Next Chapter Launchpad


(8 ratings)


4 Weeks


Cohort-based Course

For ambitious people who want more mastery, autonomy and purpose from their work

Course overview

Engineer the work life that you want

Get the skills, frameworks and tools to engineer the work life that you want.

Challenge the beliefs holding you back, discover and quickly validate alternative paths, and build a support system to make it happen.

Is this you?


You're an aspiring founder, but you feel overwhelmed and need some structure, advice, a plan, and a nudge or two to finally take the leap.


You're doing the 9-to-5 right now, but you're looking for something more flexible and more rewarding, like freelancing or coaching.


You've been impacted by the recent tech lay-offs and see this as an opportunity to ask yourself: what do I really want to do next?

After this course, you'll...

Stop being complacent

You'll remember the way you are now is not the way you always were. There was a time you were happier and more energized by work.

Trust your own inner compass

You'll have pinned down what you're optimizing for now, paving the way for you to move forward with intention and make those hard trade-off decisions.

See possibility after possibility

You'll have dreamed big and let yourself go there in a way you never have. You'll have discovered things you've wanted at your core but never let yourself admit. And believe it or not, those possibilities will start to feel... not only possible but within reach.

Make decisions based on data, not fear

You'll have validated key assumptions and de-risked the path forward. You'll have a better sense of what you'll gain and what you'll forgo, and what that might mean for life outside of work.

Have a personal board of advisors

You'll have assembled a small but mighty board of people you can trust to be 100% in your corner, willing to be a sounding board, and also unafraid to call you out when you need it.

Have a plan and a system to follow through

Whatever you decide your next chapter should be, you'll have a direction, a step-by-step plan, a support system, and the momentum to see that plan through, with flying colors.

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Taking part in this launchpad is an investment in you. You're committing to finding a career path that is authentically you.

Meet your instructor

Maria Wang-Faulkner

Maria Wang-Faulkner

Entrepreneur, Mother of 2, Ex-Google, Career Coach, Design Thinker - aka ambitious person living authentically

In my 20 year career, I’ve alternated between two tracks. There was the high-paying, ‘safe’ track - being a corporate attorney, management consulting, and launching cutting-edge products at Google. And then there was the ‘high risk, high reward’ track - being a human rights advocate, global public health with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and founding several early-stage start-ups.

Two years ago, I knew that as rewarding as the first track was, the second was where I was meant to be. I left my high-paying job at Google to return to start-up life, and I haven’t looked back. Today, I'm the founder & CEO of my own VC-backed company. And I've grown more, learned more, and felt more alive in my last two years as a founder than in all my years working before that.

There are so many reasons to just stay the course – there's the worry about leaving behind a steady paycheck, the anxiety that comes from leaving behind a job that you thought was “the one” before you had it, and that voice that says "what if the next role isn't that great, anyway?"

Sometimes, the harder you worked to get your current job, or the more you've gotten used to the pay, the perks and/or the power, the harder it is for you to listen to that niggling feeling that maybe this job just isn't for you anymore. That’s only human.

I’ve experienced this niggling feeling firsthand, listened to it and acted on it - several times. And each time, I’ve landed on my feet, I’m more fulfilled than ever, and I’m not eating ramen every day. I know firsthand that taking the leap is worth it.

There are many alternate paths ahead of you, and I've had a mix of so many:

  • switching roles internally
  • founding my own venture-backed company
  • freelancing
  • coaching
  • teaching as an adjunct professor
  • starting an Amazon reseller business, and
  • other 'failed' start-ups and side hustles.

Whatever your path ends up looking like, I know from my own experience that you can find meaningful work, get paid, grow and do it on your terms.

If this sounds like what you're after, this course is for you.

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See what people are saying

        Maria’s coaching helped me to transition from the corporate world to a full-time freelancer. This freed me up to be a digital nomad, get published as a writer, and apply my skills as a land developer to eco-conscious, sustainable projects - all things I'd dreamt about doing for so long.
Deborah C.

Deborah C.

Escaped WeWork before stuff went down, now living in Mexico and building a healing center with her partner
        Maria trained everyone on my 200+ person team around giving and receiving feedback. It was probably the most miraculous training I've ever seen to change the behavior of an organization. Maria essentially gave everyone permission to provide honest feedback to each other. She reinforced the importance and power of adopting ideas from within.
Bonita S.

Bonita S.

