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Networking, Personal Branding, and Career Changes After 50 (with Jennifer McClure)

Jennifer McClure, business advisor, speaker, podcaster, and former HR executive, shares how she:

  • Networks in a natural way that works, even for those who hate networking
  • Approaches personal branding and preparing for a job change, even if you haven’t updated a resume in years
  • Made the leap from the corporate world to being successfully self-employed and sharing her expertise at conferences and organizations across the world.

If you enjoyed this episode with Jennifer, you can learn more about her at and be sure to check out her podcast “Impact Makers with Jennifer McClure” where ever you listen to podcasts.


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Social Links:

Instagram: @MidlifeMasteryPodcast


Facebook: @MidlifeMasteryPodcast


Other Resources:

Imperfect Action! Podcast My other podcast. Providing ideas, information, and inspiration from entrepreneurs, bestselling writers, experts, fitness champions, and musicians who have ignored common wisdom and charted their own course.



Episode Transcription

Note: this was transcribed by AI so please excuse any errors or grammatical weirdness in transcription.

 Broc: [00:00:00] All right. So, this is Broc Edwards and Midlife Mastery podcast, and you’re joining us in the, actually the middle of a great conversation. So, we figured we’d better hit record here. And so I’ve got Jennifer McClure and Jennifer, so you’ve, you’ve got kind of a, an awesome life. You, speak, you write, you coach you podcast. I know I’m probably leaving something out. You travel back in the days when we had travel,

Jennifer: [00:00:23] , back in the day,

Broc: [00:00:24] how do you introduce yourself to people? How do you describe yourself?

Jennifer: [00:00:29] It should probably change, but I still identify as professional speaker. You know, for the last 11 years, I celebrated my 11th year in business for myself or with myself or as myself, this last week in February of 2021.

And I was at intend to continue living the dream. As you said, traveling around speaking and doing trainings and teaching and connecting with people. I tend to talk around the topics of strategic leadership personal branding and speaking. So that’s what I love to do now has that radically changed over the last a year, almost a year of.

Not being able to get out on the road and do those things. Sure. But there are still opportunities to do that. And I’m grateful for every one of them.

Broc: [00:01:21] Well, and we can talk about that, that reinvention a little bit. And actually, I wanted to have this conversation with you, Jennifer, for two big reasons. cause I always looked for people who are either that we can learn from who are living an awesome life after 50, or can give good solid advice on, on how to do it. And for me, you fit both of those categories. So, I mean, I think you’ve got the awesome life nailed because on top of everything else you did, I know you’re, you’re.

Well, you’re very active with your horse horses.

Jennifer: [00:01:48] Horses yeah. It’s two,

Broc: [00:01:50] two horses. Yeah.  Always posting great pictures of that and just, just living a good life. And then, and you, you, you are an expert in leadership and personal branding. And so that just seemed like a really, really good topic around when we think about, okay.

So, when, when we hit that 50, 60 beyond, you know, Want to just talk about, you know, how can we approach that? What do we need to be thinking about? Where do people get in their own way? And so, why don’t we go down? Well, actually, why don’t we go down the first path for a little bit, so leading an awesome life.

So, what advice do you have? How did you get to a point where you’re just living a great life and feeling blessed? Yeah.

Jennifer: [00:02:34] Yeah. I mean, well, thank you. Right. I think I used to post a lot more pictures when I was traveling and doing the work that I loved and I’d always hashtag I’m living the dream because you know, I was, and again, I am I’m healthy and so that’s living the dream for anybody.

But I think for me, a lot of it. Has been because I am independent in the sense of I’m single and I prioritize experiences. I’ve learned over the last few years over. Things are money. I like things. I like money. I need money to have experiences in a lot of cases, but it is not beyond me to say yes to something, because I think it’s a great experience or I’d like to go there.

And so, while other speakers or people who’ve started businesses at the same time with me now they’re million dollar speakers. I was not a million-dollar speaker yet because I might. Take a trip to New Zealand for free, you know, not get paid to do that because I’m like you said, New Zealand, that’s all I needed to hear.

