Animal Rescue Is Dr. Peter Rork’s Second Act

Dr. Peter Rork was a highly-successful, orthopedic surgeon in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But at the age of 59, he unexpectedly lost his wife Meg and grief took hold of him. He quit his work. He stopped eating. And he and his dog Doyle retreated to a remote vacation home in Montana for three months.

At the urging of a concerned friend, Peter refocused his life on animal rescue. He is the founder, president and chief pilot of “Dog Is My CoPilot,” a not-for-profit group that transports animals from overcrowded kill shelters to adoption centers where families are waiting to welcome a new pet. His story has been told on CBS Sunday Morning, NBC Nightly News and The Washington Post.

Dog Is My CoPilot has saved over 25,000 animals. Click here to support their the important work. .

After the White House: A Speechwriter Finds Joy Teaching

Cody Keenan started working in the White House at the age of 28 and rose up to the role of Chief Speechwriter for President Barack Obama. In terms of his chosen profession, he was at the top of the mountain at a very young age. But after eight years, the Obama Presidency ends. What does he do next?

Cody Keenan’s new book, Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America” is available on Amazon.

After the White House, Cody has accomplished a lot. He has collaborated with Barack Obama on his best-selling, presidential memoir, A Promised Land. He’s now completed his own book, Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America, which debuts on October 4, 2022. He has joined Fenway Strategies, a strategic, communications firm that helps write speeches for others.

But according to Cody, the most rewarding part of his second act is teaching the next generation of political speechwriters in a small class at his alma mater Northwestern University. “It’s the best thing I do. It pays the least but it’s the most fun. I get to watch these students grow and improve and get excited about politics and its possibilities.”

In this episode of Second Act Stories, we go behind the scenes at the White House to learn the story of the eulogy which President Obama and Cody wrote for the funeral of Reverend Clementa Pinckney and eight other congregants at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. During the service, President Obama surprised the congregation by signing Amazing Grace.

Day With M Night Shyamalan Inspires A Second Act In Filmmaking

Melissa Davey was a senior, corporate executive turning 65 and facing a key decision point in her work life — Do I stay or do I go? At the same time, an odd series of events resulted in her winning a charity auction to spend a day on a movie set with director M Night Shyamalan.

Shadowing Mr. Shyamalan for a day put her on the path to becoming a filmmaker. She completing her first feature film in 2018.  Beyond 60 is a documentary that profiles nine, vibrant women and their “after 60” accomplishments. Now 72, Ms. Davey will release her second film, “Climbing Into Life” in early 2023.


Recipe for Success: A Red Truck, Amazing Pies & Barack Obama

Brian Noyes was an art director for 30+ years with top publications like The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Architecture and House & Garden. He loved his work. But he also loved baking. And he regularly took week-long courses at schools like the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD.

After the September 11th attack, he decided to buy a weekend house in rural Virginia — an escape from his design work in Washington, DC. As a hobby, he started making jams and pies for a local country store under the name the Red Truck Bakery. He quickly developed a devoted, local following.

His big break came in 2008 when legendary New York Times food columnist Marian Burros tried some of his baked goods at a friend’s 4th of July party. She later wrote in a holiday, round-up article:

“One of my favorite discoveries is Brian Noyes, the owner of the Red Truck Bakery in Virginia, who has a deft hand with pastries and an unerring sense of flavor balance.”

Brian’s website went from less than 25 visitors per day to 57,000 visitors on the day the article appeared. And it was the push he needed to quit his job as an art director and open the Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Virginia in 2009.

““I like pie. That’s not a state secret. And I can confirm that the Red Truck Bakery makes some darn good pie.” President Barack Obama

Today he has stores in both Warrenton and Marshall, Virginia and a staff of 50 people. He ships dozens of pies, cakes and granola each day. He also has a devoted fan in former President Barack Obama who wrote a salute to the Red Truck Bakery in his final year in office. Special thanks to Cody Keenan, President Obama’s chief speechwriter, for coming on the podcast and sharing this story with us.

You can sample their baked goods for yourself by visiting You can also order Brian’s first book “The Red Truck Bakery Cookbook” and his second book, “The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook” (which comes out on August 2, 2022). And if you find yourself passing through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, make it a point to drop by one of their stores. You won’t be disappointed.



Ready For A Career Transition? 26 Minutes With Coach John Tarnoff

John Tarnoff is a non-traditional, career transition coach. A veteran of Hollywood, John was fired 7 times over the course of his lengthy career in entertainment.

