Now, Near, Next

A Practical Guide for Mid-Career Women to Move from Professional Serendipity to Intentional Advancement

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For some, mid-career feels like a merry-go-round. You start in your emerging career eager to jump on. You pick the pink pony and hold on tight. You might move to the purple pony during the first stop. Look, Mom, no hands! However, a few years later, you look up and are still belted in the same saddle, on the same ride, following behind a new group of riders, going in circles. You need a bigger amusement park and a more challenging ride! 

Now, Near, Next debunks the myth that putting your head down and working hard is the best way to realize your fullest potential. Energizing self-agency means taking control of your path ahead. Instead of conforming to social norms or other people’s expectations, you look forward with intentionality, action, and reflection. 

It is time to amplify your potential by making room for yourself, bringing forethought to your journey, and developing a roadmap to your Now, Near, Next.

Praise for Now, Near, Next

“In Now, Near, Next, Cynthia and Kimberly offer a transformative guide for mid-career women, blending practical strategies with personal narratives. From energizing self-agency to navigating life's unexpected turns, the book is full of practical wisdom, and proven strategies, serving as a blueprint for realizing a woman's true potential. A must-read!”

Jingjin Liu, CEO & Founder, ZaZaZu

“Cynthia brings new perspectives and makes you feel comfortable to share issues and thoughts—while guiding you to a level of self-awareness that creates aha moments for moving forward.”

Karel McIntosh, Executive Speaking Coach

Now, Near, Next is an incredible piece that empowers you to take your power back. I was taken aback by vignettes that bring to life the science of personal agency and its profound toll and impact on the lives of women. Cynthia and Kimberly do such a wonderful job of detailing pathways to overcoming the sometimes subconscious stumbling blocks that can make you feel limited. The book leaves you with a sense of ownership of your life. I'm energized by reading it. You will be, too!”

David Satchell, Air Force Command Chief Master Sergeant and author of Extracting the Leader from Within

Now, Near, Next comes at a time when taking control of our lives and maximizing self-agency is at the forefront of conversations surrounding careers and leadership. By distilling the complexities of what it means to put ourselves first—and tackling the internal and external barriers that hold us back—Cynthia Bentzen-Mercer and Kimberly Rath embody the future and want us all to come along with them.”

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 #1 Executive Coach and New York Times bestselling author of The Earned LifeTriggers, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“Cynthia and Kimberly have provided clarity on what it takes to stay energized not only in our careers, but in our lives. Through personal experiences and supporting data, they provide guidance and tools for successfully achieving one’s own ‘Near’ and ‘Next’  with zeal!”

Barbara C. Archer, MBA, CFP®, CLU®, AEP®, CPRC,
Partner, Hightower Wealth Advisors

“Meeting and working with Cynthia was an absolute game changer for me! She has been an integral part of my growth and development, and continues to have a lasting impact on every aspect of my professional life.

Cynthia is that rare leader and coach who inspires those she works with--not because of her own accomplishments (and there are many!), but because she has the ability to fully see, understand, and honor the person she is working with, identifying their visible and yet-to-be discovered/developed talents, skills, abilities, goals, and desires for the future and connect them with activities and opportunities which foster confidence and tremendous growth.

When Cynthia shared that she would be coaching others, I was thrilled--thrilled for those who would have the opportunity to work with this incredible woman. It is truly a gift that could change the trajectory of a person's life--it certainly did mine!”

Andrea Koch, Assistant Director, Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Inc.

“Kimberly Rath is a perfect blend of professionalism and genuine caring. Her detailed knowledge of Talent and Positive Organizational Scholarship has won her company raving fans worldwide.

I am fortunate to know her, and look forward to seeing many more innovative contributions she will make to the business world.”

Bryan K. Williams, Chief Service Officer, B. Williams Enterprise, LLC

“Kimberly and Cynthia have written a book filled with hard-earned leadership and career wisdom perfect for the woman leader who wants to get clear on the next steps in her career and be inspired to take intentional action. Reading this book felt like gaining secret access to years’ worth of mentoring sessions from proven leaders.”

Kelli Thompson, women’s leadership coach, speaker, and author of Closing the Confidence Gap

“Changing your life for the better isn’t always easy, and Now, Near, Next means never having to do it alone. There are stories of transformation that can motivate our own, and real-world advice from a diverse range of voices that is implementable for everyone. Sharp, necessary, and the world is ready.”

