My What If Year: A Discussion with Alisha Fernandez Miranda


Did we miss a fork in the road somewhere? What if our lives are going just fine, but we still want to hunt for the pieces of ourselves we’ve dropped along the way? Is it too late to claim more for ourselves?

CEO and author Alisha Fernandez Miranda joins us to talk about what she gained by loosening her grip on deliverables, deadlines, and external affirmations of success. In this episode we explore the value of internships, mishaps, and what it means to trust in your dreams and in yourself.

Today’s book is: My What If Year (Zibby Books, 2023) a memoir by Alisha Fernandez Miranda, about pausing her career to take four internships in three different countries, and finally explore the “What If” of her once-discarded—but still very real—dreams. With the tentative blessing of her husband, her parents, and her kids, she spent one year asking “What if?” and getting far more answers to that question than she ever expected. In My What If Year, she begins to question if exhaustion is a reasonable price to pay for anything, why she was so afraid of failure, and what success could look like on her own terms. For anyone who’s ever felt stuck, My What If Year proposes that it’s not too late to look for roads untraveled.

Today’s guest is: Alisha Fernandez Miranda, who is a graduate of Harvard, and the London School of Economics. She is the author of My What If Year, and the co-author of 50 Years: Kinloch Lodge. She is the ex-CEO and current Chair at I.G. Advisors, and is the host of Quit Your Day Job, a podcast that takes you behind the scenes of your dream jobs. Alisha is a Cuban-American, born and raised in Miami, and has spent her adult life in New York and London; she is currently based in Scotland. She speaks and writes regularly on women’s empowerment, social impact and sustainability. Her writing has been published in Vogue, Romper, The Good Trade, Insider and more.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who is a freelance book editor. She has served as content director and producer of the Academic Life podcast since she launched it in 2020. The Academic Life is proud to be an academic partner of the New Books Network.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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