Reprinted from the NYTimes April 2018 By Kerry Hannon
Two years ago I hosted a webinar for therapists over 50. Since that time I have been looking for different ways to support my over 50 colleagues ( myself included). One easy way is to share information, and here for starters is a great article.
For Susan Golden, now 64, flinging on a backpack filled with books and rambling around the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, Calif., for a year in 2016 was “like drinking from a fire hose,” she said. “There was so much to learn, so many classes and lectures I could attend.”
She graduated that year from the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute, operated in partnership with the Stanford Center on Longevity. Each academic year 25 fellows, who have had two or three decades of a successful career, are selected to attend the program and to enroll in classes across the university.
Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, a yearlong program for corporate executives and professionals interested in applying their skills to social problems, operates with a similar concept. The program’s fellows (for 2018, 48 were selected from more than 550 applicants) get to audit courses at the university and its graduate schools and develop independent projects with professors and fellow students.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a Harvard Business School professor who is director of the leadership initiative, said the program was started “to deploy a new leadership force of people transitioning from their main career to their next years of service.”
Todd Fisher, 52, a fellow in Harvard’s program, was ready for a new challenge. He was a global chief administrative officer and partner of the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company and, he said, “I wanted to fundamentally shift my career.”
When Mr. Fisher turned 50, he heard about the program and started to make his plan. “I was nervous about finding my new career,” he said. “I’m the type of guy who wants to go get things done. I felt it would be valuable for me to be in a stimulating environment, where I had to develop different routines and to detox, or reprogram.”
This semester, Mr. Fisher is enrolled in a course on community colleges and another on leaders and leadership in history at the Harvard Kennedy School. His aim is to figure out his “next direction, to have a little bit of fun, make some new friends and to broaden my perspective and life,” he said. “I did not retire in the classic sense of the word. I do want to throw myself into something else: a true second career.”
In addition to the Stanford and Harvard programs, there are a handful of other educational programs for Gen Xers and baby boomers eyeing a second act.
Later this year, for example, the University of Notre Dame will start the Inspired Leadership Initiative, a one-year program for “accomplished leaders at the end of their careers.”
The University of Texas at Austin will also welcome later this year its first cadre for its nine-month Tower Fellows Program for those who “have built a career of major accomplishments (20 to 30 years) and who now seek to deepen their knowledge and/or embrace new fields.”