Three Women Igniting Social Change in Second Careers

This blog includes several of links to explore, including the three outstanding organizations started by these three women.

Ignite ladies

For the second year, the Levin Jewish Community Center in Durham, North Carolina is coordinating a fantastic series called “Ignite Talks,” which presents local leaders in the business community as social innovators. FYI, link to last year’s blog where I featured Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO of Red Hat; and Kevin McDonald, founder and CEO of TROSA (Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers.)

The latest session I attended on December 4, 2014 was titled “Next Chapter: 3 Women, 2nd Careers, 1st Rate Leaders.” All three women started new ventures later in their careers which contributed substantially to our community and world. The three women:

• Debbie Horowitz, whose earlier career included being a real estate appraiser and breastfeeding counselor. She then founded PORCH, Inc., a grassroots hunger relief organization fully staffed by volunteers executing local neighborhood food drives.

• Carrie Norry, after spending her early years as a homemaker and raising a family, formed “JUST TRYAN IT,” which empowers children to compete in triathalon type events to raise money for childhood catastrophic diseases.

• Pat Nathan, retired as a Microsoft business executive and then founded the local Triangle, NC “Dress for Success” affiliate in 2008. Her organization promotes economic success for disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and other networking and career development support.

After sharing a little about their journeys and their ventures, these outstanding women shared some practically advice. First, challenges and learning from them:
• The importance of balancing time and setting boundaries.
• Recognizing where you need help – can’t do it all!
• Don’t doubt yourself and your capabilities.

Second, closing advice:
• If you have a dream, and idea, just go for it!
• Look for open doors leading your way and be inspired by them.
• Prepare yourself to be open; be willing to let something speak to you.

These three women as well as the entire Ignite Series demonstrates that each of us can indeed step out and do something to make a significant impact for good in our community and the world.

Closing Note: For my own personal venture, I am working with a coalition of partners to build a community center in Mtito Andei, Kenya, one of the most impoverished areas of East Africa. I look to have some significant news and progress to share within a few months.