Making the Most of the Second Half of Life: An Encore Career Event

Marci Paul and Helen

The USC Emeriti Center, USC Career Center and the USC Alumni Association presented a town hall-style event on June 6 celebrating the publication of “The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life” written by Marci Alboher, Vice President of

Paul Irving, President of the Milken Institute moderated a conversation with Alboher and Helen Dennis, Specialist in Aging, Employment & the New Retirement along with audience participants who have transitioned into encore careers – second acts for the greater good.

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The USC Emeriti Center executive director, Janette Brown, USC Career Center, alumni director, Lori Shreve Blake and Jaimey Wiener, interim senior director, alumni relations, USC Alumni Association partnered on June 6, 2013 to present a timely discussion with experts in the area of careers, re-careering, and volunteer service. The audience was comprised of USC retirees, USC Alumni, USC Gerontology students, and interested USC Alumni Baby Boomers. ‘Making the Most of the Second Half of Life: An Encore Career Event,’ featured Marci Alboher, a vice president at the nonprofit,, and author of the recently published, The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life.  Paul Irving, president of the Milken Institute, and a member of the board of, moderated a conversation with Alboher, a former New York Times career columnist and Helen Dennis, an expert in aging, employment and retirement.

Brown stated, “The event showcased the center’s belief that when people engage in purposeful and interesting work post retirement, their health and energy improves. The USC Emeriti Center’s culture is one of valuing the wisdom, knowledge, and experience of retired faculty and staff”.  In 2006, the Emeriti Center established USC Trojan Encore. “It’s a way for retired faculty and staff to return to USC in volunteer and paid part-time positions.  Most of our USC retirees choose to volunteer-giving back to USC”.

The audience came to learn about re-careering, applying their current skills and experience in a new career; or supporting their special cause as an ‘encore’ to their previous career or volunteer commitments. Sue Cook, USC Alumna, and John Orr, USC retired Professor Emeritus of Religion shared their own stories. Cook described applying her entrepreneurial skills in business by starting her own business, and her commitment to serve her community in her position as Executive Director of the Arcadia Performing Arts Foundation. Orr is a great example of encore careering, changing his career in ‘later life’ by studying documentary photography and exhibiting his work at many Los Angeles venues. And, as a member of the Hearing Loss Association of Los Angeles’s advocacy committee, Orr consults with movie theater chains and LA performance venues to improve their assistive listening systems, advocating the use of hearing loop and captioning technology.

Each attendee received a copy of Alboher’s book which was included in the event fee. They enthusiastically presented their book to her after the panel discussion. She graciously signed and chatted with each person who stood in line for her signature and her career advice.

by Diana Seyb