And then somebody was like, well, how much do you get to get paid for that? And I’m like, you know, I didn’t even ask now. That’s not to say for everybody listening that I don’t need to get paid event planners around the world, please offer to pay me. But I, I guess I’ve looked back over the last few years and said, I don’t regret those decisions that I made to say it’s worth it to me to live on less.

And to do more, to be more, to see more. And not everybody’s in a situation where they can do that. Maybe they do have a significant other or people that rely on them or that they have to be home for, or maybe even pets that they have to be there for, thankfully my horses or I pay for it, but they’re at a full care facility.

So, when I’m not there, they’re still well taken care of. But again, all of those are, I think, for anybody prioritizing and really getting to know what, what you value and then not being ashamed to pursue that.

Broc: [00:04:35] So tell me a little bit about that. That’s, that’s an interesting comment, not being ashamed to pursue that. Where do you see people doing that?

Jennifer: [00:04:43] Well, like in my case, I would say again, you should, you shouldn’t take a free speaking engagement in New Zealand because you should get paid to speak and I’m like they paid for my airfare and my five-star hotel. I’ll take that because I wanted to go. Or, you know, I think also there’s, there’s a lot of expectations around women and what you can or can’t do.

And for single people, even, especially people like myself, who I’ve been single for 21 years now, and it’s like, you should get in a relationship. And all of this traveling around and being on the road means that you’re not prioritizing that. And I guess I’ve just had to get comfortable with. I’m actually prioritizing what I enjoy for relationship comes great.

My son is an adult he’s taking care of himself. And so, I did my part to get him raised. And again, I’ve structured my life to be able to take care of my animals and others. And there are things I could do different and I’m sure some things I would do different, but you know, pursuing that without apology means.

Back to what I said, getting really clear on what you value. And for me, it’s, I want to see the world. I want to meet people. I love to teach. I hope to inspire. And I have a message that I want to share. So, what better way to combine those things by being willing to come and go as needed.

Broc: [00:06:10] Yeah, it seems like, you know, so often we don’t make those, we don’t even think about it, you know, it’s like just a life evolves over time and we don’t really step back.

Yeah. When we’re young, we think about, okay, what am I going to go to school for? What kind of field do I want a job and all of that? And then, you know, life goes on. There’ve been, other guests, other speakers, people I’ve spoken with that had actually very similar advice course. They’re also doing very similar things.

But just that, you know, being able to making choices, deciding to live simply in some areas so that they can, focus on the areas that really bring them joy and,  kind of making those, those trade-offs. And you’re right there, there is pressure in the speaking field. I mean to not take money is,

Jennifer: [00:06:49] well, I do take money.

I need to,

Broc: [00:06:54] well, even to choose to not because of other tradeoffs, I can see there being pressure there.

Jennifer: [00:06:59] Yeah. But it’s also, I think, you know, at, at my advanced years, although I’m not advanced, I’m still young. We were talking before we started recording about how young I am and how young you are. In my fifties, the conventional wisdom would be is that I should really be saving for retirement.

And while I have saved for retirement, it’s probably not what the financial planners would tell me that I need to save. So, there are times where I say. You know, by spending this much on travel or horses or the things you love to do, you do realize Jennifer, this probably means that you will need to be working well into your seventies or maybe forever.

And those are conscious decisions. It’s like, I’m going to choose to live my life. Now I’m going to trust that the future will take care. Of me as it always has. And working forever is not a bad thing. I mean, how many people do we know that live their whole lives as a working adult and say that when they retire, they’re going to travel.

And then when they retire, they’re either not healthy enough to do that. Or they find reasons why it’s not the right time now, or maybe they aren’t financially able to do that. And now they don’t have the income to support that. So, I think some of it is being conscious of your choices and then owning that, you know, I have to realize that.

