Pitching Dos & Don’ts

Helpful information to keep in mind when crafting your pitch.


When writing your pitch think about it as your personal “elevator pitch” tailored to the specifics of that particular role.



  • Say where you have worked and in what role as it relates to the specific job. Show off what you did that was successful for past clients/ employers.
  • Add in any relevant information that will make you stand out especially if you have personal experience /interest in the company.
  • Pitch for jobs that you want even if you don’t have every single requirement listed—if you ever have questions about this reach out to us!
  • Take time to carefully craft your pitch, check for typos and make it shine!



  • Cut and paste the same pitch for every job.
  • Put in personal information that is not relevant for the actual job.
  • Sell yourself short by pointing what you can’t do or what skills you don’t have.
  • Pitch on the fly without proof-reading.
  • Forget to use specifics ie: the name of past clients/employers, what your job was and how you rocked that job.


TAILOR YOUR PITCH: Questions to ask yourself as you write your pitch.

  • What about this company/position attracts you to this role?
  • What specific experience in your background qualifies you to this role? And where?
  • How do you see tackling this job and what makes you the perfect person to do it?
  • What skills/experience do you have, outside of what is on your resume, that makes you a good candidate for the role.

Pitch Perfect!


Pitch Perfect: How to put your best pitch forward is a new feature where we will pick a good example of a recent pitch from an anonymous member. Every month we will highlight a different pitch that shows the types of structure, detail and vibe that we believe show that member in the best possible light!  We don’t guarantee that she got the job… but we do think that there was something catchy and persuasive in her personal brand storytelling. We hope you enjoy and learn from these effective examples.


As a seasoned marketer with relevant experience, I believe I would be a perfect fit for the fractional CMO position at Fly Louie. I have a breadth of relevant corporate marketing experience at xxx, xxx and xxx in brand, product, customer acquisition/loyalty, and customer experience that has given me a solid foundation for developing strong marketing strategies. Specific to project requirements, I have experience in building loyalty plans. In addition, customer communications with clear product messaging has been a key role in all my positions. Also, I have strong project management skills and am good at working with internal cross-functional teams and external agencies that seems crucial to this position.


More recently, I have been consulting for a boutique creative agency in New York City that prides itself in disruptive creative storytelling and really turns brands into a lifestyle. We have worked with clients including xxx and xxx. As the agency’s strategist for these clients, part of my role has been to create customer personas and determine the best positioning to the various customer segments. I take a look into competitive and influential cultural/commerce trends to inform these personas and also help shape the creative campaign process and communications to clients.


With all the hassle associated with flying commercial airlines, I believe Fly Louie is offering a service that is very much desired and has huge opportunity to continue to increase routes. I would love to join the team at Fly Louie and together help unlock a fresh, new thinking that will have your company fly over the rest. Please let me know if there is any other information I can provide for you to make your decision. I look forward to hearing from you!


For more information about how to craft a great pitch read our do’s and don’ts:



Cate Luzio- founding a new path!

Cate Luzio, the extraordinary Founder and CEO of Luminary, can’t recall a time when she wasn’t passionate about empowering women. She ran several global women’s initiatives and events, mentored young women, and serves on the National Board for Girls Inc. But with the opening of her work/wellness/ collaboration hub Luminary, she has taken this passion and turned it into a mission, creating a dedicated space, and vast ecosystem, within which women can connect, support, uplift, and advance one another. Luminary’s tagline—We are in this together—comes directly out of Cate’s own playbook. It is our pleasure and privilege to shine a light on this bright light. Because, to quote Cate, “Real change can happen in the world when women work together on behalf of all women, raising each other up.”


Tell us the story of Luminary. When and how did the idea come to you? Was there an aha moment or something specific that precipitated its creation? And what was the turning point that enabled you to transform this vision into something tangible and real?


After almost two decades in banking and a successful career, I continued to notice the lack of senior women at the top. We read about it, we talk about it, we write and tweet and post about it. However, when I look around, we’re not only lacking women at the top, we lack women in the middle. How can we move the needle if we don’t have more women moving up? I felt a real passion for investing in talent in the organizations I worked for, but I felt like I wanted to do more and needed a bigger platform than one bank or one industry.


