Sweeter Days Ahead: How Baking Transformed Janie Deegan’s Life


In 2009, Janie Deegan returned home from college with a serious alcohol and drug problem. Eventually, she found herself homeless and living on the streets of New York City.

Fast forward to today…she is the owner of “Janie’s Life Changing Baked Goods,” a thriving business with three, NYC bakeries and booming e-commerce division. At the center of her success is the “pie crust cookie” — essentially a baby pie that comes in five, different flavors. Her company and her cookies have been featured on Good Morning America, The TODAY Show, CNN and The New York Times.

The company is dedicated to helping other young women through mentorship and second chance employment. As Janie shares in the podcast, “The person you show up for at the interview is the person we’re looking at. We’re not doing background checks…we have formerly incarcerated employees, homeless staff and those with addiction problems. It’s been really beautiful to see how people blossom when they are given a chance.” 

Janie and the team at “Janie’s Life Changing Baked Goods.”

Interested in trying Janie’s pie crust cookies? They come in apple, pecan, triple berry, chocolate and cherry and can be ordered from www.JanieBakes.com.

Like her second act story, Janie’s “pie crust cookies” are truly amazing.

 

Meet A “Salvage Angel”…Hair Stylist Cuts A New Path In Restoration


After graduation from high school, Carolyn Curtin enrolled at the Wilfred Academy and received a degree in cosmetology. For years, she worked as a hairstylist. But her path changed in 2002 when she purchased a 100-year-old, Victorian house in Asbury Park, New Jersey and set about restoring it to it’s original glory.

The city was in the midst of a major revitalization and historic buildings were been “clear cut” to make way for progress. Carolyn saw both beauty and historical significance in these structures and she started to extract items of value in advance of the wrecking ball. She began offering items she didn’t need for her own restoration — columns, railings, doors and reclaimed lumber — to others around her. Local Asbury Park Historian Helen Pike gave her the moniker of “Salvage Angel” and that ultimately became the name of her new company.

Carolyn Curtin is Asbury Park’s “Salvage Angel” having saved thousands of historical items from the junkyard.

Today, “Salvage Angel By The Sea” has hundreds of thousands of items for sale — moldings, exterior doors, custom made rugs, stained glass, lighting, plumbing fixtures, tile, furniture, nautical fittings, bathtubs, mantles and housewares. And it’s all things that were headed to the junkyard but Carolyn figured out a way to reclaim and save it for others. It’s housed in a 20,000 square foot former Canada Dry warehouse which Carolyn acquired in 2014.

“Salvage Angel By The Sea” is housed in a 20,000 square foot building that used to be a Canada Dry Warehouse.

In the past seven years, she has also begun renting items to the television/film production industry and her wares have been featured in shows ranging from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to West Side Story to Pretty Little Liars. Production crews now represent 70% of the company’s revenue.

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Grateful Ted: A Second Act In Psychedelic Rock Poster Art


Ted Bahr’s career in magazine publishing and trade show management spans 35+ years. He held senior management positions at publishing giants Ziff-Davis and Miller-Freeman before launching his own firm, BZ Media.

When he sold BZ Media in 2017, he returned to an early passion: the collection of psychodelic, rock poster art. Ted launched the world’s first art gallery to focus on this narrow niche of first-printing posters primarily from 1966-1970. Via the Bahr Gallery, Ted collects and sells works of art designed to promote the concerts of the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and others. Beautifully framed in museum quality glass, the posters range from $1,000 to upwards of $20,000.

Ted Bahr and renowned, psychedelic rock poster artist Stanley Mouse at the Rock Poster Society Festival in San Francisco

According to Ted, “When I sell these posters, they’re going to somebody who is filled with joy, Probably 35% of my sales are gifts. So people are buying these posters for somebody in their life that has no idea they even exist. They are getting this gift of Santana poster from 1968 — an original poster with the screaming colors beautifully framed. I get massive psychic reward from this.”

 

You can view his amazing collection of 600+ posters online. But the best way to see this art and get a personal tour by Ted, is to visit the Bahr Gallery in Oyster Bay, Long Island (just an hour outside of New York City). A sampling of six posters from the collection are shared below.

A special shout-out to Carl Landau and the “I Used To Be Somebody” Podcast for connecting us with Ted Bahr.

Leap of Faith: Greg & Pam Ayers Quit Their Jobs To Answer God’s Call


Greg and Pam Ayers were living the good life in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were living the American Dream…senior management positions with  significant salaries, a nice home and two young children.

But the loss of a close friend caused Greg to question his own life and ask “Am I really making a difference in the world?” And the couple decided it was time for a change.

Both Greg and Pam quit their jobs, relocated to Tucson, Arizona and started a new organization called GAP Ministries. Over the past 24 years, they have built an amazing non-profit that is focused on foster care, reuniting families and breaking the cycles of poverty and abuse. With a staff of 120 people and an annual budget of $10 million, the group is having a significant impact in Southern Arizona. On more than one occasion, they have “emptied” their own retirement savings to keep the organization moving forward.

Click here to learn more about the inspiring work of GAP Ministries.

