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.
Empowering Moms: She Left Corporate Real Estate to Launch A Breast Pumping Startup
Patrice Meagher had a lucrative career in real estate. For 15 years, she worked in New York City as an Executive Vice President at CBRE, one of the world's largest, corporate real estate firms.
But like other working parents, she struggled with the challenge of balancing her work life and raising a family of four children. A specific pain point in her career -- returning to work after maternity leave and breast pumping milk for her new child. Like many new mothers, she was told to pump in the bathroom which she describes as unhygienic, embarrassing and not sustainable. "For me, breast pumping at work was by far the single-most, inefficient thing I did as a working mom. I knew there had to be a way to make it easier."
In March, 2020, she left CBRE and founded MilkMate so that other mothers wouldn't have to choose between family and career due to the challenges of breast pumping at work. Collaborating with engineers, patent attorneys and other experts, the company created an FDA-approved, multi-user breast pumping system built for the workplace wellness room. And with the recent passage of the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, MilkMate is helping employers meet the new federal requirements while supporting employees who wish to breast pump in the workplace. Click here to learn more about Patrice Meagher and the unique offerings of MilkMate.
School's Out, Laughs Are In: Retired Teacher Patty Forehand Becomes a Standup Comic
The moment Patty Forehand opens her mouth, you know she’s from the deep south. And with that comes a certain set of preconceived notions. If she opens her mouth in front of a microphone on a comedy club stage, those notions are immediately blown away, and the results are hilarious. It’s funny once the F-bombs start flying and you realize she’s not the stereotypical, retirement-age, “proper southern lady” society expects when they see her, but it’s even funnier when you hear that her material is funny. Really funny.
It gets even more interesting when you realize that she’s relatively new to comedy. This standup comic, who’s been crushing rooms all over the South, has only been doing it for the past few years. She decided to experiment with comedy after she retired from a 31-year career teaching in an elementary school. And the results speak for themselves; Patty found her calling.
But she also says that teaching was a calling, and she worked an entire career in a Georgia elementary school. So why, when most other people are making plans to coast into retirement, did she decide it was time to try her hand at something that’s not only intimidating, but also incredibly difficult?
In this episode, Patty discusses her southern roots and upbringing, her career as “the funny teacher” in an elementary school classroom, her decision to do standup comedy, and why working dirty is only a result of finding her authentic self.
For more about Patty, and to learn about her live dates, you can follow her on Instagram at @forehandpatricia.
If you like this episode, please check out our other episodes featuring comedians with inspiring second act stories:
The Wolf of Late Night: Paul Mecurio’s Journey from Wall Street to Comedy
Adam Carolla: The Carpenter Who Built a Legendary Comedy Career
Brian “Q” Quinn’s Impractical Career Shift: Fireman to Funny Man
Second Act Stories theme music: "Between 1 and 3 am" by Echoes
Lawyer to Clown to Children’s Musician: Robert’s Unusual Journey
Robert Markowitz was a criminal defense attorney in Palo Alto, California. But the work caused him a great deal of stress and he started developing all sorts of physical ailments. So he quit and headed to Mexico to escape the job he hated. When he finally returned to the United States, he was 37-years-old, broke and living with his mother back in his boyhood home in New York.
Going through the help wanted section of The New York Times, he came across an advertisement for a company that would train you to be a clown. So he became "Bobo, The Clown" and he started performing at children's birthday parties. "Bobo the Clown" eventually made the transition to "Robert, The Guitar Guy." He has been performing for young children -- mostly 3, 4 and 5 year-olds -- for over 25 years now.
His latest move -- authoring a debut novel called "Clown Shoes." The story is a fictionalized narrative of Robert's major life experiences. And like his performances, the book is fast-moving, funny and highly-entertaining. We hope you'll order a copy on Amazon.
On Patrol: Deputy Royce James Trades Financial Service for Public Service
After growing up in what he describes as the ghettos of Daytona Beach, Royce James spent a decade working as a financial advisor, ultimately reaching the elite level of working with high-net-worth individuals. In spite of that success, he was frustrated by the fact that very few of his clients followed his advice. He knew it was time for a career change, but to what? And was he crazy to leave the security of a solid career for a huge unknown?