After a discussion with my (male) mentor in November 2017, he challenged me and asked, What do you really want to do with my career? I honestly couldn’t answer. I just figured this was it. But that conversation stuck with me. I couldn’t shake some of his comments about figuring out what I was passionate about. I left banking to figure it out and, three months later, I was writing a business plan for Luminary.


One of my strongest skill-sets is taking an existing idea or business, creating a better way of doing things and then executing. I’m a builder. While a great deal harder without the infrastructure of a big corporation, this project is similar. I started with writing a full business plan in March and we’re opening our doors in November. We worked extremely fast because 1) I know there’s a need for this space 2) I know how to execute. I have to credit my experience in banking and 20 years in corporate America for giving me the insight, tenacity and credibility to do this.


Throughout your career, your interest in connecting, supporting, and promoting women has been a recurrent theme. Where does this passion come from? And how do you think women can change the workforce for one another in the years ahead?


I learned at an early age to help others. My parents raised me to stand up for myself and those around me, to do the right thing. Over the years, I received a lot of support from many of the men around me but rarely women, partly because there weren’t that many in banking above me. As my career accelerated, I was very aware of helping others, investing in people and working with them in any way possible – 1:1s, roundtables, speed mentoring, etc. but how many times have you been asked or have asked to have a coffee with someone for career advice? We can fill our calendars with these meetings. I believe there is a better, more efficient, and impactful way to get good advice and build relationships. How can we broaden the impact? That’s the challenge Luminary is trying to solve.


We need ways to get more women into top jobs but in order to do that we need to develop the pipeline in our workforce, specifically women. And we need to commit to helping each other get there. Attracting, retaining, and promoting women is a huge need for so many companies, large and small, and commitment to helping each other is critical – raising each other up. Connectivity amongst one another is paramount, developing a broad network of support. We should be confident in competing and driving for success, but we also need real collaboration. Let’s focus on inspiring each other.



You’ve had wonderful male mentors and bosses, and also those who led you to second guess your worth. Can you share a little bit about all this and what role Luminary has carved out for men?


I’ve had some amazing male mentors (in fact almost all of them), managers, and peers. Throughout my career they have supported me, provided guidance and opportunities. Every single job I was recruited for came from a man. They are a big part of our journey, career influencers, and half of the workforce. They need to be at the table with us, helping to promote gender parity and pay equality. The statistics show that the number of women at the top won’t change or improve without men’s support.


But I have known many men who made me second guess myself, too. Or tried to diminish who I was or my performance. One of my former managers actually told me (a few times) that I did too much, that others couldn’t keep up. He said Cate, you go 100 miles per hour. Not everyone can keep up with the way you work. We need you to go 50 mph here. That’s our speed. Basically, he meant ‘slow down’ so I didn’t outshine him or others. I should have realized then it wasn’t the environment or culture for me to develop and succeed.


Knowing the positive and negative, I wanted to promote working with men while also having a space dedicated to advancing women; although Luminary is focused on female members, we want to include men in various programming, events, workshops and more. We work with men and we need to keep working with them. We’ve developed Luminary in a way that is safe and secure and for women but doesn’t exclude men, particularly for select events but also for meetings. We have private meeting rooms that are for “co-ed usage” should one of our Members want to bring a male in for a meeting or one of our Corporate Members has an offsite or team meeting where they want men to attend. It’s our way of being female-centric but also being pragmatic.


What advice would you give to other women about valuing themselves? On getting pay commensurate with performance? On promoting themselves? Are there common pitfalls you’ve observed? And what’s the antidote?


Be yourself. Stay true to who you are and stand up for yourself, ask for the new job/role, for the raise or promotion or flexible work. You have to ask for what you want but you have to demonstrate why it should be yours. I’ve always worked hard, and then worked harder. And don’t give up. When I was little, growing up with two brothers, my dad told me early on that if I fell down (or was pushed), I had to get back up and walk it off. Get back out there and give it everything I’ve got. I live that every single day.


As far as pitfalls, I think it’s the same old lack of confidence, feeling like you need to check every single box before you go after that new job or role, or falling victim to playing politics. I’ve always tried to let my work speak for itself. As my career accelerated, I believed if I was good enough, I wouldn’t have to play the game. We’re constantly coerced into playing the game, so it’s hard not to join. As a woman, there is heavy competition with men but there seems to be an even bigger competition with women, mainly because there are fewer of them. What do you think those younger women looking to us for guidance see when they look up? If they can’t see it, they can’t be it. They need to see female role models.