My horses are more expensive than any children ever could be. And by having them and choosing that, that gives me joy. I will. You know, to say, pay the price makes it sound negative, but I will pay the price in other regards. So that’s back to, you know, kind of what does society expect of someone my age.

It’s probably to do less, to save more, to pack it all away for the someday when I’ll have the ability to not work. And I’m kind of like, why can’t I do both. I’d like to work and also live the life I want to live.

Broc: [00:09:05] Well, that’s a, that’s a big reason why I wanted you on here and have this conversation. So w we think about other people, so you you’ve thought through it, you’ve made those choices around what brings you joy and where to focus your time and effort, and for others that are, you know, kind of that post 50 career, you know, there’s a lot going on.

I was just making some notes before we started.  And, and these are all. Kind of things that I think get in people’s way. I mean, one is that we can reach this age and be trapped by our salary. You know, we, we make plenty of money where we’re at live a comfortable life and it was much easier to hop jobs in our twenties than it is in our fifties and sixties.

And also, Others that have spoken about this, but just our relevancy is perhaps slipping. You know, so, you might phrase that another way, you know, we’ve kind of peaked in our career. We we’ve, you know, kind of hit that last promotion, perhaps, skills starting to stagnate. In fact, I was. I’ve mentioned that this before, but the conversation just struck me so much that I was talking to someone in the tech industry and, you know, they were 50 and felt they were just too old to learn new skills in their field.

It wasn’t like taking on a new field or anything. It was just even there, the job that they did, they’re just like, well, I’m 50, you know, I can’t learn anymore or something like that. It was, it just really struck me and just, and, and also, you know, I neglected brand or, or never created a personal brand, you know, and as we think about transitioning jobs or doing something different, so, so that’s a lot of negative that’s things that I could picture getting in people’s way.

Jennifer: [00:10:42] But how many of those things were choices? You know, you, you shared a lot of those things.  You know, I’m not relevant, or I’m losing relevance, or I’ve peaked in my field, or it’s more difficult for me to get a job these days, or I’m too old to learn new things in my field or out, I would argue that all of those are choices.

Yeah, absolutely. I, you know, there are things, again, it’s back to, I think we have to acknowledge our conscious choices. I’m sure. Well, there are things now that I have to do in my job as a self-employed person that I don’t like doing. I don’t want to do, I don’t want to learn. And instead of saying, I’m too old to learn that, why did I say I don’t want to learn that?

And then the fact that I’m having to do it is painful and I don’t like it. So maybe I’ll take one less trip next year and pay somebody else to do that. You know, again, those are choices. And I think if we. We challenge ourselves to reframe things. When I was an executive recruiter and I’m sure even when I was in and the corporate world for 20 years at HR recruiting roles, how many times though, as an executive recruiter, when I’m dealing with typically senior level executives, it’s someone come into my office and be like, I’m having trouble getting a job because I’m too old.

I’m like too old for hoop. Well, no one will hire me or I’ve removed the last 20 years of experience off of my resume or my LinkedIn profile because I, I am not getting a job because people think I’m too old. And again, some of that I will acknowledge in some areas that is accurate that maybe you’re not getting looked at for.

An entry-level marketing role because you’ve been a VP of marketing. But I also know that the biggest placement I made as an executive search consultant was a 64 year old CEO. Now you might go, okay, well, he’s a CEO, but it was a, it was a European company. It was a, you know, long story short. They were very adamant that they wanted to know how old he was because he was, they were European.

And they said that it was okay there. And I’m like, but we’re not the role is here in America. But he acted and behaved in such a way that they were thrown off by what they could calculate was probably his age based off the number of years on his resume versus how they perceived him based off of his experience that he brought to the table, et cetera.

And so, when they finally called me and they said, Jennifer, we’ve figured out that he’s 64 years old, is that correct? And I’m like, does it matter? And they said, well, no, not really, but. You know, and he is still working there that was 15 years ago. And he is still working there for that company because he was active.

