Making a career change at 50 isn’t something you should do on a whim. It takes planning and savvy networking to create the right encore career in the non-profit sector. Our guest on this podcast, Betsy Werley, of Encore.org, made such a transition to an encore career to the not-for-profit world herself after a successful business career. And she’s helped many people make smart transitions to second careers.
We discuss with Betsy:
- What led her to pursue an encore career in the non-profit sector
- Why the missions of The Transition Network and Encore.org attracted her
- What the transition was like coming from the corporate arena into the non-profit world
- The benefits – and challenges – of second act careers
- How volunteering helps pave the way
- The biggest obstacle many people face in landing the right non-profit role
- Her advice for people considering a move into a non-profit encore career
- What resources people should tap into when considering a career in the non-profit sector
Betsy joins us from New York City.
Betsy Werley is Encore.org’s Director, Network Expansion. She has dedicated this phase of her career to building the encore movement and making later life a time of opportunity and contribution.
Betsy moved to the nonprofit sector in 2005, as The Transition Network’s first Executive Director. She led that organization through a growth phase from one chapter to 12. Her encore transition was profiled in Marc Freedman’s The Big Shift and Kerry Hannon’s What’s Next?
In her Transition Network role, she was a founding member of Coming of Age New York City and the Encore Network Steering Committee. Betsy joined Encore.org in 2013 as an Innovation Fellow, expanding connections between Encore.org and on-the-ground programs in the US and around the world.
Betsy spent the first 26 years of her career as a corporate lawyer and a business executive at JPMorgan Chase. She served as a long-time board member and President of the Financial Women’s Association, and in 2002, launched a mentoring program for Baruch College undergraduate women business majors.
In 2017 she received Baruch’s Community Partner Award for her leadership of that program. Betsy has also been honored as the 2019 recipient of the PSS Impact Award for Leadership in Positive Aging. Betsy is frequently quoted by the media and invited to speak on issues related to older adults as assets in society.
“I think people should always be aware – and people should always think life is long and thee people around me now are people with whom I want to maintain a positive relationship with. And to know that at some point they would think of you if they are looking for something – and you would think of them. And sometimes, I think people don’t realize how big a network they have already. So your dentist is in your network. Your doorman is in your network. That guy who sells you your car is in your network. So with that specific message of ‘Here’s what I’m looking for’, those are all networks that you can tap. So I think one challenge for a lot of people is that they are shy about leveraging their networks and saying to people, just for the heck of it,‘I hear something, I wonder if you have any advice for me. So really talking to people and learning how to leverage the networks that they actually have. It’s pretty diverse.”
“You can certainly start out getting involved in volunteering in Board work while you are continuing to do your day job. In fact, I strongly recommend that to anyone I talk to as they’re looking ahead at a future career in the non-profit sector – so they can make connections. Tthey can build credibility, they can learn what they like and what they don’t like. And that will stand them in good stead at a time when perhaps they can afford to transition to the non-profit sector. And certainly, I advocate volunteering of all kinds during people’s whole career. I think it’s extremely important because it builds skills. It allows you to incorporate passion into the whole portfolio of your life in a way that your job may not. So again, I think people can build toward a later nonprofit job while still getting a lot of the satisfaction of engaging in the nonprofit sector. Even while they’re heads down in a for-profit day job.”
On Creating an Encore Career
“I encourage people to start now. I love David Brooks’ formulation, encouraging people to switch their thinking from their resume to their eulogy at their funeral. What is the impact you want to make in the world? And how can you start out on a journey that will allow you to bring your skills and your passion to make that impact that you want to make.”
For More on Betsy Werley
(Full disclosure: Joe Casey & Retirement Wisdom are members of The Encore Network)
Resources Recommended in this Podcast
The Encore Career Handbook by Marci Alboher
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