120 episodes

Welcome to Second Act Stories, a podcast focused on life and career change. In each episode, we bring you the story of a courageous individual who has made a decisive career pivot and is pursuing a more rewarding life in a second act.

The stories are in their own words and the words of friends and family that helped them find a new path. Each episode examines the “before” and “after” phases of a life or career relaunch and offers lessons learned.

Second Act Stories Andy Levine

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 63 Ratings

Welcome to Second Act Stories, a podcast focused on life and career change. In each episode, we bring you the story of a courageous individual who has made a decisive career pivot and is pursuing a more rewarding life in a second act.

The stories are in their own words and the words of friends and family that helped them find a new path. Each episode examines the “before” and “after” phases of a life or career relaunch and offers lessons learned.

    The Wolf of Late Night: Paul Mecurio’s Journey from Wall Street to Comedy

    The Wolf of Late Night: Paul Mecurio’s Journey from Wall Street to Comedy

    Paul Mecurio has achieved a level of success in comedy that budding comics only dream of. He’s a writer on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; he was a founding writer on The Daily Show, for which he won Emmy and Peabody Awards; he hosted a one-man Off-Broadway show called “Permission to Speak with Paul Mecurio”; he’s hosted shows on Comedy Central and HBO; he had his own comedy special; and he’s a regular opinion contributor on “CBS Sunday Morning.”
    But all this success came at an incredibly stressful cost. After graduating Georgetown Law School with high honors, Paul worked as a lawyer on Wall Street at a top-tier international law firm and as an investment banker at Credit Suisse, executing multi-billion-dollar M&A transactions for Fortune 100 companies. He was living the life everybody thinks they want, making a ton of money and enjoying the trappings that kind of success brings.
    All the while, Paul was writing jokes and living a double life, working in boardrooms by day and sneaking off to comedy clubs by night to feed an insatiable need to follow his passion for comedy. A chance meeting with Jay Leno was the catalyst for what would become an incredibly gripping, angst-ridden journey filled with self-doubt, torment and tears that had Paul living on the edge of a nervous breakdown.
    Hold onto your hats; this episode is a roller coaster that will inspire you to chase your dreams.
    Please rate and review our show on Apple Podcasts. It really helps!

    • 37 min
    Recipe for Success: A Red Truck, Amazing Pies & Barack Obama

    Recipe for Success: A Red Truck, Amazing Pies & Barack Obama

    Brian Noyes was an art director for 30+ years with top publications like The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Architecture and House & Garden. He loved his work. But he also loved baking. And he regularly took week-long courses at schools like the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD.
    After the September 11th attack, he decided to buy a weekend house in rural Virginia -- an escape from his design work in Washington, DC. As a hobby, he started making jams and pies for a local country store under the name the Red Truck Bakery. He quickly developed a devoted, local following.
    His big break came in 2008 when legendary New York Times food columnist Marian Burros tried some of his baked goods at a friend's 4th of July party. She later wrote in a holiday, round-up article:
    “One of my favorite discoveries is Brian Noyes, the owner of the Red Truck Bakery in Virginia, who has a deft hand with pastries and an unerring sense of flavor balance.”
    Brian's website went from less than 25 visitors per day to 57,000 visitors on the day the article appeared. And it was the push he needed to quit his job as an art director and open the Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Virginia in 2009.
    Today he has stores in both Warrenton and Marshall, Virginia and a staff of 50 people. He ships dozens of pies, cakes and granola each day. He also has a devoted fan in former President Barack Obama who wrote a salute to the Red Truck Bakery in his final year in office. Special thanks to Cody Keenan, President Obama's chief speechwriter, for coming on the podcast and sharing this story with us.
    You can sample their baked goods for yourself by visiting www.redtruckbakery.com. You can also order Brian’s first book “The Red Truck Bakery Cookbook” and his second book, “The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook” (which comes out on August 2, 2022). And if you find yourself passing through Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, make it a point to drop by one of their stores. You won't be disappointed.
     
     

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

    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

    • 38 min
    Ready For A Career Transition? 26 Minutes With Coach John Tarnoff

    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.

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

    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 Insider.com, 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 www.gideonsbakehouse.com, 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.

    • 24 min
    Goodbye Hedge Fund...Hello Sourdough Bread

    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.

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
63 Ratings

63 Ratings

Plum Lovelace ,

Incredibly inspirational and motivating!

I have been listening to Second Act Stories for a while now, and should’ve left a review sooner. Just listened to the episode with Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, former member of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers and now working in military defense projects (!!) and it was fascinating. Jeff reminds us that nothing is impossible and it’s never too late to do something else, and to find the connections between your skills and passions. Great content and very helpful advice in every episode.

Mxsandy12 ,

Awesome pod!

Fantastic pod about life change! Love it!

EmotionallyNaked.com ,

Andy is a good interviewer

This is a good podcast and such a creative concept. Andy always asks questions I would ask and the stories are engaging. I highly recommend it.

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