He was physically fit. He was vibrant. He was current in his field. He was everything that you’d want to hire an in that particular role or in any role. And so. I saw it happen over and over again, that too many people got in their own way by saying I’m not getting a job because I’m too old or I’m not getting the promotion because I’m too experienced.

How are you framing that? You know, are you reframing your expertise of what you bring to the table, especially in today’s world, where there’s now more remote working and more the ability to freelance or the ability to work on a contract basis to, to pursue the type of work that you want and to build a brand that you want by highlighting what you do well, and what experience you bring to the table.

Now, some of those things might be well, if you made. $200,000 a year as a senior VP of X. And you want to go freelance depending on your skill set, you probably won’t make $200,000 a year back to that. Well, it’s a choice instead of a jail. Yeah. Was, that was a rant. I’m sorry, but I just, and maybe, you know, I say, you know, I joked, what about things like I’m doing well to do that now.

And I always try to catch myself. It’s not necessarily like Juul, you know, it could be something else. It could be that I’m not willing to make the sacrifice, or I’m not willing to make less money or I’m not willing to relocate. You know, there’s a dozen reasons why things don’t happen that maybe we say we want, and it’s easy to blame age.

I think it’s very powerful too, to reframe it from being an identity characteristic to a choice.

Yeah. So can build a personal brand today. I mean, yes. I talk about personal branding, but anybody can build a personal brand and there’s someone who will pay for what you want to talk about to do, to focus on, to have expertise.

And if you’re willing, it’s still going to take work. Again, if you’re a, an accountant in a company, but you would love to be a YouTuber. Okay. What can you talk about that? You can gain not a hundred thousand subscribers, but it’s a hundred or a thousand people who really get you and get your message. And then if you create something would want to buy it from you or who might pay you to speak on that topic.

There are people out there that. Are interested in, I mean, in everything. And if you’re good at something, if you want to build a brand around that, you can, but it will take work. I mean, it won’t, you’re using tube channel as a 65 year old YouTuber. Accountant is going to take some time because you’re going to have to find your audience and they’re gonna have to find you, but it is a choice.

Broc: [00:16:14] Well, there there’s an old expression to dig your well before you’re thirsty.  in fact, it was a name of a book about networking as well. The idea being that, you know, so often we, we don’t start until we should have started a long time ago.  But so if we are starting from today, where does someone begin?

Like if, if they’ve been in a career for a while and they’re starting to look around for change that want to do something different, what’s the first step to really start building, emphasizing that brand.

Jennifer: [00:16:40] Get really clear on what it is you do want to do and what you bring to that to just say, I want to change, or I want to do something different or.

I again, as a recruiter in all, all areas, I’ve long loads. When people come in and you know, again, they’re the accountant and they come in and they apply for a job as an HR manager, because I’m good with people or I’ve, I’ve supervised people before. I think I know people I’d like to be an HR. Really have you studied the field?

Are you following them? Other people in HR? Have you figured out what relevant skills you bring other than I’m good with people to the role, you know, have you talked to other people? So, it’s back to that. I need to come and somebody who’s educated in what I want to do. I’m really clear on what I want to do and I’ve pursued.

More knowledge, a broader network expertise. I’ve found ways to volunteer my time to demonstrate my skills. I’ve chosen to take courses whether free or, you know, there’s a lot of ways, again, somebody who will just say, well, I want to do this. And if you ask them, well, how much money, time, energy effort have you invested in developing your skills in that?

Well, you know, I’ve, I’ve worked as an accountant for 40 years and I’ve had people that reported to me. So, I should be able to work in HR. Well, there’s also a person who’s got. Five years of experience in HR and a degree in human resources and an HR certification. And, you know, they’re teaching classes at the university on human resources.

Who am I going to hire? You know, the person who’s deeply in, that’s it in what they want to be in pursue. So, you know, the answer is if you want to change, if you want to do something, then start to build that skill. Same thing. When people, when I wanted to start my own business 14 years ago, 15 years ago, I left the corporate world and I thought, well, I’ll start my own business just because that’s what you do, right?

