"For what it's worth: It's never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again."
When you meet Andrea Koppel, you will be drawn right away to her welcoming smile, witty and polished comments, and worldly experiences. When I did this photoshoot for her, she was glowing full of energy, looking radiant and just about to celebrate her 50th birthday. She has spent 20 years as an award-winning broadcast journalist – the last 14 with CNN – before reinventing herself in 2008 as a Public Relations and NGO (non-profit) executive. During her time at CNN, Andrea spent 5 years as a foreign correspondent based in Japan and China and 8 years as CNN’s State Department correspondent reporting on American foreign policy. With all these success and glories, you would have never guessed she had been fired twice in her 40’s. She won’t lie, each time it was humiliating and demoralizing, but that’s probably not surprising. However in both instances, she also quickly realized that getting fired has been an unexpected and extraordinary gift. She embraced these failures for what they really were – invaluable, albeit painful experiences, and unexpected gifts, that helped her level-up her grit, confidence, determination and resilience. She's going to go even further and say that if she hadn’t been fired, and subsequently pushed herself well outside her comfort zone on multiple occasions, she doubt that she would have had the courage to start building her own social enterprise two years ago.
Now, she has her podcast Time4Coffee, a free resource for college students and young professionals to help them turn their degrees into careers they love. It is a unique virtual library of carefully curated career conversations and interviews with hundreds of professionals – in dozens of different careers. As the Time4Coffee name implies, these in-depth ‘virtual networking coffees’ are specially brewed to cut through job board BS and explore many of the same topics covered when people meet, in person, to ask for career advice. T4C’s mission is to level the playing field for college students and young professionals, no matter where they went to school and no matter who they know (or more likely don’t know), by providing them with first-hand career insights from the professionals who are actually doing those jobs. Andrea uses this as a way to help many more college students, and aspiring young professionals build successful, healthy, and happy lives!
Continuing the celebration of women history month, I want to share Andrea's journey and to empower everyone to embrace all the ups and downs life has to offer and make it into a powerful story of your own!