Re-Imagineer #1: Joanna Coles Former Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan

You have an incredible resume as a newspaper reporter, writer, author, and Editor in Chief of Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan. You also began to develop a life layer as an Executive Producer of a hit television series called The Bold Type. Give a few tips on how you were able to learn a whole new industry while doing your busy day job and raising a family.

You are only as strong as your team around you. Make sure you have great people you trust, and contract out anything you don’t need to do yourself. Then, focus on learning the new stuff and be clear upfront about what you know how to do and what you don’t. That way people will step up and bring their strengths to the table to round you out. 

I don’t need a routine to make me feel safe – which some people do. I am better when I am challenging myself and meeting new people and figuring out new territory. If I had been a pioneer I would have kept going. I wouldn’t have settled until I reached California. So put yourself in situations that push you forward. 

In your 50’s you decided to ROAR into a whole new life chapter in work and in your personal life.  What advice would you give someone who wants to make a major change in midlife?

Life is change. Every religion and philosopher talks about acknowledging this. Life is about birth and beginnings and also death and endings. Sometimes you just have to sit with that and grit your teeth through the difficult transitions! 

Today, you are on the Boards of SNAP, SONOS and others, as well as being the CEO of a SPAC!  You’ve completely reimagined your favorite future. What was the most challenging part of getting to this entirely new place in your life?

For me, it was the psychological shift of not having a boss and being accountable to yourself. Right from our kindergarten days, when we sit and learn from a teacher, to corporate America, our system is set up with someone in charge who is ostensibly omnipotent. A terrible pressure for them and also faintly ridiculous for the rest of us. Shaking that structure off and realizing you can try new things and double down on what’s working while shrugging off what’s not was exciting. I like doing lots of things and a portfolio life allows you to do that. 

This summer I am speaking at an investor conference and talking to founders for my Spac with the New York Islanders owner Jon Ledecky, shooting a pilot for ABC I am co-producing with John Legend’s TV company, attending board meetings, and co-producing a new play for 2023 with Eva Price and Bruna Papandrea. Plus mentoring young women, so it’s a big noisy basket but the elements work with each other so there’s overlap and a network effect. 

ROAR into the second half of your life (before it's too late)

Meet the Author

Michael Clinton is a best-selling author, new longevity expert, thought leader, and keynote speaker on the changing face of what it means to live longer. He is also a writer-at-large for Esquire, and regular columnist for Men’s Health. A former president and publishing director of Hearst Magazines, he now serves as the special media advisor to the Hearst Corporation’s CEO.

He is also a photographer, has traveled through 124 countries, has run marathons on 7 continents, has started a nonprofit foundation, is a private pilot, is a part owner of a vineyard in Argentina, holds two master’s degrees, and still has a long list of life experiences that he plans to tackle.