the gap widening or closing?

SHIRLEY RAINES: Well, the gap is closing. There are many more female administrators in higher education starting at the community college level, and recently there have been more women appointed in four-year graduate universities. I feel privileged to have been the first woman president at the University of Memphis, but now even as you work at Memphis, you see a woman president at Rhodes, a woman president at [[INAUDIBLE]], and a woman president at Southwest Community College. So the gap is closing. Opportunities are rising because as women are successful leaders then it paves the way for other women to follow.

ANGELA COPELAND: That’s a really good point, and that’s great news.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Right. One of the disappointments is, there are fewer women faculty members than there are male faculty members.


SHIRLEY RAINES: But as that changes as well, there will be more of a pool of women to choose from who have higher education experience.

ANGELA COPELAND: That’s true. That’s a very good point. I suppose the changes, it just takes time.

SHIRLEY RAINES: It takes time, but I just think women should be very encouraged that the demand and problems of supply of higher education and higher education funding are complex, and I think that people are looking for good leaders regardless of whether they are male or female, and I’m just really thrilled to see what’s happened in Memphis.

ANGELA COPELAND: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well so the next listener question comes from a lady named March, and she says, I was so impressed with her partnership that she formed between the University of Memphis and the small community colleges. This program is a win-win for everyone. And I just wanted to ask why you think this type of partnership is so important between the University of Memphis and the small community colleges?

SHIRLEY RAINES: The University of Memphis and community colleges were in the same system, the Tennessee Board of Regents system at that time. They were together, and it just made sense to me that if people were going to start their academic careers at the community college level, they needed to be sure that all of the credits that they were earning at the community college level were accepted at the University of Memphis, and this actually, we started this in Memphis, but it also later was a program that the Tennessee Board of Regents adopted to go statewide, and eventually after TBR had been successful, the University of Tennessee did the same thing. So Tennessee as a state was ahead of its time, but we knew that there were a lot of people at Southwest Tennessee Community College who could be good students at the University of Memphis, and we were always looking for where we could find good students. And we also had a lot of students from Jackson State Community College and actually Dyersburg State as well. But of course being in Memphis, Southwest was critical for us. So it was to find a good pool of students but it’s also to give good opportunity and to make sure their education dollars and credits worked best for them.

ANGELA COPELAND: That’s great. That’s such a good point, and I actually when I was in high school took a few community college classes, and I remember talking about that, whether or not they would transfer, because it’s just so important when you spend the money to take the class to know that it will ultimately be able to go to your final degree.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Right. And we encouraged people to take college classes in high school, and those opportunities have broadened actually as well.

ANGELA COPELAND: Absolutely. So another listener wrote in named David, and he said, I am interested to learn more about her perspective on the traditional campus versus online education and how she sees the growth, accessibility, and employer acceptance of the latter, particularly related to working adults. So I think David is just asking to compare online versus traditional education, and whether companies are willing to accept online education or not.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Well let me talk about traditional and online, and rather than it being traditional campus versus online, what we found was that many of our traditional campus students who lived on campus or commuted to campus, often also took courses online, because they found what was most convenient for them, or was something they felt comfortable in taking online. So it was not versus one or the other. Often it was that they were doing both. And because University of Memphis has been doing online education for years, even doing partnerships with people on different continents, it was something that is expanding and I believe will continue to expand. I personally do well with some traditional on campus courses because I like seeing people’s faces, having the interactions with them before and after class and so forth, but now, with improved media, those barriers seem not to be as much of a problem as they once were. So I believe that the acceptance of online education now grows. I do think it still matters what the reputation of the university that’s delivering the online education is, and so its acceptability by employers is often related to where that credit comes from. So we know that to be true. So I would say to David and to others who are, I think that online education will continue to grow, I think accessibility will continue to happen, I think employer acceptance depends on the institution awarding the credit, and I believe working adults should pursue online education, and I like the idea frankly of, even if you’re doing online education, if you can find others in your own community who are doing that same online course and get together, that has some merit as well.