André Stewart, founder and CEO of InvestFar, Inc. and author of Epitome of The MInd

“Authors Cynthia Bentzen-Mercer and Kimberly Rath courageously confront age-old conditioning that has thwarted women’s progress throughout history: women must always be humble. The pervasive notion that women must keep their heads down and work hard has only served to propel the careers of their male peers, who instead are looking ahead and surging forward. Enter Now, Near, Next, a pragmatic guide that encourages women to reclaim their autonomy, unapologetically invest in their future and hype women to do the same.”

Erin Gallagher, CEO + Founder, Ella

“I’ve experienced the world-class vision and impact that [Kimberly] exudes. Her obvious intellect, experience and instinct for finding, positioning & retaining “talent” is inspiring. I have learned a great deal by going through the process myself!”

Kristin Joyce, Integrated Communications-Marketing Practitioner

“Accessing and tapping into our fullest potential is more essential than ever—but in this fast-moving world, it's also harder than ever. Now, Near, Next empowers us with the guidance we need and speaks to us in ways that are relatable, practical, and meaningful. While the book seeks to activate our self-agency, it also reminds us about the power of our relationships with others. As much about the present as it is about the future, there is a spot for it on every shelf, now and beyond.”

Lorraine Rise, founder and CEO of CareerUpRising and author of What You Didn't Learn in School

“As a mid-career woman, I found Cynthia and Kimberly’s book to be a refreshing invitation to focus on myself and seek opportunities to deepen my own self-understanding and intentionality around the dreams I have for my career. As a busy woman, it is easy for a day to turn to a week to turn to a season and year without asking or reflecting on my own direction. Reading Now, Near, Next is like a mini professional retreat to reset purpose, focus on a future and develop a plan that fits within the fullness of the vision I have for all facets of my professional life.

Jenna Speckart, D. Be. Vice President, Mission & Ethics, Mercy St. Louis 

“Cynthia is an astute coach that synthesizes information quickly and leverages it to enable progress. No matter who you are, Cynthia can find a way to help you.”

Ashley Keogh, Chief of Staff, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

“In Now, Near, Next, Dr. Cynthia Bentzen-Mercer and Kimberly Rath have managed to distill the wild alchemy of change and transition into an approachable (and far less overwhelming) way to embrace what’s around the corner for each of us. A book for anyone who’s sensed a shift is coming or needed, Now, Near, Next doesn’t just remind you that there’s “more”—it is a practical tool to help you pursue your biggest dreams in a thoughtful, curated and joyful way.”

Nina Blackshear, Principal, Nina Blackshear Coaching + Consulting

Now, Near, Next is the essential guidebook for women to recognize, articulate, and promote traditional and non-traditional skills to accelerate their careers. Successful leadership for the future of work requires empathy, communication, time management, negotiation, and an ability to make decisions and form consensus in the face of imperfect and incomplete information in a rapidly changing environment.”

Heather E. McGowan, Future of Work Keynote Speaker & Author
of The Adaptation Advantage + Empathy Advantage

“Timely, relevant, intensely personal and expertly written, this book serves as a modern day ‘GPS’ for women  (and men) who are willing to engage in career reinvention as a way of life. I am making this a must-read for my twin daughters and all the women I know as a guide to life beyond the corporate corridors.”

Reginald R. Mebane, Senior Executive Service (SES)

Meet Cynthia Bentzen-Mercer
& Kimberly K. Rath

Dr. Cynthia Bentzen-Mercer is a business executive, human capital strategist, author, and executive coach. Working from the time she was 14, her leadership journey began early.  A working mom and breadwinner serving in predominantly male-led industries, throughout most of her 30-year career she was the youngest and only female on the executive team. 

Navigating a progressive career as a chief executive in gaming, hospitality, and healthcare, while raising two children and pursuing advanced degrees, Cynthia has experienced the joys and challenges of trying to “have it all.” With deep appreciation for those who shined a light for her, and as a social psychologist with a passion to unleash human potential, she feels a personal responsibility to help women claim their agency and amplify their possibilities.

Kimberly Rath is a best-selling author and co-founder and co-chairman of Talent Plus®. An innovator and visionary, Kimberly has been at the forefront of thinking about talent her entire career, helping others discover and develop their unique strengths. Through her leadership at Talent Plus®, she has delivered tremendous outcomes for some of the world’s most well-known brands, including Estee Lauder, Delta Airlines, Ferragamo, The Ritz-Carlton, UCLA Health, Microsoft, and Montage International.

Kimberly is passionate about giving back, sitting on several boards, and supporting various foundations and professional organizations. Kimberly is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of Business Success Secrets.


For general inquiries, please contact the authors at

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