What second career ideas are you considering? The best second career jobs aren’t often posted on job sites – you create them. One approach is to build a portfolio career, consisting of several activities that leverage your skills, experience, and interests. Our guest, Kate Schaefers, shares her story of how she created a portfolio career – and her observations on how Baby Boomers and organizations are evolving.
I discuss with Kate:
- What led her to build a portfolio career.
- How the Advanced Careers Initiative at the University of Minnesota was created – and how it works.
- What attracts people to the program.
- The benefits, and perhaps challenges, of multigenerational groups.
- Her perspective on working in the second half of life.
- The role of lifelong learning.
- What innovative organizations are doing to tap into the skills and knowledge of older workers.
- The mission of The Encore Network.
- Her advice on how to create a portfolio career/life.
Kate joins us from Minnesota.
Kate Schaefers weaves a portfolio of work into a career with one unifying theme: to help individuals and organizations shine. She is Executive Director, University of Minnesota Advanced Careers (UMAC) Initiative, a gap year for experienced professionals as they transition from career jobs into meaningful post-career lives. She is a psychologist and leadership coach, partnering with leaders and organizations to strengthen leadership competencies and organizational effectiveness. She is an adjunct psychologist and coach with The Bailey Group.
Kate is a skilled educator, facilitator and trainer. She has taught graduate-level courses at both the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas and was part of a team of educators that designed a coaching certificate program.
Kate is actively involved in nonprofit and community work. She is Volunteer State President of AARP-MN, convening the AARP Executive Council and contributing to local and regional strategies for the organization, especially around the aging workforce, intergenerational teams and caregiving. Kate was appointed to the Citizens Commission on Minnesota’s Aging Workforce.
She is a member of the Encore Network, a founding board member of SHIFT, and a member of Pollen Midwest. She received the Jules Kerlan Outstanding Achievement Award in 2012 from the Minnesota Career Development Association for contributions to the field of career development.
On Building a Portfolio Career
“It’s hard to find a ready-made cookie-cutter job when what you’re wanting to do is something new – and something that there’s no job description for. So this is how I ended up coming to a portfolio career. I looked at my skills, I tried to distill down what am I good at? What stands out with me? How do I make sense of all of the things that I can do – and create this brand around what I want to do? And so, I struggled with that for a while. I ended up saying yes to a lot of things. Some of them were from paid work, just to broaden my horizons, some was unpaid work and some was volunteer work…So I just took all of these things and tried to look at what skills do I have? How do I redeploy them? And then how do I tell a story about the work I want to do next?”
On the Multigenerational Teams
“Our workforce is intergenerational. So we have four generations in the workplace today – some say five. We still have some of the silent generation in the workplace. Yet most college students learn in an age-segregated environment. And so if we talk about even preparing them for the workplace, they’re not necessarily having those discussions and conversations in a way that reflects what they’re going to experience when they get out of college and then move into the workplace. And we also do know in the workplace that diversity is so important, including age diversity. It enhances performance and creativity. Multi-generational teams in the workplace tend to perform better. I do think some organizations are understanding that when you connect the generations, you can fuel innovation and productivity.”
On Following a Path with Heart & Generosity
“You need to be curious, you need to learn from people, you need to reach out, and you need to build your network. Also, you need to have a level of trust. Trust that you’ll figure it out. You have to have a level of Okay, I may not know what I’m doing, but it’s okay – I’ll figure it out. Follow a path with heart, give back to others, tell your story in a compelling way, work with generosity, pay it back, pay it forward – just put it out there, with generosity.”
Kate Schaefers on LinkedIn
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