At age 50, he decided to go back to school and earned a master’s degree in spiritual psychology. Pivoting to a focus on people and career counseling, he eventually wrote “Boomer Reinvention: How To Create Your Dream Career Over 50.” He is frequently interviewed by top tier media (CBS This Morning, Forbes, CNBC, Market Watch and Next Avenue to name a few) on the topic of career transition.

Click here for more information on John Tarnoff’s unusual coaching practice.

Goodbye Hedge Fund…Hello Sourdough Bread

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 in the suburbs. “We were going a bit stir crazy” and they opted to launch an informal neighborhood project called “Pandemic Breads.” They baked bread and other sweets in their kitchen and sold the goods door-to-door. He loved everything about baking and became especially enamored with the challenge of making sourdough bread.

After working as an intern in two commercial bakeries in New York City, Adam launched “Sourdough Gambit” named after his love of chess and the popular Netfix series “The Queens Gambit.” He started small, baking two days per week in a shared commercial kitchen and selling his products via home delivery in Manhattan. Since launching in February, 2022, the new venture has gone exceptionally well winning rave reviews from customers.

Click here to learn more about Sourdough Gambit.

A sampling of Sourdough Gambit’s end product made entirely from organic ingredients.

Life After The NFL: Arrelious Benn’s Java Journey

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 collarbone.

After his final season with the Jaguars, he and his family put down roots and decided to open Social House Coffee in the Avondale section of Jacksonville. Replacing a former gun store, his neighborhood shop is all about great coffee and building community.

As Benn shares in the podcast, “Football consumed my life for so many years. But I know I only have one body. And I want to see my kids grow up and there are other things I want to do. It’s a breath of fresh air to do something new and be creative.”

Benn is now working in what he calls “my first real job.” He spends his days taking customers orders, serving coffee/pastries and managing a staff of six. And he couldn’t be happier.

Arrelious Benn (middle) and his team at Social House Coffee in Jacksonville, Florida.


Dumping Oil & Gas Careers To Make A Better Dumpling

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, they switched to virtual classes and selling the world’s first “ready-to-bake” dumping commercially.

At the age of 15, Chih Lin came to the United States from Taiwan. He learned how to make dumplings from his grandmother. “I don’t remember the taste of the dumplings. But I always remember how I feel when I make dumplings with my family. That’s what dumpling making is…your hands are busy and then you live in the present. And when you live in the present, the conversations come up very nicely, very real and easier for you to connect with other people.”

Chih’s business & life partner Mike Dorsey concludes the episode with some strong advice for second act aspirants: “If you’re really unhappy at work and it’s causing you so much grief, find an exit strategy and start working towards it today. A small step today can become a huge leap tomorrow.”

Click here to learn more about the Dumpling Dudez, their classes and their “ready-to-bake” dumplings.



An Unlikely Mayor: A Retired Lawyer Enters Public Service

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 a plan to put up mini-cell phone towers throughout the city including one directly across the street from his house. He helped form “Protecting Residential Rye” and with the help of dozens of other concerned citizens, the group successfully halted these plans. In the wake of this success, a local Councilwoman asked, “Josh, have you every thought about running for Mayor?”

Josh ran as an independent with the endorsement of Rye’s Democratic Party. And when all the votes were counted, he successfully defeated the Republican incumbent.

“What I like best about the job is problem-solving. And problems can be large, problems can be small.” His thorough, research-driven, methodical approach has earned strong praise from his fellow council members and Rye’s citizens.

In November 2021, he won a second term — this time with the endorsement of both the Democratic and Republican parties.



Presto Chango: An Industrial Salesman’s Magical Transition

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 interested in magic. How would you like me to become your mentor?” And that conversation launched his second act as a professional magician.

David and his wife Judy (aka the baloon-twisting/face-painting Miss Penelope) have put on hundreds of magic shows over the past 25 years. But his favorite audience remains pre-school children. “They are like a sponge. They soak up everything I do.”

“I would love to have a camera behind me…I wish everyone could see the kids faces when I perform a trick.”

Now 75 years old, he plans to continue performing for as long as he can still walk. “I love being a magician, And when I die, I want to be buried in performance clothes — sparkly vest and everything. Even when I die, I don’t want to give it up.”

Click here, to learn more about the performance of David Wayne (his stage name) and Miss Penelope.