Back to School After 25 Years: Amazing Things Happen When You Make a Promise to Yourself
In June 2019, Elizabeth Kosich graduated a second time. After spending 25 years in marketing and branding, she went back to school to earn a certificate in Image Consulting from NYC's Fashion Institute of Technology. Kosich's new focus was a natural expansion of a longtime passion around fashion and branding.
What made you decide to go back to school? A couple years ago I signed up for a night class that piqued my interest at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology. For years I’ve pursued fashion design as a side hustle to a marketing & branding career and this was a class on how to flatter various body shapes. I was in the process of launching a clothing line that catered to women of every body shape, size and age, so enrolled in the class because it was relevant. My goal was to better understand my customer so I could design better product for her.
How did you find the program that you wanted to study? Everyone in the class was enrolled in FIT’s Image Consulting program because it was a pre-requisite. In fact, I was the only student not enrolled in the program which made me want to learn more. After doing the research, I discovered the training was the same as my natural talent for curating outfits that enhance personal attributes and minimize physical weaknesses. In other words, a degree in the science of looking good.
What did it feel like being back in school? I’m hard-wired as a learner and grower so the transition back to student was an easy one for me. Being back in school filled me with a sense of wonder and possibility of what could be, along with the excitement of newness and change. It was also a very empowering experience — I was ready for change so took the proactive measures necessary to pivot my career at midlife. Two years of night school and weekend classes while committed to a full-time job and two fashion lines took grit. I can’t say it was easy, but being my own advocate for positive change boosted my personal power. Amazing things happen when you make a promise to yourself, then do the work to deliver on it.
What was the biggest takeaway for you? I was reminded how much reinvention is key to thriving in life and work, and that adult learning is a critical piece to evolving that process. Change is part of life, so why not embrace it as personal growth? Being reflective, intentional and proactive about my reinvention at midlife has made for a richer human experience. If greater happiness is the prize, then taking a deep dive and doing the work is worth it.
How does your career path differ now compared to before? Not only have I completely changed the course of my future at midlife, I’m fully expressed as a creative, thriving as an entrepreneur and more fulfilled by purpose-driven work. Leaning in to my natural talents has allowed me to realign with my true self which comes with a sense of freedom I haven’t felt in years. And — let’s be honest — walking FIT’s graduation ceremony in my own dress design at 50 was a pretty major life moment for me.
Why are you more fulfilled? Finally, my skill-sets are culminating at once. Image Styling is the ultimate in personal branding and I can now harness my expertise as a brander, designer and stylist to help my clients reach their highest potential. Having this collective experience is both rare and valuable, and increases my competitive advantage at a time when we Gen-Xers feel Millennials nipping at our heels. Experience matters!
What is your purpose now? Helping women become the best version of themselves is my North Star. I’ve launched Elizabeth Kosich Styling to do just that, so now work with private clients to build powerful, authentic personal brands through wardrobe. The EveryBody Wrap® also serves women on this deeper level. The response has been overwhelming since its 2018 launch, which confirms women want flattering, supportive clothing with versatility that simplifies life. The EveryBody Wrap® is a fashion game changer and I remain deeply committed to spreading its message of empowerment far and wide.
What suggestions do you have for someone mid-career or beyond as they are considering a return to school? Effecting change for yourself is easier than you think. First, be open to seeing the many options available to you. Then find a starting point, commit to moving forward and embrace the unknown with gusto. Life is meant to be an adventure, so start living like it. Time whizzes by way too fast not to.
Link to article on Forbes here.