How To ROAR Into Your Second Act: 21 Minutes with Michael Clinton


Michael Clinton is a uniquely-talented individual. A former president and publishing director of Hearst Publications (which includes Cosmopolitan, Esquire, O The Oprah Magazine, Redbook and Woman’s Day), Michael is also an accomplished photographer, marathon runner, philanthropist, author and private pilot.

When he finally decided to step down from his publishing career, he was looking for advice on his next stage of life. “Everything I read was about winding down. And I wanted to just the opposite. I wanted to wind up and do lots of new things.” And that’s when the idea for his new book, “ROAR Into the Second Half of Your Life (Before It’s Too Late),” was born.

ROAR is an acronym that outlines an empowering path for embracing your future. The four, important steps are:

  • “R”…Reimagine yourself
  • “O”…Own who you are
  • “A”…Act on what’s next
  • “R”…Reassess your Relationships

Click here for more about the book and Michael Clinton, It’s a terrific read and we’re happy to add it to our “Best Books About Second Acts” list.

“ROAR Into the Second Half of Your Life (Before It’s Too Late)” is now in its third printing.

Elementary School Custodian Tylan Bailey Finds a Perfect Second Act as a Teacher


Tylan Bailey had a tough home life growing up. He had more than his fair share of adversity, which brought him to no fewer than 14 schools by the time he was ready to graduate from high school. In spite of such a profound lack of stability, Tylan created his own stable environment by focusing on his education.

Tylan’s lifelong dream of becoming a teacher was sidetracked when he found himself in a predicament that prevented him from attending college, and instead found him applying for jobs that would pay well and provide benefits. Although he found himself working in an elementary school, as a custodian, the idea of becoming a teacher seemed like a pipe dream at this point.

23 years later, Tylan was making pretty good money as the head custodian and he had seniority, but it was time to scratch that teaching itch. With the support of his wife, he took himself back to college and earned his teaching degree. Today, Tylan still works in an elementary school, but now he’s a PE teacher and he couldn’t be happier.

Tylan’s story was featured in national headlines, and he was even invited to a Hollywood movie premiere where he befriended Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The dream became a reality, and Tylan Bailey is living proof that it’s never too late to find your happiness. The key, as he puts it, is to meet your blessings halfway.

Best of 2022: Jeff “Skunk” Baxter’s Coda: A Doobie Brother Focuses on Counter Terrorism


At the beginning of each year, we at Second Act Stories like to take a look back at the incredible interviews we shared and pick one episode that truly exemplifies the surprising, inspiring and eye-opening nature of a fascinating career change.

This “Best of” show gives us an opportunity to re-share a remarkable story, and it welcomes new listeners by giving them a good taste of what we do here: profile people who have made major life and career changes to pursue a more rewarding life in a second act career.

The numbers spoke for themselves this year. Without question, the episode our listeners downloaded the most was our interview with rock and roll legend Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

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

We hope you enjoy this encore presentation – the Best of 2022 episode of Second Act Stories – our exciting deep dive into the second act of one of rock’s greatest guitarists.

Hats Off To Deborah: At 60, She Became A Milliner


Deborah Kase Lillian always loved hats. She played dress up with her mother’s and grandmother’s hats as a child. And she always loved rummaging through thrift stores to find unique hats.

But it was the combination of an earlier move to Paris and her 60th birthday that convinced her to go back to school to learn the amazing craft of hat making (or millinery) late in life. In 2020 in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, she launched her own hat-making company called “Harris Pat” (which comes from a spoonerism in a Cole Porter song with the line “If a Harris Pat means a Paris Hat, okay.”)

As Deborah shared in this episode: “Elizabeth Zimmermann is a noted knitter and knitting teacher. And I will never forget that she said once, ‘People will put something on their head for, it seems to me, two reasons. Either it keeps them warm or it makes them feel cute.’ And I like my hats to make people feel attractive and pretty and cute and seductive and alluring.” 

Click here to learn more about her work and hats.  Or you can follow her and her designs on Instagram @leharrispat.

 

Adam Carolla: The Carpenter Who Built a Legendary Comedy Career


Adam Carolla is a bona fide comedy legend with a seemingly endless number of credits to his name. He co-hosted the “Loveline” radio show with Dr. Drew Pinsky; his own number-one morning radio show, which replaced The Howard Stern Show, was syndicated to a wide range of markets; he created and hosted “The Man Show” with Jimmy Kimmel; he’s written a number of books, two of which were New York Times Bestsellers; he’s become a prolific filmmaker, with comedies and documentaries to his credit; and “The Adam Carolla Show” even holds the Guinness World Record for the most downloaded podcast.

But even though he grew up in the shadow of the Hollywood sign, it may as well have been a million miles away. After graduating from high school (where he was voted Class Clown) unable to read or spell well, he took odd jobs digging ditches, cleaning carpets and teaching boxing, and he eventually found a niche as a skilled carpenter. While he was able to pay his bills, his passion was comedy. He followed his instincts and carved a path, one step at a time, that led him to the success he enjoys today.

Adam is as humble a guy as you’ll find, and he really doesn’t love to take credit for his accomplishments. That’s part of what makes his story so interesting. He just keeps going.

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Scott and Adam talking in Adam’s “pirate ship.”

 

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. .