• June 2014

The Success Issue: How Will You Bloom in Act 2 of Your Life?

What happens when you are so successful in your business that you have all the financial security you worked so hard for—and now, anything is bloomin’ possible?

Sounds fantastic, right? But think about it. You can do anything you want. Literally, anything. What will you choose?

“The answer may be harder to come up with than you think,” admits Ana Dutra, 50, the former CEO of Korn Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting, where she created a $300 million global business before retiring last year. “Now, I have so many options—I need to step back and assess where I want to go. Yes, it’s a great problem to have. But still, it’s a challenge.”

Dutra is not alone. As more successful execs retire, they report being faced with the same dilemma.

“All baby boomers will have reached age 55 or older by 2020, and a large portion of this population will continue to work,” according to a recent Department of Labor report. That may be due to financial obligation or desire, or a little of both, explains the 12th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. Conducted among 4,080 American workers, the survey results show that more than half (54 percent) said they intend to keep working once they retire from their current career, and 39 percent said they plan to work past age 70.

With “Act 2” on the horizon for so many, we dedicate the June 2014 issue of Be Inkandescent magazine to shining a light on this important next phase:

  • Our Book of the Month is The Book of Awakening, by Mark Nepo. The philosopher-poet and cancer survivor offers a summons to savor the beauty offered by life’s unfolding.
  • This month’s Self-Help column features 10 Guideposts to keep in mind for Act 2, courtesy of popular sociologist Brené Brown: The Gifts of Imperfection.
  • “To know your future you must know your past,” said philosopher George Santayana. So don’t miss this month’s featured History column by author and publisher David Bruce Smith, featuring Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

We leave you with this parting thought from poet and musician James Taylor, who sang: “We could never have guessed, we were already blessed, there we were, where we are.”

Here’s to your Inkandescent success. — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine • author PR Rules: The Playbook • founder and president, Inkandescent Public Relations

Photos by Anna Paige Gibbs See more of her work in this month’s Photography column.

Ana Dutra Asks: What Will Your "Second Act" Be?

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH: JUNE 2014

Former senior global advisor for Humantelligence Ana Dutra: Her Life After Corporate America

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Publisher
Be Inkandescent

When long-time corporate exec Ana Dutra retired last year on the brink of turning 50, she was ready for a new adventure.

For six years, she had been the CEO of Korn Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting, where she created a $300 million global business using a combination of organic growth, multiple acquisitions, innovative go-to-market approaches, and incorporation of technology and digitization of products and services.

Prior to that, the Brazilian native—who holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a Master in Economics from Pontificia Universidade do Rio de Janeiro, and a Juris Doctor from Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, all summa cum laude—spent decades as an executive, consultant, and business leader in industries such as technology, manufacturing, and professional services.

“I had accomplished everything I’d ever dreamed of in the corporate world,” she explains. “Then one day, I looked at my life and knew that I needed a change.”

In 2013, she launched Mandala Global Advisors, and also became a senior global advisor for Humantelligence, a technology solutions company.

And that’s not all. A book deal is in the offing, as are other investments and ideas that Dutra hopes to pursue. “The problem with having a lot of options open to you is that it can be hard to know which one to choose,” she admits.

Dutra knows she’s not alone. In fact, she coined the crossroads as “The Second Act Dilemma.”

What does she mean by that? And what can business leaders do to gracefully find their way to the next phase of their career?

Scroll down for our Q&A with Dutra from her home in Chicago.

And click here to listen to our entire podcast interview on Inkandescent Radio: The Voice of Entrepreneurs.


Be Inkandescent: You have had tremendous success in the business world, so before we launch into what’s happening in your present life—let’s look back at the last few decades. Tell us about your career.

Ana Dutra: I was brought up in a very global family. We spent our summers in different countries, and that made me want to be a diplomat. So I studied law and economics. And I shadowed a couple of people who are diplomats in Brazil at the time that IBM was starting to recruit. I got the job! Then, one day I was in my office and a colleague of mine walked in and said he was coming to say good-bye because he was heading to the US to get his MBA. I thought, what a great idea. I got into five schools, and chose Kellogg because I had a background in economics and knew the school’s program was based on collaboration and teamwork, and was also strong in marketing. I came to the US with my husband with the goal of staying for two years. And 21 years, three children, and five jobs later, we’re still going strong.

Be Inkandescent: Let’s talk about what led you to coin the phrase, “The Second Act Dilemma.”

Ana Dutra: This was born from not just my own self-reflection but from conversations with others who have finished up one big career, but refuse to say that they are “retired.” When you have the energy and the drive to keep working, being 50 (or 60, or 70) means nothing. More importantly, we are asking ourselves what is next. Believe me, everyone I’ve talked to about this knows that they are in a privileged position. But still, there is a challenge because you know that the Second Act might bring so much more ambiguity into your life. The other issue we all seem to be wrestling with is what defines ourselves as individuals and as leaders. I am hoping to figure out what my purpose is in life. That’s not easy, but to me it’s essential.

