Ready to Start A Business After 50? Expert Advice from Kerry Hannon


Kerry Hannon is an absolute rock star in the world of career transitions and personal finance. She has written 12 books in this area as well as literally hundreds of articles for The New York Times, Forbes, Money, USA Today, US News and World Report and AARP. She is a sought- after speaker and expert who has appeared on everything from ABC News to NPR to The Dr. Phil Show.

Her latest book is “Never Too Old To Get Rich: The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Starting A Business Mid-Life.” We caught up with Kerry before a book signing in New York City for her perspective on the emerging trend of late-in-life entrepreneurs. It’s a fast-paced discussion littered with nuggets of Kerry’s wisdom from years studying second acts.

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For more about Kerry and her work, here’s a link to her website.

Special thanks to Encore.org’s Marci Alboher for connecting me with Kerry.

Goodbye Accounting…Hello Acting: Meet Ancestry’s “Lederhosen Guy”



 

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 after 25+ years in the world of accounting and finance.

In just three short years, he’s been remarkably successful being featured in range of other commercials, television programs, films and theater projects. But he took acting seriously enrolling in a two-year program at the Michael Warner Studio in New York City. And he prepares meticulously for each and every audition.

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Special thanks to friend and neighbor Sue Check for connecting me with Kyle Merker.

 

A Reluctant-Preneur: Laid Off at 51, Jane Launches Grownup Travels


Jane Canapini was a 20-year-veteran of the advertising world in Toronto, Canada. She worked as a creative director for both large and small advertising agencies. But in 2012, her last agency downsized and she was laid off at the age of 51.

Rather than landing another job in advertising, she decided it was time to make a major career change. She pursued her life-long passion by launching a travel blog called Grownup Travels.    

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Pittsburgh’s Next Act: A Region Prepares For The Next 75 Years


Today’s episode is different. Rather than focusing on an individual’s “second act,” we’re going to look at a region of the United States that has emerged as the leading example of a “second act” or “turnaround” community. I’m talking about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I traveled to Pittsburgh at the invitation of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a group that has been focused on advancing the region’s future over the past 75 years. In fact, this podcast will debut later this month at an event in Pittsburgh called “Our Next 75 Summit.”

During my visit, I had the chance to sit down with more than a dozen leaders from the area. We talked about the past and difficult challenges the region has faced. But mostly we talked about the future of Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania – essentially what I’m calling the Pittsburgh’s next act.

THEN: Homeless, Addicted & Convicted…NOW: Time’s “100 Most Influential People”


For the past 15 years, Time magazine has selected it’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” The 2019 issue includes Lady Gaga, Donald Trump, Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Mark Zuckerberg and Dwayne Johnson.

It also includes Desmond Meade, a name you’ve probably never heard before. In 2005, Desmond Meade had three strikes against him. He was homeless. He was a drug addict. And he was a convicted felon. Reaching the lowest point in his life, he was prepared to commit suicide by jumping in front of a moving train. But according to Meade, the train “never came that day.” And he opted to check himself into a rehabilitation facility instead.

He set a new path for himself earning an associates, bachelors and law degree. And then Desmond set his sights on the passage of Florida’s Amendment 4. Officially known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, Amendment 4 was a ballot initiative to restore the voting rights of an estimated 1.5 million Floridians with felony convictions. Political pundits gave the initiative very little chance of ever getting on the ballot let alone passing with the required 60% approval by the electorate.

It took Desmond and his team at the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition nearly a decade. But on November 6, 2018, Amendment 4 passed with 65% of the vote.

According to Meade, “I tell people that on November 6th, on election night, the country got to see love winning the day. We had over 5.1 million votes, a million more than any candidate received. And those votes weren’t based on hate and fear, they were based on love, forgiveness, and redemption. Love actually won the day. Love destroyed that Jim Crow law.”

Click here to read the Time magazine article about Desmond Meade, penned by Stacey Abrams, former Democratic Minority Leader for the Georgia House of Representatives.

Never Too Old To Rock N’ Roll: Meet Tom “The Suit” Forst


Tom Forst was 57 years old. He was a regional vice president with Cox Media, a huge communications company. He was jetting around the country on private planes. He had an army of people reporting to him. He was making a hefty salary.

That was 10 years ago. He decided to quit his corporate gig to pursue a life-long passion – music. He put out his first blues-rock album as Tom “The Suit” Forst. He did a month long tour of China as the headlining act. And now he’s back in the studio now working on his next album. You can check out his music at www.TomTheSuitForst.com.

He also launched the “Chasing The Blues” podcast which is well worth a listen. As the Jethro Tull song concludes, “You’re never too old to rock n’ roll.” 

The Proximity Principle: Ken Coleman’s Formula for Second Act Success


Ken Coleman is a highly-successful ,broadcast personality and career coach who hosts a daily radio show, aptly called “The Ken Coleman Show.” Every day, he counsels thousands of listeners on how to best find their dream job. He also hosts the highly-successful EntreLeadership podcast which consistently ranks among the top five business podcasts on the iTunes charts.

