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Valentina Janek: “I continued to do different things to learn”

In the second chapter, after being downsized at 50, I continued to do different things to learn. I met a mentor and worked on a novella about a short story called In Love and Friendship about two best friends a true story and an accident that occurred with a beautiful brown eyed adorable girl named […]

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In the second chapter, after being downsized at 50, I continued to do different things to learn. I met a mentor and worked on a novella about a short story called In Love and Friendship about two best friends a true story and an accident that occurred with a beautiful brown eyed adorable girl named Caputo. I assisted in creating a charity called Hope for Nicole and wrote the story in a novella. I started then to think about writing and advocating for others who had issues, both mid-life and middle income people after job loss. Due to that I created the Long Island Breakfast Club and mingled with like-minded people offering coaching, camaraderie and friendship to others. Having went on many interviews, it was evident that there was a barrier for all mid life people that were downsized. In the next ten years, I wrote a book called From Fired to Freedom, Life after the big bad boot gave me wings. That book was the impetus for me to create the Long Island Breakfast Club Talk Show.


Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.

How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?

In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life ” we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Valentina Janek.

Valentina is a social-preneur, networker, leader, media professional promoting paying it forward on Long Island working on different and unique projects. A very powerful and strong woman who believes in the good old fashioned back to basic principles of life. Her big world includes a plethora of wonderful family, a committed circle of friends, dedicated members of the Long Island Breakfast Club and Show and many writers who contributed their stories to her book


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Born and bread on Long Island, Italian Calabrese Descent. Family ties in Calabria, Italy. Family is the most important and most loving part of her childhood. Three sisters and one brothers living the good life on Long Island. Dancing School, Catholic School, Family, Friends and Local Involvement in Girl Scouts and Community in childhood.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Every day Get Up Get Dressed Show Up Never Give Up. At 50 years old, I lost a job in media, and had quite a difficult time landing a new career. Every day the lesson since losing the one job I loved, was to never leave all your eggs in one basket and always get up get dressed and show up. Always strive to be around people who are mentors, try new things and keep your mind open. Fear is good when you want to change careers and losing a job is sometimes a godsend to a new and exciting life.

You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

Currently, I have experienced having have been forced to change and keep an open mind. I learned how to never give up. My qualities are to be in the community helping others, and to speak to as many people as you can and be inquisitive to ask the hard questions, so that new doors will open.

After losing the job in media which I loved, I began to change my mind to do something different. As a volunteers I worked with people who taught me so very much. Meeting others who experienced job loss at 50, I started the Long Island Breakfast Club with comparing the experiences of others who were also unemployed and quite frankly realized I was very good at coaching others while I still looked for employment. The Long Island Breakfast Club became a Long Island Staple and is still going strong.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?

In my first chapter, I worked as a secretary first and then moved into marketing in the publishing arena. I did love my career and always worked in the community as an operational and marketing individual with some involvement with people places and company volunteering. I was always striving for more, but back in those years, it was difficult for women to move up, but I did and was extremely happy with event planning, marketing and traveling with a publishing environment.

And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?

In the second chapter, after being downsized at 50, I continued to do different things to learn. I met a mentor and worked on a novella about a short story called In Love and Friendship about two best friends a true story and an accident that occurred with a beautiful brown eyed adorable girl named Caputo. I assisted in creating a charity called Hope for Nicole and wrote the story in a novella. I started then to think about writing and advocating for others who had issues, both mid-life and middle income people after job loss. Due to that I created the Long Island Breakfast Club and mingled with like-minded people offering coaching, camaraderie and friendship to others. Having went on many interviews, it was evident that there was a barrier for all mid life people that were downsized. In the next ten years, I wrote a book called From Fired to Freedom, Life after the big bad boot gave me wings. That book was the impetus for me to create the Long Island Breakfast Club Talk Show.

Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?

Having went on 35 interviews and being old too smart too old and too expensive to hire gave me the trigger to go on my own and become my own entity and work as independent contractor. During the time of volunteering which became a very big part of my network, and teaching others to have the skills to write that book, I co founded the Long Island Writers Club. The word author adds to your business and you then become an expert. I continued to enhance others to get a trigger to write that book and helped many business owners and people to write that book. I realized I had the skillsets to do many things, teach, coach, mentor, and finally become a part of the editorial world in some ways.

What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?

I realized that I had the ability to talk the talk and walk the walk and started a show based on all the people I met. I became a socialpreneur which was a new skillset. From that skillset I began the podcast live show called the Long Island Breakfast Club Show.

How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.

The show is going very well, and it has become a huge part of my life. The show is part of a way to continue to help businesses, people, places and things on Long Island. A new way to market the show on Face book Live sharing the guests and friends all over to get acquainted with others that may become client in the future. It also gave me the ability to become a walking billboard of helping others and growing the value add of my reinvention every time I met a new person who I believed I could learn from.

Having the experience of working with so many people who were kind of depressed with not being able to get employed gave me the positivity to teach that they could and would change if the stepped out of their comfort zone. I would always say you can write that book, if I did you could.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Stephanie Larkin, Red Penguin Books was a huge part of my reinvention. She guided me on how to become a speaker after writing a book, and become a storyteller as well and be paid for your contributions to groups talks and organizations. I also did receive some positivity when I was asked to bring my expertise to a county position in government thinking that I would be set for my retirement, but after taking that on, I realized that if you want to get things done, government slows you down. After the program I instituted for a county role in government the slow pace of trying to get approvals was unbearable. Losing the grant for that position again I was downsized however sticking to the plan on my own was more rewarding than ever. As I speak today my plan is still working, with value add with many new initiatives and incentives to continue to add value to a plan that works in the community.

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