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Darling spoke to Kirsten about her professional journey and how she has been called an advert for inspiring midlife women. It is clear to see why Kirsten has enjoyed a successful career spanning three decades as a senior level Corporate Advisor. Her thoughtful and wise counsel is peppered with her humour and dynamism are perfect tools for helping you to live your best life after 50.

Kirsten is an independent board advisor, expert in C-suite business strategy and finance with 30-year career spanning private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, start-ups, fast growth companies and Fortune 50 institutions. She has deep advisory experience in business development and investment viability with specialist expertise in financial products and services. To this list, she now adds Entrepreneur and Blogger. 

Kirsten is a fervent supporter of midlife women to feel inspired to achieve their dreams and be their best selves. She’s a motivating example. After the age of 50, she started The Next Half. It’s no wonder her business is a roaring success after just four months. Join us for our conversation with Kirsten and learn how she combined her business expertise and her passion to help midlife women navigate The Next Half. 

Kirsten-Kulukundis-The-Next-Half-at Darling-Magazine-shoot-in her-garden
Kirsten in her garden. All photos by Jackie Rado Photography. Makeup by Rakhi Purohit.

The Next Half’s back story 

Kirsten explains: I believe in helping people feel inspired to move forward. I help midlife women build the confidence and courage they need to identify, pursue, and achieve their dreams. I have helped women to successfully step into their power through a unique combination of advisory and coaching services and through authoring The Next Half blog and podcasts. I feel passionately in the value of empowering inner-transformations and the importance of attaining goals for… The Next Half of our lives. Hence that’s the name. 

Strength, true grit, and opportunity, in my opinion, are the key ingredients needed for anyone to achieve the dreams that they envision for themselves. Midlife is the time to recentre, to take stock in where we are, what we have accomplished and what we still want to do, and then do it. We all have the power to remember, to re-spark, and to reach for our dream, sometimes we just need a little starter fluid. That’s where I come in. 

Midlife for some is a time to relax, take a foot off the accelerator, or perhaps pursue that long-planned adventure or hobby. However, for many of us, midlife is a time where we have a nagging, unmet thirst. We feel we have more to contribute, more that we were meant to do… and be. Whilst a lucky few in this “we can do more” group know what their calling is, for many of us figuring out this path is a difficult, and long journey. 

The Next Half’s business and growth plans 

I started The Next Half as a blog during lockdown to help women navigate the murky road of midlife and feel inspired to move forward to achieve their best life possible. It seems to resonate with many and has grown substantially. I now have subscribers in five continents, am a regular feature contributor to three e-magazines, have been appointed as Board Advisor to one media platform, and have grown The Next Half to include Corporate Advisory Services. 

“We all have the power to remember, to re-spark, and to reach for our dream, sometimes we just need a little starter fluid. That’s where I come in.”

Blog and Podcast 

The Next Half blogs discuss many topics facing midlife women whilst underpinning a message of positivity and inspiration. I want to inspire women to live their best lives after 50. Subjects we cover fall into the following categories: Well-Being, defined as both physical and mental health; Relationships, with your kids, partner, ageing parents and friends; Tech; Careers; Finance; and Musings, which are my commentaries of societal issues and trends we are facing. A common thread throughout all the blogs is a sense of empowerment and belonging to a community. 

My philosophy is we are all on this midlife journey so let’s be supportive. I believe fervently in the power of positivity, the importance of consistent focus towards a goal, “true grit”, and gratitude. These beliefs feature regularly in The Next Half blogs. 

I have the opportunity to be a small voice for midlife women and am determined to fulfil this duty to the best of my ability. I hope to share the message through the blog that with strength, encouragement, and some helpful tips, we can all identify the path to fulfil our dreams and rediscover our full potential. If you want to find a breath of fresh air, to reboot your mojo, to figure out your direction, or to feel more connected, then please join me on this journey. Together, let’s seize The Next Half. 

My journey 

I never planned to start a new career in my 50s. I’m an example that our journeys are circuitous and unpredictable, it’s never too late to achieve a dream, and our expertise and interests can align in an unforeseeable way. I can speak from experience that the unclear path many struggle through during midlife is indeed navigable. 

Journey 1 

My first journey in my career led me to a Fortune 50 Boardroom and then to an emergency room. 

My career highlights at this time included being trained and licensed across many financial products and services, graduating from Harvard Business School, training in Management Consulting, being appointed to run a business unit for a Fortune 50, and presenting to its Board. My career trajectory was clear, until suddenly it stopped. 

My son was in a horrendous accident caused by our nanny and faced, at best, years of surgeries and rehab. This happened my first week back at work. The guilt was crushing. 

I have met countless women whose career journeys have been interrupted by family misfortune. It’s interesting to me that one’s set journey – a path which has been built and focused on for a lifetime – can alter in a split second. I spent the next decade dedicated to ensuring our son would survive and thrive. I literally fell off the professional radar for the many ten years it took to rehabilitate our son, and then to recover to raise his siblings. 

Journey 2, 3 and 4 

When it was right to do so, I started another journey where I provided business advisory services to charities and SMEs focusing on services for children and women. I also began my focus on personal development counselling, an expertise honed as a business coach and mentor. 

I eventually looped back to the Corporate Finance world where I still counsel business leaders in start-ups, fast growth companies and established institutions on investment viability. It was in this capacity that I stumbled upon my “mid-life epiphany”. 

The Epiphany 

Over lockdown, I was advising a company on their investment viability over Zoom, when it became evident that the presenter needed some encouragement and coaching support. She was upset, lacking in confidence, and decided to just quit mid-presentation. She had what I thought was a strong business model. It was her sub-par confidence that was the hindrance. I wanted to encourage her so wrote supportive words in the Zoom Chat. When she finished her pitch, the Chat filled with messages of congratulations to and commiserations with her and appreciation to me.

It was then that I had my epiphany: Many of us lack the confidence to reach for our dreams. Whilst I can’t teach true grit, I can advise on courage and business skills. My 30 years of corporate advising, and experience as a mentor, coach and mother all collided. I found my next career and literally at that moment researched “Best, easiest websites for blogs” and started The Next Half. 



You may also enjoy reading https://darlingmagazine.co.uk/women-to-watch/supporting-small-ethical-brands-and-female-founders/


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