Women Who Made It
Ask ten people to define success, and you’ll get ten different answers. That’s because success is subjective, and each person’s journey on the road to success is so unique. For me, what was once my idea of success is entirely different from what I know it to be today.
My journey hasn’t been this straight, neatly paved road. I paused my acting career to stay home with my daughter for two and a half years and then decided to pivot careers. I was fearful, I worried about failure, and in full transparency, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure I was making the right decision, but I knew if I didn’t try, I would spend a lot of my life wondering what it would have been like if I had. So I launched MAED and dived right into being an entrepreneur.
Today, more and more women are making very similar decisions. Walking away from careers they’ve had for decades. Women are taking back their independence by launching businesses, creating their own opportunities, and road mapping their way to success.
Throughout the rest of March, in honor of National Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting women who, despite their uncertainty, pursued their passions. Women who walked away from something, faced their fears, and took a risk—or two or three. Women who failed, but got back up again and reinvented their ideas.
These are the women who made it.
Rachael Adams discovered volleyball in 2008…and a mere eight years later, she was an Olympic medalist in the sport. While playing volleyball professionally in Poland, she started a blog about her life in a city with a name she couldn’t even pronounce. Her family and friends delighted in reading about her adventures, but after a Polish newspaper wrote about her blog, the attention started to make Rachael feel vulnerable and weak; she shut down her blog and built up a wall in the process.
“Over the years, I felt like I lost my voice a lot. I did a reiki reading and it said my third chakra was closed and that was when I realized that I wasn’t letting people see the real me. I believed that, as an athlete, I couldn’t let anyone know that I struggle with self-doubt and question myself. I was so afraid of judgment and criticism that I wasn’t speaking up about anything.”
This realization gave Rachael the motivation she needed to jump back into blogging. Now, she shares her life on her blog JOURNEYSTRENGTH, where she is no longer afraid to use her voice and be seen for who she truly is.
Rachael’s advice to other women who want to make a pivot: “Fear is trying to keep us safe. Think of the scariest thing that could possibly happen and realize that you’re strong enough to get past it. Choose courage over fear. And, if you need to, do it scared. Fear is never going to go away and sometimes we have to do things scared. Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Alex Chando dreamed of becoming an actor. When she booked her first pilot at the age of 16, she thought she had made it, but after 20 years of acting, she began to feel unfulfilled. While starring in the ABC Family show “The Lying Game,” Alex found inspiration again—but this time it was behind the camera. When given the opportunity to collaborate with the directors on set, Alex realized that directing brought her fulfillment in a way that acting didn’t anymore.
“Part of me was resistant to pivoting from acting to directing because I didn’t want it to seem like I had failed or that I had turned my back on my identity. While doing a breathwork session one day, the coach told us to imagine a future moment and ask ourselves what we want out of life; in that specific moment I had to choose between acting and directing and I had a vision of myself as a director. I broke down crying because that was the moment I finally gave myself permission to pursue that path. I had to let go of the idea of who I was before in order to embrace who I wanted to be in the future.”
Since deciding to make her pivot, Alex has completed directing her first pilot and she co-hosts The Her Voice Podcast, which allows her to connect with other women in the industry and give female filmmakers a platform to share their stories.
Alex’s advice to other women who want to make a pivot: “Maintain relationships. You never know where they’re going to lead. As a woman, you need that support and having connections can help open a lot of doors.”
Janette "Puttie" Clark
When she was laid off from her job as a writer in 2012, Janette Clark took it as a blessing. With plans to enjoy her time off and take up a hobby, she was in no rush to find another writing gig—instead, she’d live off of her unemployment checks while waiting for the perfect position to come along. What she didn’t realize was that her new cooking hobby would launch her into a career as a celebrity chef.
“Stability is important to me, but I realized that I’ve been stifled by that need to feel stable. When I couldn’t find a job as an editor, I decided to start taking food more seriously.”
Making sandwiches for a friend snowballed into a lucrative catering business—and advice from Jay-Z convinced her to take the leap from catering business lunches to putting herself out there as a chef. Although she has no classical training, Janette leveraged personal connections, a passion for food, and a willingness to take big risks to build a new life for herself, moving from New York to Los Angeles. After gaining experience in the kitchens of Wolfgang Puck, she was ready to start her own personal chef business, Simply PUTT. Now, Janette works for some of the biggest names in Hollywood—and she’s finally found her true calling.
Janette’s advice to other women who want to make a pivot: “The perfect time you’re waiting for doesn’t exist; the time is now. Get a vision and come in with confidence. Don’t second guess yourself. Know that if you’re there, you deserve to be there.”