You don’t want to work in corporate anymore. You just want to be your own boss. And thankfully I engaged a coach which I thought was just going to be like, oh my gosh, Jennifer, why have you not started your own business before? You’ll be amazing at it. Instead, thankfully, the coach said, the first thing you gotta do is get to sit down and create your own marketing plan.

You got to figure out what skills you bring to the table, what are two or three opportunities you would be willing to pursue with those skills and then how you can highlight how you’ve demonstrated those skills. Now, Jennifer, once you get your marketing plan, you’ve got to go out and talk to people for two months.

You know, he didn’t say two months, but you got to go out and talk to people about those things. Not from the sentence. So, Hey, I’m looking for a job as a. You know, or I’m looking to start my own business. Will you hire me? Or I’m looking for a job as an accountant, will you hire me? But I want to meet with accountants who have transitioned to HR.

You know, I want to meet with people who started their own business and want to say, tell me how you did it. I want to learn from your experience, what would you recommend to somebody like myself? Who’s looking to start their own business after 20 years of a corporate career and member having done that.

And thank God all, almost all of those people that I talked to and there were dozens and dozens of them. Said  Jennifer, please don’t start your own business. You’ll fail. Why would I fail? I’m amazing. You will fail because number one, you don’t know what you’re selling. You didn’t say, and you want to start your own business.

Number two, you’ve never done business development. You are an introvert. You don’t want to cold call people. You’re saying it was very difficult for you to start this networking process. You’ve got to build a network. You’ve got to know how to sell yourself. You’ve got to know what you’re selling, and you’ve got to have skills in building relationships.

And until you have those, you’re not ready to start your own business. So, there was a lot, if you unpack all that number one other people gave me great advice. So, if you want to change something, change your career. You want to start your own job or own business. You want to freelance and something, then go out and talk to people.

Who’ve already done that and ask them not for jobs or opportunities or to hire you but ask them to share their story with you. What they’ve learned along the way. And a lot of what I do in those same meetings would be, you know, people would be like, please don’t start your job. You’re your own company, go somewhere and learn this.

And then I’d say, great, you know, with what I’ve shared with you about myself, thank you for sharing that. What are two or three other things? You’d suggest someone like me? Do you know courses? I could take people I need to meet. Who should I be learning from or following? That’s the way you can start without starting.

And then once you do start building those relationships in your new field that you want to pursue, or once you do start learning, what made people successful? How many people that I talked to during that time that had started their own company told me, don’t start your own company until you’ve done it on the side.

First. You know, almost all of them said I started freelancing or I started consulting. Some of them did it with their company’s permission. Some like I did with the company that I was working for permission, I started speaking while I was working as an executive search consultant. They knew it, it actually helped them and me because it was a brand builder for both of our businesses, but I wanted to be a speaker.

And I started speaking when I was doing another job. And after a while, I felt like I built up enough of a brand as a speaker that I was able to say, I’m going to step away from executive search and I’m going to start my own business as a speaker because I’ve built that brand. I’ve shown people that I can do it.

I also have some things booked into the future. So, I did what people recommended start before you actually are ready after you’ve built the skills, the brand and people think of you when they think of Jennifer McClure, they think, Oh, she’s a speaker. And a recruiter or she’s a recruiter who speaks or something so that when I can say I’ve started my own business as a professional speaker and they’ll be like, so you don’t do any recruiting anymore.

I’d be like, no. And they’re like, great. Would you come and speak at our event? I’m like, yes.

Broc: [00:22:42] Well you mentioned something in there and I want to highlight it just because on top of everything else, I think it’s really, really good advice and I found it useful. And that is when we talk about networking and reaching out to people a lot of times, we don’t always know where to begin.

And you said something in there. Just a simple question of who else do I need to be speaking to? Yeah, and I have, I’ve used that question. I’ve stumbled across it and found it so powerful and helpful that it just seems like people want to help you out. And they will point you at other people who are happy to talk to you about this stuff, especially when you’re not showing up asking for a job, but just wanting to learn from them.

