Second Act Stories

Second Act Stories

Welcome to Second Act Stories, a podcast focused on life and career change. In each episode, we bring you the story of a courageous individual who has made a decisive career pivot and is pursuing a more rewarding life in a second act. The stories are in their own words and the words of friends and family that helped them find a new path. Each episode examines the “before” and “after” phases of a life or career relaunch and offers lessons learned.... Show More

Episodes

Over the course of the past two years, we’ve interviewed quite a few lawyers. Mark Salvacion was a corporate lawyer who found a more fulfilling life as a Methodist minister. Richard Turner was a trial attorney who found a path to becoming a very successful nature photographer. Michael Lowe left the law to start a Washington, DC gin distillery with his son-in-law. And Amy Yontef-McGrath was a former lawyer who experimented with 50 p...

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Barbara Brooks and Guadalupe Hirt are two, talented women based in Denver, Colorado. Both have entrepreneurial backgrounds but had the same plan as they approached their 50s: Get a stable, corporate job...Enjoy solid health benefits....And put away some retirement funds. But like many older workers they hit a brick wall called ageism.

After dozens of resume submissions and almost no interviews, they took a different direction. Barb...

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Mary Robinson was just 14 when she lost her father. Throughout high school, college and her 20s, that grief stayed bottled up inside her. A therapist helped her get her life together by helping her share her story.

She landed a corporate job with Prudential Financial working in their information technology department and eventually running the company's volunteer programs. But after fourteen years, she concluded she was a "...

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Expert estimates predict the U.S. unemployment rate could rise from anywhere from 10% - 32% in 2020. Whatever the final number, that represents millions of individuals who will be unexpectedly looking for work. As Americans struggle to find new positions, it may be the right time to ask "Is It Time For My Second Act?"

For perspective on this challenge as the world wrestles with the COVID-19 Crisis, we turned to two of the n...

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Since his junior year in high school, Chris Donovan has been sketching women’s shoes. It’s been his quiet obsession for the past 30+ years.

At the age of 50, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And he knew it was time to leave his safe job at the phone company to pursue his lifelong dream. “I need to follow this. I need to find out why I have this passion for shoes.”

Based on the recommendation of European shoe designer Aki ...

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The majority of Peace Corps volunteers are idealistic, recent college graduates looking to make a difference in the world. But David Jarmul and his wife Champa are different. They joined the Peace Corps together in May 2016. Both were 63 years old.

David had been serving as the Associate Vice President of News and Communications for Duke University for 14 years. Champa was employed as a sonographer/ultrasound technician. For David,...

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Kathy and Gary Friedle and their two boys lived in New York City. Both had high-powered jobs – Kathy as an architect and Gary as an asset manager in a financial management firm. They worked long hours and increasingly felt they were on a treadmill that kept moving faster and faster. They dreamed of one day retiring and opening up a bed and breakfast.

But rather than waiting until their sixties they decided to make a move at 45. The...

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Steve Javie worked as an NBA referee for 25 years. He officiated nearly 1,500 games including 20 NBA finals. He was widely regarded as one of the best referees in the league.

But in his 24th year in the league, his knee started to give out. He returned for one final season – his 25th year -- but  that was it.

Steve is a religious man and after his basketball career, he asked God to help guide him. And that led him to the St. Charle...

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Paul Giannone (known to all as “Paulie Gee”) grew up in Brooklyn, NY but moved to New Jersey as an adult. For most of his professional career he worked with AT&T and their subsidiaries as an information technology staffer and eventually a consultant. And candidly he never liked the work – he never felt he was very good at it either. But he needed to support his family so he stuck it out.

While he didn’t love his work, he loved ...

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Zammy Migdal arrived in the United States from Israel in his early 20s. He studied hospitality in college and built a career in Miami’s hotel industry. And at a fairly young age he launched an art-deco, boutique hotel in South Beach called the Indian Creek Hotel. He operated it with great success for nearly two decades.

But the September 11th attack had a devastating impact on Miami's hotel industry. And the growth of the inter...

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As we start the new year, we're pleased to share the episode named by Second Act Stories listeners as the "Best of 2019."

Most of America already knows Kyle Merker. The Ancestry.com commercial where he “trades in his lederhosen for a kilt” has aired 22,000 times on broadcast television.

Kyle filmed the Ancestry commercial at the age of 53. And the experience sparked an old passion that encouraged him to pursue acting af...

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Arthur and Phil have been together for 20 years as a committed couple. Both had long careers as lawyers. Phil worked for 30 years as an in-house corporate lawyer for a large insurance company. Arthur concluded his legal career as the Dean of Students at New York University Law School.

They retired in their mid-50s and have followed a wide range of passions: art, music and travel. But at the top of the list is yoga instruction. They...

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Today’s story goes back 181 years to 1838. That’s when 272 men, women, and children were sold by an order of Jesuit priests and the proceeds of the sale was used to pay the debts of Georgetown College, now Georgetown University. The slaves had lived on plantations belonging to the Jesuits in Maryland. They were put on a boat and moved to their new owners in Louisiana.

Melisande Short-Columbe is a descendant of this group known as t...

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Michael Lowe was a corporate lawyer in Washington DC. When he left Verizon’s legal department at the age of 59, he started doing yoga five days a week and reading like a fiend. But his wife was still working. And he was getting bored puttering around the house.

So what did he do? Michael launched Washington's first distillery in 100 years and started making “Green Hat Gin” with his son-in-law John Uselton.

Their success is very...

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Venetia Clark loved her job as a Walgreens' pharmacist for 30 years.

But as she approached 55 years of age, she had the opportunity to take advantage of an early retirement program with some significant financial benefits. And she also spent quality time with her 91-year-old father who was in the final year of his life. It caused her to conclude it was time for a change. A love of travel and the encouragement of two flight atte...

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Marc Miller has changed career paths a total of seven times. But after suffering a near fatal bike accident, he switched gears – no pun intended – and focused his talents on counseling friends and associates on their career journeys. And he realized that he had found his true calling.

From there, he wrote a powerful book called “Repurpose Your Career” that is now in its third edition…He launched the “Repurpose Your Career” podcast ...

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Shila Desai’s life has an intriguing and international timeline. She is of Indian descent – with her grandparents coming from the country’s Gujarat province. But she was born in Kenya and grew up there. She got her professional degree in the United Kingdom. And at the age of 24, Shila relocated to Canada where she spent most of her adult life.

She arrived in Canada and didn’t know a soul. She met her future husband in the first few...

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Ruth Lavigne grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father was a doctor (a radiologist) and she used to fill-in the date on patient sheets when her dad reviewed their films at home. As Ruth followed her father around his hospital, she always thought "that will be me someday."

She ended up studying French in college and then business in graduate school. After marrying, starting a family and relocating to California, she found hers...

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Jim Owen is 78 years old and he is in awesome shape. He works out regularly and part of his routine is doing three sets of 50 push-ups. That’s pretty amazing for a man of his age.

But for most of his life he was a self-described, "certified couch potato." On his 70th birthday, his life changed when he watched a video of himself going on stage to give a speech. "My shoulders were hunched over. My knees were shot, so I wa...

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Russell Abbott spent most of his career on Wall Street working in the management of hedge funds. About two years ago, he transitioned to working for a non-profit based in Brooklyn, New York called Extreme Kids and Crew. The organization is a community center where children with disabilities and their families can socialize, create and play. He’s a whole lot happier in the new job.

Russell was first introduced to Extreme Kids and Cr...

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