Women are constantly pitted against one another and part of what we must do is to stop allowing and engaging in this behavior; and yet, almost every question/comment I get is about the other women’s businesses I’m competing with and how will I “win.” Why? Well, it’s easier to foster competition than collaboration. But can’t I just support those women and what they’re building without explaining how I’m better? I’m giving it my all to foster an environment that encourages women, not hinders. There is room at the table for all of us. Let’s avoid this pitfall or at least narrow the gap!


Lastly, not every woman is an entrepreneur or freelancer. What are ways we can support entrepreneurs and freelancers, but also women who are still in the traditional workforce? And women who are looking to transition from one kind of work to the other?


Whether small or large, we need to build communities made up of female leaders of all ages whilst empowering all of us to make informed decisions to build our very best personal and professional lives. Taking a leap into entrepreneurship or a new role or just trying to advance your career is definitely difficult; there are so many factors against you. However, regret is far worse. Get in the driver’s seat and take control. Invest in yourself and the other women around you. Work together to support, inspire, and help one another. Focus on collaboration over competition. Raise each other up. Both women AND men. Let’s surround ourselves with luminaries of all kinds.


Come check out Luminary and meet Cate in person on Dec 12th at our event with celebrity divorce attorney/ founder of It’s Over Easy Laura Wasser 9-11 am. Register here and bring friends!

Featured Member- Avery Blank

For this featured member, impact strategist Avery Blank, the biggest risk imaginable is missing out on an opportunity. A self-proclaimed “bulldog ballerina,” she is fearless and driven, elegant and persevering,  a solid example of how to chart one’s career with passion and integrity, how to work for a client or company without getting worked over. The scope of her experience speaks as much to her talent as it does to her insatiable curiosity. We are so excited to introduce you to her here.


Tell us your work story : Who are you and what do you do? 

I help organizations advocate and strategically position themselves for opportunities. I am a Contributor with Forbes and the World Economic Forum, as well as an advisor to The Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment? 

Taking control of my career and steering it in a direction where I could leverage my legal training and combine it with my passion for strategy, leadership, and women’s issues.

What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work wise? 

Owning my integrity and saying “no” to people in power about things I felt were inappropriate.

What advice do you have for other women who are looking to make a career change but are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side?
“Risk is losing the opportunity, not failing in the attempt.” This is the mantra by which I live my life. Rethink risk. The risk may be greater in staying put than making the change that you want. You know more than you think. And you are smart enough to figure out what you don’t know.

Do you have any advice on how to craft a winning pitch?
Learn as much as you can about the organization (potential client) to identify their challenges and priorities and be able to address them.

What continues to draw you to your chosen field and what do you hope to accomplish in the years ahead?

One of my core beliefs is fairness. This is what energizes me to support women in male-dominated professions and organizations that are committed to the advancement of women.

If you could tell your younger self one thing about what this professional journey would be like, what would you tell her?

“Your degree does not define you, it enables you.”

What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

Focus on them, not you. Think about how you can add value to the client, user, or customer.
How do you make work work for you?

Doing work that I am passionate about.

Do you want to be a Second Shift Featured Member? Submit your photo and fill out the questionnaire today!


Hide Your Phone When You’re Trying to Work

I checked my phone 2x during the time it took me to read this NYTimes article about how your phone is cognitively distracting you from working. The article references a study from 2017 that shows, “mere presence of your phone — even if it’s powered off, and even if you’re actively and successfully ignoring it — “reduces available cognitive capacity,” which the study’s authors call “brain drain.”


As our phones become our clocks, schedulers, weight trackers, family managers it is harder than ever to truly disconnect. In fact, the author actually went to the lengths of locking his phone in a drawer so he would not be distracted from his task. What can we do to help ourselves focus and work more productively?


  • Awareness: realize that your phone is designed to distract you and is calling to you. If you know this you can fight it the urge to check more easily.
  • Lock it away– leave your phone somewhere else for a set period of time that you will work uninterrupted and don’t sneak! It can take a half hour to get your concentration back once broken.
  • Don’t bring phones to meetings. Even if it is turned over on your desk it is still there chirping and buzzing away. If possible take notes longhand and leave your laptop on your desk.


Okay, sounds good right? Easier said than done but it’s a good place to start. Oh, and don’t forget to take off that watch!

