• 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).

The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.”

– Marcel Proust

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

– Joseph Campbell

The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

– Brian Tracy

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

– Tony Robbins

My goal was to tell the life side of the story. We have become a nation of voyeurs that expect sensationalism, and that offends me.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.”

– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

– Christopher Robin to Pooh

There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”

– John Lennon

The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

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

Treat the attainment of happiness in the same way an entrepreneur would approach building a business — with a vision, plan, goals, and a systematic approach.”

– Ted Leonsis

Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.”

– Jack Kerouac

It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.”

– Aristotle

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

– Groucho Marx

I was taught at a very young age that you can do whatever you want to, but you have to make it happen — not just talk about it.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens?
 A terrible thing: no one to blame.”

– Erica Jong

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

– Patrice Wynne, WomanSpirit Sourcebook

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”

– Abraham Lincoln

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in your room.”

– A wisdomism

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

– Goldie Hawn

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

– Henry Miller

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.”

– Thomas Dunn

Do one thing every day that scares you.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities.”

– W.E.B. Du Bois

If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.”

– Robert Fritz

The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.”

– August Rush

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

– Martha Beck

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

– Helen Keller

Tolerance and patience should not be read as signs of weakness. They are signs of strength.”

– The Dalai Lama

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

– T.S. Eliott

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

– T.S. Eliot

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

– Henry David Thoreau

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

– Magical

I’m not afraid of storms,
for I’m learning to sail my ship.”

– Louisa May Alcott

You must have chaos within you, to create a dancing star.”

– Frederic Nietzsche

Do you believe it is important to give back some portion of your wealth to support charitable causes?”

– Steven Schussler

Confidence is the most important thing you can teach someone… if you can teach them confidence, you don’t have to teach them anything else.”

– Vin Diesel

Never cut what you can untie.”

– Joseph Joubert

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
 what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The goal of Life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.”

– Joseph Cambell

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

Entrepreneurs willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets.”

– Victor Kiam

Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.”

– Lord Chesterfield

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity.”

– Ray Bradbury

A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.”

– Albert Schweitzer

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”

– Andrew Carnegie

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

– Charles Darwin

The only way to compel men to speak good of us is to do it.”

– Voltaire

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