Encore Town Hall Speakers to Share Inspiring Stories of Midlife Reinvention

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October 21 event, hosted by Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, will explore ways people 50+ can redefine retirement, find new purpose and strengthen the community

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Susan Jacobs, CEO and Founder, Wheels of Success

For Baby Boomers like us, our identities are centered on what we do for a living. The loss of a job that defined us, or the realization that we no longer have any passion for the career we once loved, or even looming retirement can be terrifying.

Susan Jacobs escaped from an abusive relationship with severely limited funds that left her unable to buy a car. She did, however, have a job – and needed to use public transportation to get to it. The commute to work that she once took for granted now consumed hours of her time each day. Realizing how difficult Tampa Bay’s lack of public transportation options made life for those like her, she channeled her energies into starting a nonprofit, Wheels of Success, to help people who are struggling financially to purchase used cars of their own.

Jacobs’ powerful story, along with those of three other Tampa Bay residents who sought a new passion and purpose for their lives at midlife, will inspire Baby Boomers as well as business and nonprofit leaders to rethink traditional retirement. The message is especially meaningful in the Tampa Bay region, which has more than 700,000 people over 50.

“Each day I speak to people over the age of 50 who have either lost their job, their motivation, or the sense that they are doing something meaningful with their lives,” said Bevan Gray Rogel, founder of Encore Tampa Bay. “For Baby Boomers like us, our identities are centered on what we do for a living. The loss of a job that defined us, or the realization that we no longer have any passion for the career we once loved, or even looming retirement can be terrifying. The stories shared by four diverse speakers will show how they transformed their own lives and in doing so, are transforming our community.”

Encore Tampa Bay has teamed up with The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay to host NGAGE 2.0, the region’s first Town Hall dedicated to exploring the ways that people 50+ can redefine retirement, find new purpose, and do meaningful work that enriches their lives and strengthens their communities.

The event, which is open to all, will feature opening remarks from Marci Alboher, vice president of Encore.org, the national nonprofit spearheading the encore movement. Alboher is an acclaimed author and former New York Times columnist. Her book, The Encore Career Handbook, was described as “a practical, energizing and essential guide to rebooting midlife to find meaning and social purpose in your working life” by USA Today.

Alboher will discuss how the world of work is changing and how the “encore stage” population can channel their years of experiences in ways that lead to both personal and societal renewal. Her presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring local individuals who have launched successful encore careers and representatives from local businesses and nonprofits that have used that encore talent to strengthen their own organizations.

In addition to Jacobs, attendees will hear from Earl C. Bedford, a career military veteran who, after battling PTSD from his four years of service in Iraq, launched an organization to help other veterans suffering from this invisible disease to regain their footing in life and offer them a support network from their peers. Mike Harris, founder of Patina Solutions, will share his story of launching a company dedicated to helping employers better utilize the skills of people with 25+ years of experience. Finally, Judie Flynn, human resources director for the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, will offer details about the highly successful program she and a colleague created to recruit, develop and recognize volunteer encore talent.

Following the presentations, guests will be invited to mingle and connect with local encore resources and opportunities to help them generate ideas for shaping their next chapter.

“Tampa Bay has the potential to become a regional model for maximizing the talents of our 50+ population, attracting more motivated encore entrepreneurs, and showing people of all generations how they can make meaningful contributions to their community,” said Marlene Spalten, CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. “This will increase our desirability as a relocation destination, enhance our economic competitiveness and strengthen our social fabric.”

The event will take place on October 21, 2014 from 4:00– 7:00 pm at the Feather Sound Country Club, 2201 Feather Sound Drive, Clearwater.

The NGAGE 2.0 Town Hall is also supported by AARP’s Life Reimagined, Eckerd College’s Division of Executive and Continuing Education, and The Greenhouse.

To learn more and register, visit the Encore Tampa Bay web site.

About the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay has been growing philanthropy in the Tampa Bay region for nearly a quarter of a century. Across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties, the Foundation works with donors to identify and support those initiatives and organizations that improve the quality of life in our community. The Foundation has awarded more than $160 million in grants since inception and has assets (2014) of $188 million. To learn more, please visit http://www.cftampabay.org.

About Encore Tampa Bay

Encore Tampa Bay helps Baby Boomers understand this exciting new stage of life development where anything is possible- all we need to do is be open and find our passion and purpose for the greater good. Our goal is to build an interest by Tampa Bay businesses, educational institutions and community organizations to support baby boomers and seniors as they launch their “Encore” careers as volunteers, part time employees, and/or entrepreneurs. Encore Tampa Bay is dedicated to engage leaders and organizations in creating a vision for an Encore Tampa Bay that benefits the individuals and the community at large.

Encore Tampa Bay is making a difference in the Tampa Bay community by connecting passionate, experienced, talented older adults to organizations that are in need of this level of expertise and experience. Visit our web site at http://www.encoretampabay.com.

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Michelle Bauer
Common Language
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