Meet Super Woman/Lawyer/ Entrepreneur Laura Wasser!

Laura Wasser is most often referred to as LA celebrity divorce attorney with clients like Angelina Jolie, Maria Shriver and Britney Spears; she is one of the most powerful matrimonial attorneys in the country. These days Laura is also trying on a new role, entrepreneur, as the founder of It’s Over Easy, an online marriage dissolution tool that takes her knowledge and experience and democratizes it for anyone to use. Laura will be joining our founders, Jenny and Gina,  for a talk on Dec 12th in NYC (info at the bottom) – in the meantime, we have a lot to learn about career and finances from someone who has seen the mistakes women make and how to avoid them.


You are a high profile divorce attorney charging big bucks— where did your entrepreneurial spirit come from?


I’m not certain that I actually have an entrepreneurial spirit. I am and have always been, a problem solver. This serves me (and our clients) well in my private Family Law practice as the more efficiently conflict is resolved, the less acrimonious and costly the dispute will be.  After about 20 years of working in this field, it became clear to me that a larger overarching problem to be dealt with is how divorce is perceived and approached. Our system is broken and as parents, couples and humans, in general, we cannot put our fates into the hands of others when we are or could be equipped to amicably and cost-effectively resolve issues near and dear to us on our own. I want to change the face of divorce. If my startup can do that, I guess I’ll embrace my entrepreneurial spirit!


How has the transition from a full-time lawyer to the owner of a tech-enabled business platform been? The transition has been awesome! I love this new world and the possibilities it holds. Marrying (excuse the pun) my knowledge of the Family Law field with the needs of a wider user base is really exhilarating. Educating families as to how they really can do things better is gratifying and I am passionate about it.


What are the top 3 questions you get from your female clients worried about divorce and starting over?


-Will my kids be ok?

-Will I be ok?

-How long will it take to get to a new normal?


Money is obviously a huge part of splitting up— what should women know about their finances that they don’t? What mistakes do they make in the negotiation process? How should they think about the next phase when they are a single parent?


Often women do not know enough about finances at all. What the family makes, spends, owns and owes are items that we should all check into now and again. One of the bright spots about divorce is that we have access to all of this information and are unlikely to ever live in the dark again once we have gone through it. A big mistake in the negotiation process is not seeing things from the perspective of the other person. As insecure as you are about finances he may be about custody (and vice versa). Think about who this person is on the other side of the table. It’s likely you know them better than anyone. How can this be used to your advantage?


For women out of the workforce or not the breadwinner, getting a job to support their families is a necessity, yet the demands of being a single parent vs the price of childcare make navigating that divide tricky? What have you seen as a successful path?


Get a job! It is an amazing opportunity to recreate yourself outside of your home/comfort zone. The first six-twelve month period may be tough but once you have gotten into your groove and made yourself indispensable you will likely earn more and the child care balance will make more financial sense. Also, it takes a village. Don’t be afraid to ask friend or family for help. Then, reciprocate!


You are a single mother of two— how do you make work work for you??


You have to try to find a balance. Kids are super adaptable, particularly those of working moms. Sometimes it works seamlessly, sometimes it is a disaster. There is an excellent Ralph Waldo Emerson quote which I often cite:


“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”


That and a lovely glass of wine usually helps at the end of one of the crappy days.


Come hear Laura speak live on this topic and more at our NYC area member event– 12/12 at Luminary. Register here to join us. We will be live streaming on Instagram if you are not in NYC. We will be live 9:30-10:30! Join us!

Featured Member Monday! Meet Lidia Varesco Racoma

There is a calm, collected steadiness to Lidia Varesco Racoma’s work worldview that’s impossible not to admire; a steadfast commitment to taking the long-term approach to building a professional life, brick by brick by brick. This kind of perseverance surely accounts, at least in part, for her extraordinary longevity in an ever-changing field, as this year she’ll celebrate being in business for eighteen years. Let the festivities begin here!


Tell us your work story: Who are you and what do you do?


I empower organizations and entrepreneurs to make a change. I create branding and marketing design that is targeted and content-driven.


What is your proudest professional accomplishment?


Being in business for almost 18 years (this year).


What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise?


Deciding to focus on a single niche for my business, rather than being more of a generalist. It’s a little scary to potentially turn down work, but I know focusing will help me be stronger in that area.