Be Inkandescent: Why do you think so many successful people are struggling with this phase?

Ana Dutra: I believe it’s because most people are taught what success should look like. It could be messages from family, parents, bosses, teachers, and mentors—or what they see in business or society. This recipe for success is usually based on achievements, promotions, and status. But I’ve come across way too many people who, despite all those achievements, tell me that they are miserable. That’s when they start to ask if “success” was worth the time and energy and sacrifice.

Be Inkandescent: Do you see a way around the dilemma?

Ana Dutra: In my new role with Mandala Global Advisors, I meet a lot of CEOs and I ask them: When you are gone from this world, what do you want the people who cared most about you to remember about you? Most people pause, not knowing how to answer. They think about it, and while the answers differ slightly, I’ve never heard anyone say, “I want them to remember that I was the best operator in my company,” or “I made more money than the other guy.” Rather, they want their kids, spouse, and best friends to remember that they were inspiring, caring, and devoted. The good news is that it’s never too late. The key is to create behaviors that match the legacy you want to leave behind. This Second Act is your chance to be who you want to be.

Be Inkandescent: Give us some insight into what’s next for you in your Second Act?

Ana Dutra: As soon as I cut the umbilical cord to my traditional career path, I enrolled in a yoga teacher training—not because I wanted to be a yoga teacher, because I’m not good enough at it, but I thought I’d get into the wellness business. And, to the horror of my children, I bought an electric guitar and took lessons. Then I started assessing my options. It turns out the list of things I do not want to do is pretty clear. I’m a very competitive person and since I no longer have the day-to-day responsibility to increase marketshare, I look for personal challenges. It helps me keep an open mind, and in doing so I have met fascinating people. I’m very comfortable with ambiguity, and I’m excited to see what’s next.

Don’t stop now! Click here to read Dutra’s Second-Act Tips for Entrepreneurs. And click here to download our podcast interview on the Inkandescent Radio Network.

10 Leadership Lessons From James Madison University President Jon Alger

“Change requires leadership,” writes Martha Graham, James Madison University’s Be the Change coordinator.

“Someone has to step up and draw others to help. But perhaps most important are leaders who roll up their own sleeves, reach out, connect, and do so in a spirit of gratitude,” she writes in JMU’s blog, Be the Change.

That’s servant leadership, Graham insists, pointing to JMU President Jon Alger who shared 10 leadership lessons from James Madison in a recent speech to the Massanutten District, Stonewall Jackson Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Alger’s insights will certainly resonate with business leaders, as well.

10 Ways to Use Your Gifts, Talents, and Passion to Become a Servant Leader

JMU President Jon Alger says:

  1. Realize that leaders come in all shapes, sizes, and personality types. The president told the group of a friend who was quite soft-spoken. As a Supreme Court advocate, he would begin every argument by agreeing with much of the opposing counsel’s argument. “But,” he would say softly, “there are a few key issues.” At that point, everyone was listening, Alger said. “Leaders can have different types of personalities,” he said. They can be loud or introverted, but being “polite, honest, and respectful” is key.
  2. Be authentic. Early in his career, during an annual review by two senior lawyers in his firm, one reviewer got right in Alger’s face and told him he’d never make it. “You’re not tough enough. You don’t make people cry.” The other attorney countered. “Bob is Bob,” he said, referring to the first lawyer. “You need to be the best Jon you can be.” It is, Alger said, the best career advice he ever got. Be who you are—and be the best you can be.
  3. Use your gifts. “All of us have something to contribute,” Alger said. Find something you care deeply about and pursue it. And he added, look for mentors who can help you identify and make the most of your gifts.
  4. Realize that we are all interconnected, and express gratitude. It is important, he said, to “take that time to notice all those people around us who are making your life better—and thank them.” He made special mention of the people “behind the scenes,” those who don’t always get the accolades but whose work and contributions are valuable. People at JMU, for instance, who make the campus beautiful or who smile at students in the dining halls, contributing to a friendly campus climate. “We all need each other,” he added.
  5. Find the good and praise it. Quoting the late author Alex Haley, Alger said to “find the good and praise it.” Civil discourse is in short supply, and we need to “model and encourage constructive conduct.” Encourage, praise, be thankful—and say ‘thank you.’ Gratitude is powerful.
  6. Listen, and learn from others. “We don’t have all the answers,” he said. “There’s great strength and power in listening to the people around you.” Such listening is part of continual and lifelong learning. Citing his own listening tour—his first major initiative after coming to the university in 2012 —Alger reported the excellent comments and conversations he had as a result of taking the time to listen.
  7. Continue to develop critical thinking skills. Critical thinking, learning to ask the right questions, and especially refusing to assume that things can’t change are critical to leadership. He cited a program at Rutgers University, his former post, that looked at students in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus. “No students were [coming to Rutgers] from schools in our own backyard. … It wasn’t the easiest place to grow up,” he said, of the school districts with a 50 percent drop-out rate. The university created a program that identified 7th graders with academic potential, offered them mentoring, and made them an offer: If they earned admittance—on their own—to Rutgers, they would receive a full tuition scholarship. He reported that the first cohort graduated this year; of the group, 90 percent went on to college.
  8. Engage in deliberate ethical reasoning, and ask key questions. A key component of leadership is to “engage in ethical reasoning,” Alger said. He cited a 2013 report published by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The survey of top CEOs revealed that 93 percent believe that a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.* He talked about how JMU’s new program, Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action, addresses that need. The collaborative seeks to teach every student how to apply critical thinking in every facet of their lives. It is an ambitious program, but an important one. When it was first introduced to the Class of 2017 in August, Alger said, they were “surprised to learn how many students had never gotten this before.”
  9. Don’t be afraid of failure. “You can’t be afraid of failure.” In fact, Alger said, “if you don’t fail sometimes, it probably means you’re not reaching high enough in the first place.” Failure is a great teacher.
  10. Dream BIG and give back. Alger talked about the importance of big dreams. “Those big dreams are important. They create vision, ” he said, remembering President John F. Kennedy’s dream to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Not only did it inspire us, the dream led to hundreds of by-products, he said. Along with those dreams, he added, it’s important to “constantly think about how you can give back.” One way is to create a legacy by passing on these lessons of vision and leadership and service to others.