One fateful day, looking down at the highway from the Tampa skyscraper where he was working, a revelation struck. Royce saw a line of police vehicles weaving through traffic, blue lights on, and his interest was piqued. Whatever they were doing, it looked cool and he wanted in. That’s when Royce contacted local law enforcement agencies to go on ride-alongs. The very first ride-along, which he describes as “the most mundane law enforcement day ever,” was all he needed to know his next step. He was hooked.
That’s when Royce made the decision to resign from financial service and enter public service. It was a massive uphill climb, moving into his mom’s apartment, going back to a minimum wage job, enrolling in police academy, living on ramen noodles and hot dogs, and slogging through a grueling year-long process that had no guarantee of a job on the other end.
Royce defied the odds at every stage of his career; his grit and determination pulled him through. Today, Deputy Royce James has built a very successful career with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, where his work is regularly chronicled on the Reelz and Peacock show On Patrol: Live. You can tune in and watch him in action every Friday and Saturday night at 9:00 pm ET.
In this episode, Royce discusses how he built his career in financial service, the struggle he faced in making an unlikely career change, and the case he solved that earned him an accolade as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the State of Florida.
Second Act Stories theme music: "Between 1 and 3 am" by Echoes
"I Work With My Hands Everyday"...Ex-KPMG Consultant Finds Bliss Crafting Custom Furniture
Sergio Raynal was at the top of his game. With a staff of 25+, he was responsible for KPMG’s real estate and hospitality consulting for Pacific Asia and the West Coast of the United States.
Woodworking was always a hobby and a way to relieve stress from his high-pressure job. But it became a “side hustle” and eventually a full-time pursuit following a falling out with the management team at KPMG.
“The reward is the sense of accomplishment and creation. That's what I like about working with my hands. I'll sometimes be bone tired. I feel every ache and pain but at the end of the day there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from a day well spent in the shop.”
Sergio uses old-world furniture making and cabinetry techniques – never using a nail or screw in his work. You can view his handiwork at www.SergioReynal.com.
Conference room table built by Sergio Raynal.
Phonograph table created by Sergio Raynal
Custom desk built by Sergio Raynal
'From the Vault' How Noa Shaw, an Overweight Drug Dealer, Became a SoulCycle Instructor
We hope you enjoy this ‘From the Vault’ episode, which reintroduces one of our favorite guests: Noa Shaw.
Noa Shaw has led a hard life. Drugs and alcohol took hold of him at an early age. And he has struggled as both a drug addict and drug dealer for most of his adult life.
But eight years ago his life took a turn for the better when he wandered into a SoulCycle studio that was just opening up in Los Angeles. SoulCycle is a fitness company that is the gold standard in cycling workouts.
After his first workout, he was hooked. For three months, he attended every day – sometimes two workouts per day. He lost 100 pounds and got himself into shape both physically and mentally. The team at SoulCycle saw something in Noa and they invited him to audition as a fitness instructor.
At 57 years old, he is the oldest SoulCycle instructor on the planet. And here in New York City, Noa has built a dedicated following of riders that are inspired by him on a regular basis.
He is a certified life coach and in February 2021 released an inspirational book “Stop Thinking Thoughts That Scare You.”
Noa Shaw can be reached on Instagram (@noashaw26) or by email (email@example.com).
Your New Favorite Podcast!
This podcast beautifully shares inspiring tales of individuals who've reinvented their careers for a more fulfilling life. Each episode, filled with personal narratives and valuable insights, is a must-listen for anyone considering their own second act! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Worth Your Time!
Let me first start off by saying I’m not a fan of podcasts. I find most of them boring with boring subjects. I have a few friends who have podcasts and it’s like pulling teeth to get me to listen to even one episode. I’ve known Scott Merritt for a long time, and I felt I should give it a shot and listen. Boy was I pleasantly surprised. I listened to the episode with Adam Carolla. And quite frankly, I thought… let me give this 10 minutes. I ended up listening to the whole thing from start to finish. Scott asked all the right questions and was genuinely interested in what Adam had to say which held my interest. I definitely felt that Scott had thoroughly prepared for this interview. The podcast quality was excellent as well. I also think the theme of this podcast is smart and something that could potentially draw a lot of people in. Keep up the great work guys!
Outstanding inspirational podcast!
Andy Levine and Scott Merritt do a great job of finding spectacular - and even famous - guests with compelling stories, and asking the questions that make you want more. Production quality is superb, and content is outstanding. I would recommend this podcast to anyone with an interest in hearing inspiring stories from the people who made the leap to find their purpose.