Tech Entrepreneur Brews a Plan to Reform Street Gangs

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 meeting with the region’s top gang leaders to understand the issues that drive street gangs, he launched TRU Colors, a brewery with a mission to end the cycle of gang violence in America’s neighborhoods by breaking down barriers and creating new economic opportunities.

TRU Colors hires active gang members, pays them a livable wage, and shows them that they have options and opportunities to be successful.

We hope George’s story inspires you as much as it has inspired us. To learn more about TRU Colors, visit the organization’s website at

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.

Best of 2021: A Suicide, A Mother’s Grief And A Second Act

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 own digital marketing agency in 2010 and the business grew quickly. By 2015 she and her partner had 9 employees and a growing roster of clients.

While her professional life was going especially well, life at home had significant problems. Her son Charles – the younger of two boys – suffered from a combination of depression and drug addiction. The problems began early in high school and escalated. At considerable expense to Anne Moss and her husband Randy, tried to help by placing him in a therapeutic boarding school followed by rehab. But on June 5, 2015 at the age of 20, Charles took his own life.

In the aftermath of her son’s passing, Anne Moss sold her agency and has became a staunch activist for suicide prevention. She launched “Emotionally Naked” – a blog about the experience. She speaks frequently before both high school and adult audiences. And she has written a powerful book called “Diary of a Broken Mind.

Anne Moss Rogers is a textbook example of what psychologists call “post traumatic growth.” When Charles committed suicide in 2015, she entered an unimaginable cauldron of pain and grief. And she came out the other side stronger and focused on making a difference in the world. And her work is saving lives.


From Paycheck To Purpose: A Conversation With Author Ken Coleman

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 thousands of others to walk readers through the seven stages to discovering and doing work that gives you both a great income AND big impact.

In this special expert interview episode of Second Act Stories, host Scott Merritt traveled to the Nashville headquarters of Ramsey Solutions to sit down with Ken for a face-to-face discussion about his new book.

Learn more about Ken at

You can purchase “From Paycheck to Purpose” at the Ramsey Solutions online store, on Amazon, or wherever fine books are found.

Told “Boys Don’t Knit” At 7, Russell Opens A Yarn Shop At 51

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 yarn shop in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

“How can you not be happy working in a yarn shop? You get to touch cashmere, and alpaca, silk, and merino. All day long you are surrounded by the most beautiful colors on the planet.”
Russell Brent

Scott Weiss Traded Executive Pay For Purpose

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 and often worked directly with Ted Turner. At this stage, Scott’s bosses sent him to a communication training workshop at Speakeasy that changed the course of his life.

Because of his experience, Scott left Turner and joined Speakeasy, a move that slashed his salary by two-thirds, but that added much needed purpose to his life and his career. Today Scott continues to lead this organization that profoundly impacts people’s lives.

Click here to learn about Speakeasy.

More information about Scott Weiss and his book DARE: Accepting the Challenge of Trusting Leadership is available at this link.

Exit Stage Right: An Actress Shifts To Fashion

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 successful career as an adult actress. But as she and her husband Richard started a family, the theatre started to lose it’s cachet and she sought a  new creative outlet.

Her new path began when she made her three-year-old daughter a small, furry hat. When she came home from school that day and opened her lunch box “there were five orders inside.” That ultimately led to her to a new career in fashion design and the launch of Nita Ideas with thriving retail stores in Milburn and Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Click here to check out more of her amazing designs.

Not Your Average Joe: Math Teacher Trades Angles For Arias

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 Joe quit teaching and decided to pursue his other passion…the theatre.

Joe had been involved in community theatre for 20+ years in a number of different roles. But over time, he gravitated to the position of stage manager. Stage managers serve as the right hand to the director, overseeing sets, props, lights and sound and calling all technical cues during performances.

Today, he travels the country working as a freelance stage manager, primarily partnering with a wide range of opera companies. “It’s so emotional when the curtain goes up and the audience gives you a standing ovation.”

Second Act Masterclass: 6 Key Takeaways From 100 Episodes

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 pulled together 6 key takeaways on second acts:

1. Find What Feeds You
2. For Inspiration, Look Back To Your Childhood
3. Expect Barriers – Lots of Them
4. Trauma Often Triggers A Second Act
5. There Are Leapers And There Are Planners
6. You’re Never Too Old To Make A Change

And to offer proof points for each takeaway, we’ve shared short interview segments with Chris Donovan, Nasim Alikhani, Cathy Heying, Anne Moss Rogers, Mary Robinson and Susan Goldfein.

Sit back and enjoy our Second Act Masterclass. And as a special bonus, we’ll also introduce you to Scott Merritt who will be joining the Second Act Stories podcast as a co-host later this year.

A Perfectly-Blended Second Act: Cop & Reporter Start A Winery

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 called Guardian Vineyards while holding down two very-demanding, full-time jobs. They started small — producing just 350 cases of wine in 2007. Fourteen years later, they are now producing 10,000 cases of high-quality, wine per year.

Jerry Riener and Jennifer Sullivan share a glass of Guardian Cellars wine.

Grab a glass of your favorite wine, sit back and enjoy Jerry and Jennifer’s second act story.