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Life Upgrades After 40: Madeleine Kovis

Madeleine holding a margarita

Madeleine Kovis is a driven and dynamic 41-year-old Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and mother of two, based in Santa Clarita, CA. She is also a fierce proponent of speaking your truth, knowing your worth, and lifting others up as you climb.

Ask questions of people who are doing the thing that fuels or excites them to understand how they figured it out, and how to follow suit.— Madeleine Kovis

What led you to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist?

Schedule, lifestyle, money, (not necessarily in this order). Knowing this would be a great back-up plan if I failed at pursuing my dreams.

Did you always know you wanted to do this?

Absolutely not! I knew I wanted to work closely with people, and to help them better their lives in some capacity. Initially, I thought I would go the psychologist/psychiatrist route. And I still want to do other things. I love to encourage and support others in feeling optimistic about their lives.

Who or what influenced you to follow this path?

My mother was an RN in labor and delivery, postpartum recovery, and nursery, but it was my father who suggested nursing because of its endless career opportunities and different career trajectories within the field. And, if need be, I could always go back to bedside nursing. There are so many specialties, and so many options in nursing.

Do you have any heroes or sources of inspiration?

I have a ton of heroes, but none in my profession. I have new sources of inspiration and heroes daily – non-famous people, even children. Many I don’t even know but I know that they are out there. I think less of the person and more of the circumstances. For example, when I feel overwhelmed and want to complain about being a working parent, I think of women who are single mothers working 2-3 jobs, being mom and dad. I’m inspired by my parents for all they’ve overcome and given to their children, starting as refugees and getting to where they are now. It’s iconic behavior.

But, I am really into and here for [Netflix CMO] Bozoma Saint John. She is living her best life urgently and unapologetically and helping people along the way. The epitome of lift as you climb. She is an ICON.

Madeleine at a party giving a toast

What has been the biggest change from 20-something to now when it comes to your career?

I have learned to follow what fuels me. To listen to my gut and trust my instincts. To take the leap and then figure it out. To know my worth. I no longer care to prioritize making other people money. Hopefully, within the next decade, I can pivot to a new career path that helps benefit society, particularly women, in a real tangible way while also staying true to the designs I have for my life. Honoring my dreams and ideas.

What do you do to stay motivated and inspired day to day?

Read, learn from others through social media, ask questions of people who are doing the thing that fuels or excites them to understand how they figured it out, and how to follow suit.

How would you describe yourself?

Relentless pursuer of (fill in the blanks). I’m always chasing the idea of contentment, whatever that means because it changes. I’m always pursuing enlightenment and emotional, physical, spiritual, and personal growth. I pursue money, because – as the song goes – it's expensive to be me [laughs]. But I also pursue money because of what it quite literally affords: opportunity, options, freedom.

Did the idea of aging or menopause ever scare you?

No, I didn’t really think about it very much. I thought of aging in terms of death. I thought about aging in the context of whether I was meeting my goals of marriage, kids, and career, and by what age I should be doing these things. Menopause only in terms of fertility. I think about symptoms, not the global “what menopause means” for women of a certain age.

In terms of physicality, I have never worried about “looking old” and getting older. I think we are blessed to take another trip around the sun while so many who may have passed before reaching 40 would have given anything to get older, get a few more gray hairs, or go through menopause. Getting older means we get a chance to live life! Also, I have a youthful appearance. My mother is 71 and doesn't have any wrinkles so, you know, genetics, right?

How do you approach aging?

Bring it on! I'm learning to listen to my body. I am moving my body way more than I did in my late 20s to late 30s. And it feels great. This past year I have really taken control of my health, and I have made tremendous strides. I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I’m investing more time and money on health, nutrition, and self-care, and I no longer feel guilty about it. I have a newfound interest in functional medicine, and how food is medicine. It’s important to invest in yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I am determined to prioritize all of that. I’m determined to take time for my wellness. I am passionate about others getting to that point as well.

How would you compare the you at 25 to the you now?

I have more confidence. I’m self-assured, less cautious, more decisive. I’m more proactive, less reactive, and learning to do what's best for me and my family. I’m less argumentative, but I will always speak my truth, addressing issues and concerns. I’m letting things go more easily.

What advice would you give to women in their 20s and 30s?

Enjoy your 20s! Try all the things and do everything you could possibly want to do without the added responsibility of marriage and kids. Learn about your finances, be financially literate, invest. Speak your truth, follow your gut, know your worth. Do the work. Prioritize your dreams. Get rid of any societal time constructs or deadlines for marriage or kids. Eat well, work out, ask questions, read more, grow. You define what happiness looks like. Love yourself and your body.

In your 30s, continue to know your worth, speak your truth, trust your gut. Rest, reassess or reset your priorities, work out, eat well, celebrate and uplift other women, as other women are not your competition. Celebrate the wins of others, lift as you climb. Become socially activated, invest in your community, speak up and out. Know that it's never too late to pivot in love, life, or career. Let go of guilt, love yourself, love your body, and find your tribe.

Devin Parr
Devin Parr is a leading personality in the wine industry. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Devin Parr & Associates, LLC, a PR, marketing and content agency in the beverage, travel and tourism space. She holds her Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma as well a certification in wine expertise from the Apicius International School of Hospitality in Florence, Italy. In 2017, she was named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine's Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers.

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