Read more postings on the “Be the Change” blog at jmubethechange.wordpress.com.

Photo: by Jim Milham, BSA, of JMU President Jon Alger with Eagle Scout Hunter Morton (JMU 2017).

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

– Winston Churchill

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

– Nelson Mandela

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

– Charles R. Swindoll

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

– Carlos Castaneda

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

– JFK

You don’t love someone because of their looks or their clothes or their car. You love them because they sing a song only your heart can understand.”

– L.J. Smith

As each woman realizes her power, she transforms the world.”

– Patrice Wynne, WomanSpirit Sourcebook

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

Do you have the desire to create something new; the strength of conviction to believe your creation will be successful, and the reservoir of energy necessary to thrust it into the marketplace?”

– Steven Schussler

The dove descending breaks the air / With flame of inkandescent terror.”

– T.S. Eliott

I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun.”

– John D. Rockefeller

If people like you they’ll listen to you; if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

– Zig Ziglar

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”

– Charles Dickens

Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.”

– J.K. Rowling

You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”

– Mae West

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

– Albert Einstein

A truly forgiving person is someone who experiences all the anger merited by injustice and still acts with fairness and compassion.”

– Martha Beck

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”

– Thomas Edison

Do one thing every day that scares you.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve come to confirm that one’s title, even that of president, says little about how well one’s life has been led. No matter how much you’ve done, or how successful you’ve been, there’s always more to do, to learn, and to achieve.”

– Barack Obama

The gem cannot be polished without friction; nor man perfected without trials.”

– Chinese proverb

If you do not tell the truth about yourself
, you cannot tell it about other people.”

– Virginia Woolf

I always maintained that the greatest obstacle in life isn’t danger, it’s boredom. The battle against it is responsible for most of the events in the world — good or ill.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”

– Annie Dillard

A man without a smiling face
 should not open a shop.”

– Chinese Proverb

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

– Groucho Marx

The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.”

– Tony Robbins

When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Are you willing to help other people succeed even when it’s not a requirement of your job to be of assistance?”

– Steven Schussler

You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.”

– Goldie Hawn

Inspiration and genius — one and the same.”

– Victor Hugo

Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”

– Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”

– Helen Keller

If it really was a no-brainer to make it on your own in business there’d be millions of no-brained, harebrained individuals quitting their day jobs.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.”

– William James

The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

– Buddha

We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”

– General Omar Bradley

Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

– Woodrow Wilson

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

– Steve Jobs

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. 
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.”

– Mary Jean Irion

If you would create something,
 you must be something.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We never know how high we are
 till we are called to rise;
 And then, if we are true to plan,
 Our statures touch the skies.”

– Emily Dickinson

Success is the necessary misfortune of life, but it is only to the very unfortunate that it comes early.”

– Anthony Trollope

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”

– Jesse Jackson

Death is to lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.”

– Thomas Wolfe

We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”

– General Omar Bradley

No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.”

– Martha Beck, from "Leaving the Saints"

You don’t go into a field that requires cracking people’s heads open or operating on something as delicate as the spinal cord unless you are comfortable with taking risks.”

– Dr. Ben Carson

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