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh I totally agree, and I think it goes back to that idea of continuous learning and never planning to just stop growing your knowledge. That’s such excellent advice. Well, thank you. And I just wanted to ask you, what’s next for you? You mentioned that you’re writing a book. What’s going on in your career?

SHIRLEY RAINES: Well, I’m speaking around the country. My background academically, you know, is in early childhood education, so I continue to speak on that topic, mostly with people who are directors and leaders of their programs, and so that is where my leadership training comes in. And then I’m doing some work with higher education institutions where I may run on schedule for next month to facilitate a retreat among the highest levels of the administrators on campus and we talk about what they want to achieve and I am the facilitator for their meeting. And then I do some speaking to women’s groups just on developing their leadership qualities and abilities. So I have a video that’s in the archives in [[INAUDIBLE]], which is a very prominent leadership development group, and it’s on women in leadership roles. So I’m writing, but I’m continuing to consult and do training. My book is “From Preschool Teacher to University President: Leadership Lessons.”

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh, that’s excellent.

SHIRLEY RAINES: So I’m hoping that your listeners and others will want the book once I get it together. My difficulty is I have a lot of book and I need to edit it down. So that’s my stage at this point. But I tell a lot of good Memphis stories.

ANGELA COPELAND: Excellent. Well you have so much good expertise and experience, and I can’t wait to see the book, and I know everyone is really appreciating all this great advice today. Where can we go to learn more about you and the work that you’re doing?

SHIRLEY RAINES: Go to, which is my website, and you’ll see a few things. I also regularly write on LinkedIn, so they can seek me out on LinkedIn for information, and I’m happy to answer emails, particularly people who, because of their experiences, want me to relate to them and so if they want to contact me by email, they can write And I’m sure if they wrote you, they would refer them to me as well.

ANGELA COPELAND: Oh, absolutely. And I will put links to all this information in the show notes so that it’s easy to get to.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Great. Wonderful.

ANGELA COPELAND: Shirley, thank you so much. This has been so helpful and so exciting for me. I’m just really honored to have you today.

SHIRLEY RAINES: Well I’m honored to be with you, Angela, and I know that your listeners are going to benefit from your coaching and I hope that our paths will cross in real life soon.

ANGELA COPELAND: I think they will. I think they will. Well thank you again, and thanks everyone for listening, and thanks to those of you who sent me questions. You can send me your questions at You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach, and on Facebook, I’m “Copeland Coaching.” Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review.

146 | Gender Intelligence – Barbara Annis, New York, NY

Episode 146 is live! This week, we talk with Barbara Annis in New York, NY.

Barbara is the founder and CEO of Gender Intelligence Group. She works to build greater understanding of the unique differences that men and women bring to business. She’s also the author of multiple books, including Results at the Top: Using Gender Intelligence to Create Breakthrough Growth. Barbara encourages people to move away from the concept of “great minds think alike” to “great minds think un-alike.”

On today’s episode, Barbara shares how to find gender intelligence in a new job, and how to create it in our existing workplace. She explains why we should move away from the idea of “culture fit.” Barbara also shares her perspective on Silicon Valley’s culture and why women really leave companies.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Barbara, visit her website at You can also follow her on Twitter at @GenderIntGroup. And, you can find her book Results at the Top: Using Gender Intelligence to Create Breakthrough Growth on Amazon.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

145 | Millennial Job Seekers – Alissa Carpenter, Philadelphia, PA

Episode 145 is live! This week, we talk with Alissa Carpenter in Philadelphia, PA.

Alissa is the owner of Everything’s Not OK and That’s OK. She provides strengths based coaching and professional development training for individuals and teams, with a focus on Millennials.

On today’s episode, Alissa shares the biggest struggle young college graduates face. She also gives us tips on what to do if we have little work experience, what part of our high school education should be included on our resume, and whether or not you should consider going back to graduate school.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Alissa, check out her website at You can also follow her on Twitter at @notokthatsok, and you can find her on Facebook at

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

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