#11: Professional Dating Coach Nancy Slotnick

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On the last show, I wondered whether the answer to finding true job satisfaction is to have at least two jobs, one that pays the bills and one that’s a labor of love. But in this episode, I spoke with Nancy Slotnick, who found a way to build a successful business out of the activity she most enjoys doing: helping people to find the right life partner. Talk about a labor of love.

About Nancy Slotnick: Nancy Slotnick is a professional Dating Coach with hundreds of successful marriages to her credit. With a degree in Psychological Anthropology from Harvard and experience as a corporate headhunter, she decided more than 15 years ago that what she was most interested in was helping people with their personal relationships. In 1996, she built Drip, a coffee bar/dating service on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Several years later, she founded Cablight, a ‘lovelife management’ company that offers a range of products and services including coaching, classes, and other dating and relationship resources. Nancy has appeared on numerous television programs including Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and The View. Her work has also been featured in a wide range of publications including The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, and The Chicago Tribune.

#10: Podcast Producer Erin Kane

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Erin Kane is the co-creator and co-host of Manic Mommies, a wildly popular podcast that was founded six years ago by Erin and her then-neighbor Kristin Brandt. I think this interview will be of interest to new podcasters like me, but the main reason I wanted to talk to Erin is that I think she’s part of a genuine trend—a trend in which people, both women and men, are wearing more and more work hats in order to satisfy the full range of their work needs.

In Erin’s case, she’s worked in the field of public relations for many years—and Manic Mommies, even as it has grown into a real and viable entity, continues to be something of a sideline. More than a hobby, but not quite a full-time job. I’m starting to wonder if this approach—balancing multiple jobs rather than looking for a single role that both pays the bills and is deeply satisfying—is the best way for many of us to crack the ‘What should I do with my life?’ conundrum for once and for all. I’m not sure, but I found my conversation with Erin to be interesting food for thought.

About Erin Kane: Erin Kane is a public relations professional who left a job in public television to start her own publicity agency. In addition to her PR work, she is also the co-founder, producer, and promoter of Manic Mommies, a resource for working mothers that has grown to include, in addition to the podcast: a robust online community, an annual retreat, and various other extensions. Erin also writes about work/life on a weekly basis for Real Simple’s Simply Stated blog.

#9: Air Traffic Controller Bob Richards

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The subject of air traffic control has been in the news a lot in recent weeks, but many of the pundits weighing in on the issues are not people who’ve personally spent any time in the tower. So I asked veteran air traffic controller Bob Richards if he’d be willing to share his thoughts with Work Stew. In this special episode of the podcast, he fields a wide range of listener questions, including the inevitable: “Have you ever napped on the job?” He also shares his recollection of O’Hare’s famous UFO incident.

About Bob Richards: Bob Richards worked as an air traffic controller for 25 years; for 22 of those years, he was at the nation’s busiest airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International. Since retiring in 2007, Bob has written a book called Secrets from the Tower; he has also made many media appearances, and he serves as a part-time aviation consultant for various news organizations.

#8: Investment Banker Turned Teacher Jane Viau

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This episode continues the conversation on teaching that I began when I spoke with Mary Egan, who switched careers from education to business and now has the top strategy job at Starbucks. The career path of Jane Viau has gone in the opposite direction: after 16 years in Finance, Jane left her investment banking job to become a high school math teacher. In the interview, Jane explains why she switched tracks; she also weighs in on the hot topics of teacher compensation and evaluation.

About Jane Viau: Jane Viau has been teaching at The Frederick Douglass Academy (FDA), a public school in New York City, for the past nine years. Before becoming a teacher, Jane worked in real estate finance and investment banking at MetLife, Fitch IBCA, and Merrill Lynch. At FDA, Jane currently teaches Statistics, Advanced Placement Statistics, and Advanced Placement Microeconomics. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Jane consults on AP textbooks and other teaching materials; she also serves on the Teacher Advisory Panel for the “Measures of Effective Teaching” project sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

#7: Starbucks Exec and Former Teacher Mary Egan

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This episode features an interview with Mary Egan, who now heads up the global strategy function for Starbucks. I was interested to hear that Mary began her career not in a cubicle but in a classroom, as a middle school teacher in New York City. I wanted to learn what prompted Mary to switch from education to business, and I thought it would be interesting to capture this conversation alongside another interview I’ve arranged—with an investment banker who’s gone the other direction, leaving the world of finance to become a high school teacher.

About Mary Egan: Mary Egan joined Starbucks in 2010 as Senior Vice President, Global Strategy. Prior to joining Starbucks, she was a partner with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where she was responsible for a wide range of consumer sector client projects. While serving commercial clients, Mary also led BCG’s New York City non-profit practice for five years. Mary began her career as a junior high math teacher in a public school in Harlem.