Former VP at Google, now Board Partner at Gradient Ventures
        Maria is amazing. Her ability to impart actionable wisdom and inspire confidence is both hard earned and seemingly magical. I've never been so clear on how to make my dreams reality.
Paige K.

Paige K.

BizOps Lead, tech company
        This course has set the bar ridiculously high for any future courses on personal/career development. Maria has the rare 6th sense of knowing exactly the right questions to ask to challenge working assumptions and thoughts at crucial points during the messy process of actually uncovering what it is one is setting out to achieve.
Hannah B.

Hannah B.

Product Manager, a16z-backed start-up
        Maria's sincerity in meeting you exactly where you are and adapting to your current headspace is only possible because she has off the charts emotional intelligence. Her ability to vividly point to "walking the talk" in her own career journey grounds every conversation you have with her with incredible insight and richness.
Lauren S.

Lauren S.

TPM, biotech company
        Maria provides a level of insight & knowledge that is rare to find, combined with a diverse career background. And she packaged it into a unique course to help guide participants towards the career they dream about doing next. I highly recommend taking her class.
Derek A.

Derek A.

Software engineer, tech company
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Course outline

8 sessions over 4 weeks, 3 hours/week
  • 4-week cohort-based course

    Jan 26 - Feb 23, 2022

    Challenge the beliefs that are holding you back. Get clarity, firm up a direction, and formulate a concrete plan you're excited to make happen.

    This sprint includes 8 x 1-hour sessions. Most of the coursework happens in-session. You'll refine and gather data between sessions.

  • Session 1: Get in the mindset

    Thursday, Jan 26 - 5pm PT

    In this first session, I’ll lead you through some exercises to help you step out of inertia, and step into a mindset of agency and urgency.


    Deliverable: A commitment to yourself and to the others in the cohort.

  • Session 2: Audit your energy bank

    Monday, Jan 30 - 5pm PT

    In this module, I'll show you how to audit your career history, hobbies, life, family and social network, for credits and debits to your energy bank.


    Deliverable: A truthful, complete picture of “You at Your Best".

  • Session 3: Articulate your reason for being

    Thursday, Feb 2 - 5pm PT

    In this module, we'll name and stack rank your values so that you can move forward with clear-eyed intention and navigate trade-off decisions.


    Deliverable: Guiding principles you can count on one hand.

  • Session 4: Take 'but' out of the equation

    Monday, Feb 6 - 5pm PT

    In this module, we'll suspend all beliefs that don’t serve you and ask yourself: “what if?” Invent multiple alternate universe you's. I'll get you past your discomfort, so you can go wild and have fun with it.


    Deliverable: At least 3 alternate versions of what could go right.

  • Session 5: Befriend risk

    Thursday, Feb 9 - 5pm PT

    In this module, we'll unpack what risk means to you and reframe it to be empowering, rather than paralyzing. I'll show you how to calculate risk and reward - financial and non-financial.


    Deliverable: A risk/reward analysis - financial and non-financial.

  • Session 6: Assemble the board

    Monday, Feb 13 - 5pm PT

    "You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with." So we'll architect a process for being exposed, in the best possible way, to role models, trusted advisors and others living their best life.


    Deliverable: A personal board of directors & terms of engagement.

  • Session 7: Craft 12-week action plan

    Thursday, Feb 16 - 5pm PT

    In this module, I'll show you a framework for a 12-week Action Plan that you’ll construct and present at Demo Day so you have concrete next steps that you and the class will hold you accountable to.


    Deliverable: A 12-week action plan you'll have committed to.

  • Session 8: Demo Day

    Wednesday, Feb 22 - 5pm PT

    You'll each commit to making a decision or taking an action, and you'll present the 12-week Action Plan that you've crafted to see that through. Commitments made in public see better follow through and your peers can lend support.

  • Weekly office hours (optional)

    Every Tuesday - 5pm PT

    Drop into office hours with me for additional support if you hit roadblocks.

Sign up for a free workshop

Not ready to commit? Join me for a free workshop to preview what it's like to work with me.

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Learning is better with cohorts

Learning is better with cohorts

Active learning, not passive watching

This course builds on live workshops and hands-on projects

Interactive and project-based

You’ll be interacting with other learners through breakout rooms and project teams

Learn with a cohort of peers

Join a community of like-minded people who want to learn and grow alongside you

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I can’t make a live session?
I work full-time. What is the expected time commitment?
What’s the refund policy?
Can course fees be reimbursed by my company?
Do you offer scholarships or payment plans?
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