If you could change one thing about how your given field operates, particularly with regards to women, what would it be, and why?


I want to eliminate the stigma that designers—and especially women—shouldn’t earn as much as other industries (or that we should give away our work for free or at a discount).


What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side?


I can speak to working moms and say: your working world will be turned upside down when the baby arrives. But with patience and support from fellow working moms, you will make it—and even become inspired along the way.


Do you have any advice on how to craft a winning pitch?


Short, specific and friendly/personal.


What continues to draw you to your chosen field and what do you hope to accomplish in the years ahead?


I want to bring more awareness to branding and how it can positively affect an organization or business. And I want to make branding accessible to everyone, not just larger organizations.


What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?


Ask for help.


Who has been your biggest cheerleader // supporter // mentor? (We love to spread the love here at The Second Shift!)


My dad—also a small business owner—has been a mentor and positive influence since I started my business in 2000 (on his birthday, by the way).


How do negotiate the balance between life and work when you are the one setting the boundaries?


I have fairly set working hours due to childcare and school pickups, so I have to be efficient and focused during my workday (i.e. social media only during lunch breaks) and I try to be present for my family in the evenings (i.e. minimal work time or phone usage until after bedtime).


If you could tell your younger self one thing about what this professional journey would be like, what would you tell her?

Don’t rush, you’ll get there!


How do you make work work for you?


I have my own branding and marketing design studio, but I also take on contract, short-term or PT jobs as my schedule and workload allows—both for steady cash flow, as well as variety and learning opportunities.


Check out Lidia’s work http://facebook.com/lsvdesign and if you know someone who should be a part of the Second Shift member community please reach out to us at members@thesecondshift.com today!

Mind the Gap

There is a really interesting article in Fortune about why the pay gap persists in lucrative fields where with plentiful female talent. For example:


“The difference is even more pronounced for financial managers, where there’s a 35% gap. And in the legal field, the average salary for men is $140,270—a full 24% more than the $106,837 women earn.“


Why? We know why:


-sexism and discrimination

-women having children during the most demanding years to get ahead

-women taking lower paying less high-profile jobs to juggle career and family

-women negotiating poorly for themselves


What is interesting is seeing what is being done about it, not enough!


-many tech firms doing yearly salary audits and leveling up gender pay inequity

-pay equity laws in 40 states

-20 states do not allow employers to ask salary history


With 100 women in Congress in 2019 it will be exciting to see if more female/ family friendly legislation is passed. in the meantime, we encourage employers to learn about how The Second Shift can help you retain and attract critical, mid-career professional women to #superchargeyourwork.


Reach out to info@thesecondshift.com

Tech Bridging the Equality Gap

How is technology keeping women in the workforce? Second Shift member Marie Thomasson outlines how she is able to use key tech products to work for Microsoft and others remotely and productively in the newest issue of Techonomy magazine.


Whether you are video conferencing or sharing files through the cloud, there are myriad ways for hiring managers to think outside the box and hire top level women for remote work–that’s where The Second Shift comes in:


“Thomasson also relies on technology to find compelling work opportunities like this one. She connected with Microsoft on The Second Shift, our online marketplace of expert women interested in on-demand projects. By choosing to forgo upfront fees for members and companies, and instead screening experts and opportunities our service is home to a range of curated talent and projects across disciplines. It helps makes freelancing viable for women like Thomasson.”


Want to #makeworkworkforyou? Sign up for The Second Shift! Want to #superchargeyourwork? Post a job today!

Year of the Woman!

2018 has been dubbed the Year of the Woman and the results of the midterm elections certainly back up the title! What a thrill to wake up to see the historic election results: 

– A record 117 women were elected to office

– 42 are women of color and 3 are LGBTQ

-The first Native American and Muslim woman will serve in Congress

It will be interesting to see what happens in the national government when there are more women calling the shots. What do we hope for at The Second Shift– a focus on parental leave, universal pre-k, childcare subsidies– the building blocks that help working women remain engaged in the workforce because work = empowerment! It’s time to shift things forward for all women and #makeworkworkforyou. 

In the words of Ayanna Pressley, the first African- American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress: 

“When it comes to women of color candidates, folks don’t just talk about a glass ceiling; what they describe is a concrete one. But you know what breaks through concrete? Seismic shifts.” 

Photo: @morganpansing @voteyourchange @sarilehrer