Jennifer: [00:23:20] The truth is people do want to help, but we’ve all built up a hard shell over the years because. People do networking badly, you know, and I just say everybody in general, myself included, I’ve done it badly. You know, we are happily employed for 20 years at a company. We don’t build out a LinkedIn profile.

We never go to a networking event and we don’t build relationships outside of the four walls that we work in. And then all of a sudden, we need a job or we want to change jobs or whatever. And we start spamming everybody we know with. Hey Brock, how are you doing, haven’t talk to you in a year. How’s things going for you?

Hey, let’s talk about me. I’m looking for a job who do you know how I’m going to send you my resume? Are you hiring? Do you know anybody that’s hired and Brock is sitting there going? I like Jennifer. She’s cool and all, but I don’t have a job and I feel bad. So what is, send me your resume. I’ll send it to my HR person, you know, and then I send you my resume and you never print it off and you never send it to HR.

Cause you know, you’re not hiring. People want to help. But you put them in a position or we put them in a position where they feel bad. So, your example, there is exactly what we should be doing instead, the non-threatening conversation of, Hey Brock, I’d just like to have a 20 minute call with you to talk, learn about how you got to doing what you’re doing.

And then maybe three people that you’d recommend that I either follow or connect with that. You’d suggest that I start to learn from, as I pursue this career. And if I’ve connected with you enough that I feel comfortable saying. And would you allow me to use your name when I write each out to this person to let them know that I’ve recommended that you recommended, we connect those warm referrals will get you further down the line, but.

Everybody, whether you’re a job seeker or you’re somebody who’s wanting to pursue something different, you’ve got to do it differently. Make those asks non-threatening the, can I buy you a cup of coffee so that I can show you my resume and see if you want to hire me is a conversation nobody wants to have because they don’t have a job in their back pocket for you, especially if they don’t really know your, they haven’t seen you in 20 years, plus the cup of coffee thing.

I don’t drink coffee, but it’s super annoying because that’s a two plus hour commitment for anybody to drive somewhere, to have a cup of coffee. It never lasts 30 minutes. You got to leave the office, get out of the office. Make it easy. Hey, Brock, I’d like to, would it be okay if I stopped by your office for 20 minutes?

Just want to have a quick conversation with you to tell you a little bit about what I’m working on. Learn a little bit more, what what’s up with, you know, ask of you just wanted to connect. How easy can I make it for you to help me versus if I show up in need, I’m putting you on the defensive because you’re trying to protect yourself.

You don’t want to hurt me. Right. Or maybe you do. You’re like, whatever, I don’t have a job for you. Why are you reaching out to me? We don’t know each other. That’s what people want to say, but they’re not.

Broc: [00:26:11] you’re right though. I mean, either that they really want to help and often can’t, so that’s a hard spot for them or, well, they don’t want to help, but. Feel some sort of polite obligation to sit and listen or hope that they can help. And it turns out they can’t and yeah, there’s just so much that can get in the way.

So I like the idea of just how, how do we make it non-threatening?

Jennifer: [00:26:38] Be strategic. Think about your questions before you go in B you know, I always asked for in those networking meetings, I asked for 20 minutes. That’s not a lot of time. I offered to go to their office and then I would be keeping time whether it was putting a watch on the table or sitting in front of the clock or at 18 minutes.

I’m like, thank you so much for the time you spent with me. I don’t want to be really respectful of your time if we’ve been having a great conversation half the time, you’ll be like, no, no, no, you keep going. I got time, but I’m going to be respectful of your time. And I’m going to have my two or three questions ready that are about you.

So that you like me enough to want to help me.

20, 20 minutes is a, almost anyone can work 20 minutes of time into their day. Yeah. Even a half hour sounds so much longer. It’s not really, but that sounds like, Oh, I’ve got to schedule that versus now I can fit you in. That’s fine.

