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.

Episodes

May 13, 2022 20 min

Adam Simon was a partner in Echo Street Capital Management, a successful hedge fund in New York City. While he enjoyed the challenge of the work and it's financial rewards, the demanding 80+ hour per week schedule was wreaking havoc on his personal life. So in 2017,he quit and focused his attention on reconnecting with his family.

As the Covid-19 crisis began, Adam, his wife and their two children headed to a safer location...

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Referring to someone as a rock star usually means they’re excellent at what they do. Dave “The Beast” Spitz is a rock star lawyer in south Florida. Sure, he’s a really good lawyer, but he’s also an actual rock star. Prior to going to law school in 1996, Dave played bass for the legendary band that invented heavy metal: Black Sabbath.

His journey through the music industry also included playing with other well-known bands including ...

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Arrelious Benn was a star football player at Dunbar Senior High School (Washington, DC) and the University of Illinois. He entered the NFL draft after his junior year in college and was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His NFL career with Tampa Bay, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars spanned seven years, twice the league average. But it is also included two ACL tears, a fractured lumbar and a shattered collar...

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Leah Gorham spent 16 years working as a nurse, helping patients while she also helped an industry known for a shortage of talent. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced and spread, causing workloads and stress levels to skyrocket for first responders, Leah took it in stride.

Although healthcare workers were widely recognized for being profoundly affected by the pandemic, it wasn’t until she was attacked by a patient in what she cal...

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Chih Lin and Mike Dorsey were trained as engineers and worked in the oil & gas industry in Houston, Texas. But both were miserable at work and decided they needed to make a change.

They launched a company called “Dumpling Dudez” and turned their attention to teaching small groups of people the art of dumpling-making. They started in April, 2019 and had a successful launch. And when Covid-19 shut down their in-person classes, th...

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Anna Vocino has an impressive IMDb resume dotted with comedic acting roles, sketch comedy appearances on shows including the Lance Krall Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live, and professional narration work for a number of TV series and documentaries. She has risen to the top of the voiceover industry, lending her vocal skills to an endless array of video games and TV commercials, and she’s even the female voice of the NBC television network...

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Josh Cohn worked as top, derivatives lawyer for a series of well-respected, law firms. He commuted by train to New York City everyday from the affluent suburb of Rye, NY. But at the age of 66, he was increasingly bored with the work and planned to retire from the legal field.

He came home one night, cracked open a beer and ended up watching a city council meeting on a local, cable-access channel. That's when he became aware of ...

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George Taylor built a career as a serial tech entrepreneur, launching, growing and exiting from nine different companies. Five years ago, after settling in Wilmington, North Carolina, George was working at his latest tech startup, when a nearby gang-related drive-by shooting shook him to his core. George was "pissed off" that such violence existed in this idyllic seaside town and he vowed to do something to help.

After meet...

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David Bowers worked as a salesman for the Columbia Rubber Company for 39 years. He spent his professional life selling conveyer belt hoses to quarries and heavy machinery operations. But since the age of ten, he always had a fascination with the world of magic.

For a 50th birthday celebration, his wife Judy hired a professional magician. And at the end of his performance, he pulled David aside and said: "I hear you're inter...

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As we start the new year, we’re pleased to share the episode named the "Best Of 2021." The episode features the amazing Anne Moss Rogers and is titled "Pain Turns To Purpose: A Suicide, A Mother's Grief And A Second Act." It is among the most inspiring tales we've shared since starting Second Act Stories in 2018.

Anne Moss Rogers was at the pinnacle of a 20-year professional career in 2010. She opened her ow...

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Ken Coleman is the #1 bestselling author of “The Proximity Principle” and host of the nationally syndicated radio show “The Ken Coleman Show.” As America’s Career Coach, he helps callers discover what they do best so they can do work they love and produce the results that matter most to them.

In Ken’s new bestselling book, “From Paycheck to Purpose,” he draws on what he learned from his own ten-year journey as well as from coaching...

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Russell Brent learned how to knit from his mother at seven. But he put away his knitting needles at a young age after hearing the phrase "boys don't knit."

In his mid thirties, Russell started knitting again -- making baby gifts for friends. And he found he really enjoyed it -- "it was easy...it was meditative." His hobby grew into a new vocation and today he is the owner and proprietor of Balzac and Company, a ...

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Detroit native Scott Weiss grew up in a family that emphasized formal education, but by his own admission, he was not a particularly good student. Scott attended Michigan State University, which was more a means to make money than to gain an education.

After graduating, Scott made his way to Atlanta, landed a job with Turner Broadcasting and by the age of 34 he was an executive vice president who launched the CNN Airport Network an...

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Nita Novy grew up in the small town of Courtdale, Pennsylvania (population 400). But via a series of unusual events, she made her way to the Broadway stage at the age of eight acting alongside Ethel Merman in Gypsy. She was later cast in "The Sound of Music," appearing in the production's first national tour and also on Broadway.

After getting a degree from Duke University, she returned to New York City and enjoyed a su...

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For 31 years, Joe Gladstone worked as a math teacher in Syosset, New York. "I loved teaching, loved the kids, loved math, loved Syosset High School, loved my department. We had a bunch of people that we all grew up together. We were a family. It was marvelous."

But in 2001, things changed when a new chairman of the Math Department arrived. "He micromanaged everything and had the personality of a piece of paper." So ...

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We’re hitting a major milestone – the 100th episode of the Second Act Stories podcast.

Over the past two-and-a-half years, we’ve met and profiled some amazing people. Many are pursuing not-for-profit work. Some have started a new business. And others have turned a hobby into a full-time pursuit. But pretty much across the board, all of them are a heck of a lot happier in their new roles.

Looking back at the 100 episodes, we’ve pull...

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Today's episode comes from Woodinville, Washington and our interview with Jerry Riener and Jennifer Sullivan. Jerry is a sergeant for the Woodinville Police Department. Jennifer is a journalist having worked for both the Seattle Times and KOMO-TV, the ABC news affiliate in Seattle region.

Like many couples, they found love, got married and started a family together. But unlike most couples they also started an amazing winery ca...

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September 14, 2021 13 min

Robert Brace grew up in London -- the eldest son of a single mother who emigrated from Ghana. His family expected him to pursue a traditional career -- a lawyer, accountant or doctor. But at the age of 15, he fell in love with the world of dance earning scholarships to the London Contemporary Dance School, Alvin Alley American Dance Theatre and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. To support himself during his early years in New York City,...

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Nasim Alikhani is the owner and executive chef of Sofreh, an amazing Persian restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. The restaurant opened in 2018 to rave reviews from The New York Times, Food & Wine, Saveur and The Food Network. The restaurant is consistently booked weeks in advance.

Sofreh is Nasim’s first restaurant and she launched it at the age of 59 after nearly two decades as a stay-at-home mom. But it hasn't been an easy ...

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Melody Lynch fell in love with the ballet. She started dancing at 3 and made it in the professional ranks by the age of 15. She continued ballet studies at Butler University and after graduation landed a position with the North Carolina Dance Theatre where she worked for several years.

But her passion was for performance rather than teaching. And realizing that a dancer's career span is limited, she made the leap to law school....

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