Women in Retail Leadership Circle’s newest report, The New Next Gen: The Women Who Have Transitioned Their Careers for a Successful Second Act, celebrates women who have reinvented themselves and their careers after the age of 40 and spotlights leaders who understand that age and experience can give you the confidence, skills and vision to create new opportunities. Here’s a look at what inspired a few of the women featured in the report to make a change later in their careers.

Lori Gildea, founder, ThePureBag, a manufacturer and seller of thoughtfully designed antimicrobial bags plus accessories for adventuring lifestyles
Throughout my professional pharma career, family life, and personal development, I’ve faced every challenge with a positive, focused, creative plan of action. I was on track, accomplished and fulfilled having served many roles in the pharmaceutical and medical device world, up to my last position as chief commercial officer … until I was struck by a devastating illness, most likely related to my work or personal fitness routine. My physicians have reason to believe that I tracked a germ home on my bag that I inadvertently transferred to my face via my hands. After months of illness and pain, with a string of inconclusive medical results, I had an epiphany: a bag designed to protect myself and others from the ever-present and invisible threats  of bacterial and microbial infections in the public domain. ThePureBag was born!

Wendy Herman, founder, BRABAR, an online bra shop offering bras, bralettes and underwear for teen girls, tweens and petite women
Passion is what inspired me to make this change in my career. My mother-daughter bra shopping trips with my teen daughter were certainly the impetus and inspiration to begin. I felt like I had a rare lens on this issue, and I hoped to make a difference. Coming of age opens floodgates of information and emotion for girls. Unrealistic expectations and social media are negatively impacting the psychological development of teen girls. Embarrassment about changing bodies and growing up escalates girls’ concerns about body image. BRABAR was born of a desire to educate teenage girls about fit and the importance of wearing the right size bra. We believe comfort is the foundation of confidence.

Sheilisa McNeal-Burgess, founder of Fria, a lifestyle brand committed to developing next generation, wearable cooling technology designed to address overheating during menopause
We all go through transitions, and mid-life is a huge one! When I first woke up with the idea of “cooling jewels,” I had no idea that it was going to be a life-changing endeavor. At the time I just wanted relief from the misery of hot flashes, and I wanted to create a beautiful, discreet way to address them without taking anything that was going to alter my biology and the natural progression of aging. I was inspired by a problem that needed a solution, and that solution could help the millions of other women who were also trying to manage the misery while still pursuing their life goals.

Rena Nathanson, CEO and co-inventor, Bananagrams, the game where letter tiles are used to create words as fast as possible
I didn’t set out to make a career change or to pick one particular career path; it just happened. A big part of our family life was playing games, and with a great idea, some luck, and lots of hard work, that passion became my professional calling. And to be honest, in addition to being a labor of love, Bananagrams was also born out of necessity, as my marriage had broken up and as a single mother, I desperately needed an income. Prior to inventing Bananagrams with my family, I was a bit of jack-of-all-trades; I did stints as a graphic designer, a picture framer, a gift shop and art gallery manager, and at one point was the head of a children’s charity.

Stephanie Stuckey, CEO, Stuckey’s Corp., a chain of roadside convenience stores that are found on highways throughout the United States
The chance to be part of reviving the road trip — there’s so much to discover about our country by taking the back roads and stopping at the fun places along the way. Stuckey’s is synonymous with the American road trip. It was the first roadside retail. We were a welcoming stop for traveling tourists even before the interstate highway system was created! My grandfather had such vision. But we sadly lost our way when Stuckey’s fell out of family hands for decades. Our brand was trashed and mismanaged by large corporations. Now I have the chance to bring back my family’s business — how often does that happen? This is such an incredible opportunity, not just for my family’s business, but to be part of something bigger, and that’s reviving the road trip.

In this report, you’ll learn more about the career journeys of these fabulous women, and many more! Be sure to download it here!