Ken is a genuine “Second Act” success story himself. At the age of 34, Ken started to pursue a broadcast career despite zero background and training in the profession.

Nine years later, he has written a book that draws heavily on that personal experience as well as literally hundreds of telephone calls with his listeners. It’s titled “The Proximity Principle” and it is a strong guide for anyone exploring a second act. The simple formula described by him in his book and this episode:

The Right People + The Right Places = Opportunities

Special thanks to McKenzie Masters and Madison Crowder for the assistance in facilitating this interview. It was an honor to meet and interview Ken Coleman.

A Midlife Shake-up: Stay-At-Home Mom Pursues A Year Of Public Service


This episode is a bit different (and we love “different” here at Second Act Stories). Today, we’ll introduce you to Amy Yontef-McGrath. She lives in Montgomery County, Maryland and is the proud mother of three.

Amy found herself in a bit of a funk as she approached her 49th birthday. She loved her job as a stay-at-home mom. But as her children were getting older and starting to leave the nest, it was clear that she needed something new. As she put it, I needed to “shake-up my life.”

In a stroke of creative genius, she came up with “Follow Me To Fifty,” a year-long journey to complete 50 public service projects in advance of her 50th birthday. Amy joined a group of volunteers in kayaks to clean-up the Anacostia River. She helped a refugee family settle into their new home. She did a monthly-long stint as a food coordinator at the local food bank. She placed American flags on the graves of war veterans on Veterans Day. And along the way, she documented each of these projects in her “Follow Me To Fifty” blog.

Amy’s choice for the 50th project? She took a fifty mile walk along the Pacific Coast Highway in California. “I wanted to go somewhere I’d never gone before. Exploring new things was the theme of the whole year and I wanted the same for the walk.”

Amy Yontef-McGrath giving her “Volunteer of the Year” acceptance speech at Montgomery Serves Annual Awards Ceremony.

Last month Amy was selected as “Volunteer of the Year” by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center. In her acceptance speech, she asked the crowd to “Please keep following me. I’m not done yet.”

No Kid Sleeps On The Floor In Our Town: A Christmas Project Sparks A Second Act


I first learned about Luke Mickelson and Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a non-profit that he founded in 2012, via the CNN Heroes Program. I immediately thought to myself “I have to interview this man.” Then I found out he lives in Twin Falls, Idaho – a mere 2,369 miles from my home in New Jersey.

But as luck would have it, I was traveling to Salt Lake City for a business conference. So I rented a car and drove three hours across Idaho’s wide open spaces to the national headquarters of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

So what is Sleep in Heavenly Peace? It’s an amazing non-profit with 150 chapters across the United States. In 2018, they built 4,144 bunk beds for children whose families can’t afford a bed for them. In 2019, they expect to build over 10,000 beds.  

On the wall behind Luke Mickelson’s desk, is a framed photo of the 2012 Facebook post that helped launch Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Those might seem like a lot of beds but here’s a scary number. Sleep in Heavenly Peace estimates that 1.5 to 2.0 million kids in America sleep on the floor each night.

Here’s the story of how Luke and his wife Heidi founded “Sleep in Heavenly Peace.” Included in their journey was a decision for Luke to quit his full-time job in order to focus on the organization’s rapid growth.  

Luke and Heidi Mickelson stand in front of the map of Sleep In Heavenly Peace’s 150+ chapters across the United States.

Click here to learn more about and/or donate to Sleep in Heavenly Peace. It is an amazing organization doing amazing work across the United States (with plans to expand internationally in the year ahead).

Ready To Live Forever? Surprising Advice From Marc Freedman


You don’t have to freeze your body. No need for bionic limbs. And you can hold off on eating mountains of kale (thank goodness). If you want to live forever, then focus on building a legacy via meaningful work with younger generations.

Last month, I sat down for an hour with the man who is essentially the creator of the encore career movement. His name is Marc Freedman and he appropriately heads up an organization called Encore.org. Here’s a quick summary of some of his accomplishments:

  • Marc is the winner of the 2018 Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence;
  • He was named a “Legend in Mentoring” by Mentoring.org;
  • He was named an “Influencer in Aging” by PBS’ Next Avenue; 
  • Marc is the author of five books including his latest work, “How To Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations.”

“How To Live Forever” gives dozens of fascinating examples of intergenerational experiences from across the United States and the globe. It lays out a road map for finding purpose and happiness later in life.

Marc introduces us to a range of engaging characters successfully connecting, mentoring and collaborating with younger generations. My favorite adage from Freedman’s book: “The real fountain of youth is the fountain with youth.”

I loved “How To Live Forever” and thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Marc. Today’s podcast is longer than our usual episodes but candidly the conversation was so rich in content it was just too good to cut down.