Jeff “Skunk” Baxter’s Coda: A Doobie Brother Focuses on Counter Terrorism

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is a rock and roll legend. He was the founding lead guitarist in Steely Dan, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Doobie Brothers. As a hired gun, he’s played with a who’s who of music royalty, including Linda Ronstadt, Donna Summer, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon… the list goes on and on.

From the time he was a child, the mechanically inclined Baxter loved taking things apart to see how they worked and putting them back together. He became an expert guitar repair technician and built custom guitars. He traded a custom white Fender Stratocaster he built in the 1960s to Jimi James, who would later re-emerge as the legendary Jimi Hendrix.

In the 1980s, Skunk parlayed his more-than-casual interest in all things technical into a career as a missile defense consultant. After writing a paper that was quickly classified, he received the necessary clearances and now regularly consults with the U.S. government, the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs on topics including counterterrorism and wargaming.

Skunk just released a new solo album, his first, called Speed of Heat.

Please enjoy our exciting deep dive into the second act of one of rock’s greatest guitarists.

Photo credit for main image: Joel Manduke

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.

A Second Act Creates the World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

Steve Lewis is objectively one of the most creative people on the planet. So much so that pure creativity is what motivates him; money just isn’t part of the equation. That doesn’t mean he isn’t successful. He is. Very. But his success is a byproduct of executing his incredible creative vision.


Steve originally wanted to be a professional musician – a goal he achieved by the age of 14 – but a botched hand surgery set him down a different path. After college, he followed his passion for comic books, pop culture and community and opened Uberbot, a unique, high-end art gallery and comic book store. That’s where he originally shared the cookies that would become the foundation of Gideon’s Bakehouse.


Gideon’s Bakehouse is a fully immersive “tattered Victorian” experience – an entire world with stories, characters and histories – that just happens to sell the world’s best cookies, according to, The Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated and a host of other media.


Steve Lewis calls baking a hobby, but his title – Sublime Prince of the Esoteric Order of Cookie – and his accolades say otherwise. This is an inspiring story that chronicles an immensely creative person and his journey to also become one of the world’s most renowned bakers.


You can find Gideon’s Bakehouse at, but they don’t ship their products. To try them, you have to visit one of the two Gideon’s Bakehouse locations, at Orlando’s East End Market or Disney Springs.

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.

Heavy Metal Lawyer: Black Sabbath Bassist Dave “The Beast” Spitz, Esq.

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 Great White, Impellitteri, White Lion and Americade. He even appeared in a movie with Tom Hanks.

Despite all the trappings of rock stardom – recording with music legends, playing in front of sellout crowds around the world, and experiencing musical success at the highest levels – The Beast needed something more out of his career, so he actually declined an opportunity with a band that’s sold millions of albums so he could become a lawyer.

This extended Second Act Stories interview includes plenty stories about The Beast’s music career and his decision to launch his law career, and it paints a vivid picture of the motivation that drives such a surprising life-changing decision.

Check out the official Black Sabbath Dave “The Beast” Spitz page here.

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.


Why Leah Gorham Scrubbed Out of Nursing to Drive a Truck

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 calls the worst assault of her career (sadly, this is an ongoing issue in nursing) that she finally chose to scrub out and do something different. But instead of shifting to a career that would be easy, she moved to another industry that was profoundly affected by the pandemic: trucking.

Today, Leah Gorham is a long-haul trucker, doing her part to alleviate challenges in the supply chain. But that’s not the reason she went into it. She and her boyfriend are partners, taking to the open road together, and living life on their terms. She’s never been happier.

A view from inside Leah’s cab

Leah and her big rig

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.



Actress Turned CEO: Anna Vocino’s Path to Eat Happy

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.

In the midst of a career in entertainment, Anna was diagnosed with Celiac disease and was forced to eliminate gluten from her diet. A gifted cook, she created gluten-free versions of the recipes she loved and posted them to a blog. A circuitous series of decisions led her to co-host a very successful podcast with health entrepreneur Vinnie Tortorich, and her path ultimately resulted in the release of two bestselling Eat Happy cookbooks.

She combined her love of cooking with a passion to create foods that are clean, gluten-free, no sugar added alternatives to the processed options available on most store shelves. Today, Anna is also the CEO of packaged food company Eat Happy Kitchen, which has realized substantial growth in both distribution and revenue since its launch.

Most surprisingly, Anna’s path was not linear. She didn’t set out to embark on a second act, and she didn’t know she was on that path until she looked back and realized it.

Learn more about Anna Vocino at

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.