But if we S if I schedule a 20-minute call with you or a 20 minute meeting, and, and my first question is brought to you, I’m really interested in pursuing, you know, whatever you’re doing.

If you started your own business or you’re a consultant, whatever, what I’d like to know is a little bit about your story, how you got to be there. Well, unless Brock is just really talkative, he can probably get that out in about five minutes. And then hopefully you’ve got a well, I’m considering doing that myself.

Here’s a couple of things that I’ve considered doing. What are your thoughts on, you know, me taking some LinkedIn learning courses in this or pursuing this certification? Do you have any thoughts on that? So, I’m asking you softball questions that you had to answer easily, and I’m not putting you under stress.

And then again, the last question is. Thank you so much for the time that you share with me today, are there maybe two or three other people that you’d suggest that I connect with that you suggest I get to know as I’m on this journey? Then you leave that interaction with a smile. I helped somebody today.

If I’ve done a good job of talking about you, you like me better?

Broc: [00:28:40] Well, you know, think about it. The so often our days are tough and it does feel good to feel like, Hey, we had a win, you know, we helped someone that we had this great

Jennifer: [00:28:50] conversation in general. Cause I’m not as deficit. She didn’t leave me with her resume where I falsely promised. To give it to somebody.

I, I helped her and that’s all that she asked me to do. And that felt good.

Broc: [00:29:04] Absolutely. Well, you know, you kind of mentioned earlier, didn’t use the words, but, but we hint around just kind of, you know, age discrimination that, you know, it can be a real thing. It can get in the way. I mean, there’s laws against it.

There wouldn’t be laws if it weren’t some sort of an issue with, for some people. Yeah.


How can we demonstrate relevance? The CEO you’ve mentioned, had managed to demonstrate a high level of relevance. And so, what are some things we can do? I mean, superficially, we would advertising marketing would push us, you know, to die our hair and get Botox.

I’m not talking about faking youth. I’m talking. How do we demonstrate relevance?

Jennifer: [00:29:42] Well, I’ll, I’ll answer that. I can do a couple ways, but, but one for sure, when I was considering, you know, I’d left the corporate world, the company I worked for was sold, kind of found myself out on the street, not wanting to do what I’d always done thinking I was going to start my own business thinking I was going to go to the coach who would just confirm that once we decided that I had to go out and start talking to people.

And one of my options that I was going to talk to people about was potentially going back into corporate HR or starting a consulting business in HR. Hmm, neither of which I did. But that was on the table to go talk to people about. And what I said to my coach was, well, I’m actually concerned because I don’t have an MBA.

So, I was at the time in my late thirties, I guess it was 2001. Yeah. Thirties, early 40, something like that. I don’t have an MBA. And it’s never been a problem for me. I’ve worked my way up from an HR department of one to a VP of HR, a very successful company and made a lot of money. The last company I worked for was a turnaround situation.

I’ve done good work. I’ve gotten consistently promoted. I’ve been the first woman or the only woman on the leadership team in every job I’ve ever had. And in the last. Two jobs, the youngest person promoted. Well, that was all about, you know, a little bit about what I tried to shove under that my insecurity about not having an MBA.

And he said, Jennifer, if you go for a job interview where a requirement is an MBA, or you’re in an interview where someone says, do you have your MBA? Here’s what you do. Your question is. By saying that an MBA is required for this position. Is it my understanding that you’re looking for someone who can be collaborative and work with teams who has expertise in XYZ, who has a high level of understanding and skill in this area?

You know, whatever I’m knowledgeable enough to say, based off that question, if they say yes, then you can say, well, if I can demonstrate to you that I’ve done X, Y, and Z. Would you still be willing to talk with me about the role? So, it’s taking control of whatever the weakness is. And the reality is I never did need an MBA to do good.

