From “Late Night with Conan” to Rikers Island


Deborah Shaw was an established costume designer in New York City. For 15 years she worked for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” creating hundreds of costumes for the program. But when the show moved to Los Angeles, she decided to stay in New York and do something completely different.

And her second act took her to Rikers Island, one of the most dangerous prisons in America. Starting in 2009, she began working in  “The Big Garden” — a two-acre plot amid the prison complex — helping both detainees and prisoners via horticultural therapy. Today she is building a new program for the Fortune Society using gardening to help individuals recently released from the prison system re-enter everyday life.

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Special thanks to Sarah McKinney of Encore.org for connecting us with Deborah Shaw.

Goodbye Journalism…Hello Baked Goods


Laura Raposa and Steve Syre have been married for 30 years. And for most of that time they have worked in journalism – working as columnists for the two largest daily newspapers in Boston, Massachusetts. Laura worked as gossip columnist for at the Boston Herald. Steve worked just 1.5 miles away as a business columnist for the Boston Globe.

In August 2015, they decided to make a change – a really big change. They opened a bakery and lunch spot called The Foodsmith in South Duxbury, Massachusetts. According to Laura, “I’ve never worked this hard in my life…But this is for me. This is for Steve. And that’s just terrific.”

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An Investment Banker Goes Back to School


Dayna English was a highly successful investment banker at Merrill Lynch. She spent most of her career in Latin America. She flew first class, stayed at the Four Seasons when she traveled and wore tailored Chanel suits. But when Dayna turned 50, she traded all that in become a public school teacher.

It’s been a tough, tough road. But every day for the last ten years she gets on her bike in Manhattan, rides to work seven miles and teach math at some of the most difficult schools in New York City.  

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Special thanks to Sarah McKinney of Encore.org for connecting me with Dayna English.

Second Life Bikes is Her Second Act


Kerri Martin was working a comfortable IT job and enjoying life in New York City. But when she watched the first of two planes crash into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, she knew it was time to do something else.

She followed her love of cycling and created a unique non-profit in Asbury Park, New Jersey called Second Life Bikes. This community bike store is best known for their “Earn a Bike” program which allows area youths to put in 15 hours working as a bike mechanic in exchange for a bike of their own.  “We don’t expect that they all grow up to become bike mechanics, but that we’re giving them some sort of like mechanical skills and some sort of life skills…just showing up at a place at 3 o’clock and signing a time card, and learning how to shake hands and look people in the eye.”

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From Big Law to Methodist Minister


Mark Salvacion had been a lawyer for 25 years but increasingly felt the focus on “making money” and “evading the law in the right way” was crushing his soul. The final straw…after he uncovered a specific instance of fraud within his company and refused to sweep it under the rug, he was fired within two weeks.

So in his early 50s, Mark switched gears from his work as a corporate lawyer and decided to become a Methodist Minister. Today he is the pastor of Historic St. George’s Church in Philadelphia, a church with a long, rich history but also some immediate challenges.

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A Doctor’s Passion Takes Him to Uganda


Dr. Harry Strulovici was a successful plastic surgeon with a thriving practice in Michigan. But when his father passed away, he took a close look at his own life.

He went back to school, enrolling in a global health program at the New York University Schools of Medicine. And then through a different program run by Yale University and Johnson & Johnson, he went to Uganda to work for a three-month period at Mulago Hospital. Upon his return to the United States, he founded Life for Mothers, a program focused on decreasing maternal and infant mortality rates in Africa.

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Special thanks to Sarah McKinney of Encore.org for connecting me with Dr. Harry Strulovici. .

A Second Act That’s Clean and Sober


Jorge Alvarez came to the United States from Honduras at the age of seven. He grew up with his mother and his sister in tough circumstances in the Bronx.

This episode is more about life change rather than career change. Jorge’s story focuses overcoming an addiction to alcohol and drugs. His second act finds him clean and sober and working for a sustainable recycling company. He manages a team of ten people that are in the field working with their clients to recycle glass and aluminum.

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Special thanks to Deb Brown of Back On My Feet for connecting me with Jorge Alvarez.