This week was full of many opportunities to be inspired! I was honored to be a part of the National Encore’s Leadership Institute this week in San Fransisco.
Encore.org has spent the last 15 years creating a social movement- dedicated to helping older adults (50+) engage in encore careers that combine passion, purpose, income and social impact in the second half of life. Marc Freedman, founder of Encore spoke to us about this organization moving into Encore 2.0, to focus on strengthening the movement by becoming a support hub for emerging Encore leaders and communities that want to tap into the talent of older Americans. We want to continue to lead the charge that is changing the conversations about aging in America and inventing a new stage of life.
Fourteen Encore Innovation Fellows (pictured above) have been charged with rolling out an innovative Encore initiative in their community, with a long term plan to create models that can be replicated across the country. For example, my Encore Innovation project will be creating pathways, programs and places that will grow Encore Entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay. It was truly incredible experience to be connected with and learn from the individuals and organizations that have been early adapters and true leaders in the Encore movement over the last 10 years!
The icing on the cake for this incredible week of workshops and networking sessions was the opportunity to attend the 8th Annual Purpose Prize Awards Ceremony. The Purpose Prize program was created to inspire others that they are not done in the second half of life and they still have a lot to give. In this week’s Wall Street Journal, the Purpose Prize was recognized as the next Mac Arthur Foundation’s “Genius Awards” for non-profits. The Purpose Prize honors individuals in their Encore and have made a significant social impact. The Purpose Prize was awarded to 7 individuals (out of 1,000 submissions) over 60 years old, who have made a significant social impact in the world in their second half of life. The top two winners were awarded $100,000 each.
I would like to share with you some (more are listed in Encore.org) of their amazing stories — be ready to be inspired!
- Vicki Thomas used her 35 years of marketing and public relations experience to join two disabled Iraq war veterans to start a non-profit called Purple Heart Homes which aids some of the 3.2 million wounded vets by finding and renovating foreclosed homes. Vicki implemented a very successful marketing and fund raising campaign to boost their revenues by 600% in the first year!
- Ysabel Duron, 66, used her 25 years as a professional TV anchor to start a nonprofit, Latina Contra Cancer Center (LCC). LCC provides cancer support services and education to lower income Hispanics in the San Francisco area. Ysabel encouraged all of us to follow our heart, while using our age and experience. (And most important, to NOT listen to the naysayers on aging and retirement!)
- Ed Nicholson, 71, a Vietnam vet and prostate cancer survivor founded Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, which mentors disabled vets during fishing trips around the world.
- Barbara Young, 66, of New York City, a Barbados immigrant and former nanny whose National Domestic Workers Alliance fights for better pay and working conditions for nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly. Barbara challenged us all to take the first step and find a way to help improve the lives of others.
- Carol Fennelly, 64, of Washington, D.C., who runs Hope House, which helps prison inmates stay in regular contact with their children, sometimes hundreds of miles away. Its “Camp Hope” program at four prisons lets kids age nine to 14 spend a week visiting their incarcerated fathers. Carol was such an inspiration to me, as she spoke about how she sacrificed everything (including the sale of her house) to make this program work. She wanted to focus on a group of people we have put far away and forgotten in order to give them back their dignity and self-worth.
Marc Freedman ended the evening sharing his vision of 40 million boomers that are either in or searching for their Encore Career and the potential of all that talent to make an impact on our world! Marc said,
“The world may be done with us, but we are not done with this world. Let us reconsider living our legacy instead of leaving our legacy.”
My life has been truly changed by all the incredible people that I have met this week! I am proud to be a part of the Encore Movement and I welcome all of you to join me!