6 / matters magazine / fall 2018 READ & RECYLE Featuring Local People, Places and Things that Matter Since 1990 PUBLISHER & EDITOR IN CHIEF Ellen Donker ASSOCIATE EDITOR Joanne DiPasquale ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Rene Conlon H. Leslie Gilman Sara Knutsen Adrienne MacWhannell COPY EDITORS Nick Humez Tia Swanson CONTRIBUTORS Elaine Norstein Durbach, Melanie Finnern, Rick Gilman, Malia Rulon Herman, Jamie Meier, Duncan Pettigrew, Abby Sher, Karen Tedesco, Joy Yagid FOUNDER & CREATIVE CONTRIBUTOR Karen Duncan Matters Please address all correspondence to: Visual Impact Advertising, Inc.© P.O Box 198 Maplewood, NJ 07040 973-763-4900 mattersmagazine.com MattersHello@gmail.com MattersMagazine© isownedandpublishedby VisualImpactAdvertising,Inc.,P.O.Box198 Maplewood,NJ07040.MattersMagazineis free, with issues direct mailed 7 times a year to the residents of Maplewood and South Orange and distributed to businesses and surrounding communities totaling 15,500. Subscriptions are available to non-residents for $30 (U.S.) $40 (Foreign) annually. No part of the publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written per- missionfromVisualImpactAdvertising,Inc. CIRCULATION VERIFIED BY U.S. POSTAL RECEIPTS. heart of the matter I t is no small feat to graduate from college and de- termine your fu- ture career. Some study a very spe- cific path and have a fairly sure idea of the next step. But for many the options can seem overwhelming. I clearly remember my moment. I was a newly-minted graduate in economics and had my eye on working for a mail order or catalog company (which surely dates me) so I could one day run my own. As I looked for work, using recruiters and the good ol’ newspaper, I kept my options open until I found myself at the crossroads of accepting an offer from a mail order correspondence school in Little Falls, New Jersey or learning foreign exchange at a Japa- nese bank in New York City. I knew what sounded more prestigious but in the final analysis I accepted the offer at Commercial Technical In- stitute and learned how to convince the John Q. Samples of the world to take a locksmithing or bookkeeping course through the mail. I found a mentor in the president of the company who taught me the basics of direct marketing – how to develop a marketing strategy, write good copy, work with an advertising agency and track results to re- fine future efforts. The job lasted a little over a year, long enough to convince me that this was a field I could make my career in. Future jobs gave me experience in fundraising, cor- porate marketing and my own advertising agency. I had found my niche and will always be grateful that I listened to the nudge to follow my interests. I guess that’s why I love to hear other people’s stories and what led them to their present careers. For this issue, I interviewed many women who have either reinvented themselves or followed a continuum that began with that first job. It is fascinat- ing to connect their dots and rejoice at their places today. The com- mon thread for many of these reinventions is the pursuit of a meaningful job that facilitates a bal- anced life. For most, moving from the independence of a single lifestyle in their 20s to one with a spouse and chil- dren brings about a reordering of life. I know that firsthand. After I had my children, I took eight years off from the work world. Over time, though, I worried about becoming irrelevant career-wise and was eager (maybe pressed) to contribute to the family coffers. I returned to the work force part-time. Truth be told, I never really found a position that fully utilized my skills or paid me on a prorated basis anywhere near what I had earned in my full-time days. That time period was the most challenging and frustrat- ing segment of my career. The work that I wanted to do didn’t seem to exist anywhere in a less than full-time posi- tion. I accepted the trade-off knowing that at least my fam- ily had the balance we were in search of. To be fair, I did add skills to my repertoire from the various jobs I strung together during my time of active par- enting. And a part-time position with Matters Magazine is what led me to now owning it – further testament to the benefits of choosing to do what you love. So I exist at the intersection of “you can’t have every- thing” and “there must be a way to rethink this” mentali- ties. Surely it is a complex subject that has been gnawed at for years with slow success. But I believe that in our com- munity alone we have business leaders who can rethink the dated employment model and create opportunity for these times, harnessing the formidable talents in our midst. Let’s make it happen. My Balancing Act Finding work that matters BY ELLEN DONKER