15 Inspiring Reinvention Stories

For the last 15 years, we’ve covered the dramatic personal stories of change from women of various ages who have successfully reinvented their lives. Here, 15 of our favorites on making a second act your best yet.

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Spinning a Business Out of Nothing

When Julie Rice couldn’t find a place to exercise, she and a friend opened their own studio. Then SoulCycle took off.

Andrew Hetherington

When the World Says No to Your Invention

Romi Haan couldn’t get anyone to buy into her steam-cleaner invention. But she pushed through failure—and now runs HAAN Corporation, a thriving global busines and leader in steam-cleaning technology.

An Ji-sup

Illness Changes Everything

Phylise Sands hadn’t held a paying job in 20 years. But witnessing her sister’s battle with cancer inspired her to start Red Daisy, her own activewear company.

Adam Golfer

A Star Starts Over

Six years ago, René Syler lost her TV coanchor job and the salary that went with it. Then came a double mastectomy and a deep, dark depression. Here’s how she got her mojo back—and found a future in new media.

Craig Salmon

From Fashion Exec to Health Coach

Former Chanel VP Holli Thompson suffered from an array of illnesses; then she discovered the healing power of food. Now a holistic health counselor, she advises clients, teaches nutrition workshops and appears frequently in TV news segments on healthy eating.

Katherine Wolkoff

The Other Makeup Mogul

Divorced and cash strapped, Bobbie Weiner uncovered an unusual talent. Now she runs a multimillion-dollar empire creating makeup for sports fans, moviemakers and the military.

Misty Keasler

Transformed by My Three "Sons"

Elinor Burkett never wanted kids. She even wrote an incendiary book about being childless by choice. But when three impoverished African teens wanted to go to college, she discovered she was a Mama Bear after all.

Colby Katz

Death and the Maidens: Women in Funeral Service

Many women in their prime decide they’re ready for a career change, but most aren’t thinking, “Mortuary school!” Meet some who’ve chosen to stare death in the face in return for a paycheck—and a deeply satisfying new sense of purpose.


Into the Deep: From Real Estate Agent to Wet-Suit Designer

Debbie Davis was bored in her real estate job. Then she fell madly in love—with the ocean. At 55, she has an Internet business selling women-friendly wet suits (Seadreamswetsuits.com) and a whole new view of life.

Shay Peretz

Her Restaurant Breaks All the Rules, and Thrives

They said it would never work. They were wrong. Denise Cerreta gave up her successful acupuncture practice to open One World Everybody Eats, a nonprofit eatery that helps feed the world. Here’s how she broke all the rules and came out ahead.

Reuben Cox

The Accidental Hotelier

Dev Stern had always wanted a second home. She didn’t realize it would mean employing a village and opening a hotel in Mexico.

Brian Doben

After Katrina: Cecile Tebo

Cecile Tebo went from debutante to head of New Orleans’s mental health SWAT team.

Rebecca Greenfield

She Ditched the Corner Office

How do you go from single corporate executive to married best-selling author? Here's Lalita Tademy's story.

Winni Wintermeyer

Designing a New Life

Karina Gentinetta spent 13 years as a lawyer, but antiques were her true love. Now she’s turned her eye for quality into a business.

Cedric Angeles

Cocktail Queen

Ann Tuennerman once ran a dog-biscuit bakery. Now her conference on cocktails attracts thousands of bartenders and revelers every year.

Next:15 Quotes on Reinvention


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