Executive level HR work, but some people would not have considered me likely for a role because I didn’t have one or even and I’ve never had an HR certification. Ooh. But if I were able to engage those people in a conversation, I could have defended my skills and experience to the nth degree because I had a lot of accomplishments to put on the table.

So, by asking that question, is it my understanding that are requiring that? Or is it my understanding that by looking for a younger person, you’re looking for someone who’s staying current with technology who can do the tech talks and the Snapchat, whatever they’re, you, you should know enough to kind of assume and what they’re looking for by that, then I think you can make a case for yourself.

Now, there are, as you said, there are going to be instances where you won’t even get the opportunity to have that conversation. Or you just won’t convince the person. And I know it’s, I I’ve said this even when I was a youngster and I say, you don’t want to work there anyway. Now do people need to put food on the table and eat and live indoors?

Yes, they need to make money. They want to get job fulfillment. They should have an opportunity to work in their dream job at their dream company. That is true. But if at your dream company, your dream job reports to an ageist, sexist, whatever manager, you’re not going to change that. So why do I want it?

You know, you won’t, you won’t do well in the job. If you got it, you won’t enjoy the job. If you got it. And it’s going to be just a huge, bad experience for all involved. Should that person be in the role? No, but you’re not going to change it. So go pursue your bliss elsewhere. Your dream job is out there.

It was created.

Broc: [00:33:37] I heard the expression once, you know, go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated. Oh. And, always like that. So last question for you as we wrap up here, Jennifer, speaking of honoring time and,  and that is just, and maybe this is too big of a question, but where do you see people getting in their own way when they’re pursuing careers change?

Jennifer: [00:33:58] Oh, we’re the same way we get in our way. In life in general, that imposture, I was listening to a podcast yesterday with someone who said we shouldn’t call it imposter syndrome. Like it’s a disease, it’s an imposter occurrence. I, when you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, qualified enough, young enough, pretty enough.

You are discounting yourself far more often than probably would be accurate. It comes back to how confident are you in what you bring to the table? How well can you sell your skills? How clear on are you on what your purpose in life is and what joy you want to bring to the world? And if. If you feel like, and I’ve heard it over this last year of a global pandemic from a lot of speakers and, and personal brand type people, if you feel like your purpose, really matters that the message that you bring to the world really matters.

The fact that you can’t do it on a stage is just a problem. You’ll find a way to deliver your message because you believe in your heart, people need it. So, I think, you know, that’s a way of saying, I can say, well, I can’t be a speaker anymore because there’s no travel. There’s no conferences, whatever. But if I believe in my message that leaders out there need to hear my message, then I’ll find a way to make them.

Be able to hear it, whether that’s, you know, figuring out the YouTubes and the Snapchats and the day, whatever the delivery method might be. So, the same thing I think is for us, as we look at opportunities, we might want to pursue find out what you really believe in about yourself and then weave that the world needs you in that role position.

Whatever it might be, or even if it’s a hobby. You know but believe in yourself. And don’t, don’t tell yourself that you can’t do it, or the other people won’t allow you to do it until you’ve tried.

Broc: [00:35:56] I think that’s a perfect place to wrap up there, Jennifer. So where can people find you if they want to learn more about you?

I mean, I mentioned that you do a podcast, but we haven’t even mentioned the name of the podcast. So, so where can people find you?

Jennifer: [00:36:07] Oh wow. Jennifer is a good place to start. The podcast is called impact makers with Jennifer McClure, where I talk to leaders about how they’re making an impact out there in the world.

And I think my podcasts. Is one of the best kept secrets out there. So, if you’re looking for some good conversations with a really smart people, then I highly recommend checking it out. And I’m on the social medias, the LinkedIns, the Twitters, the Facebook man. Nope. Facebook let’s. You don’t need to find me.

Okay. Facebook is because we’re all trying to figure out if, if Facebook is the evil empire or not, but Instagram I’m on that and they’re part of Facebook. So, but at Jennifer McClure, you should be able to find me anywhere.

Broc: [00:36:51] All right. Excellent. Thank you so much.


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