Small Biz Boomer

Life Lessons for All Generations

Archive for the category “Baby Boomers”

SXSW: BoomerRise

Now in its 27th  year “South  by Southwest ‘  SXSW interactive/film/music festival indeed has something for everyone.   Thousands from around the world attend the annual event  in Austin, Texas each year.   Still,  the  debate in the news media raged on to  whether “Southby” – the launching pad for  Facebook,  Twitter and  Foursquare – was still cool.  One thing for sure baby boomers , including yours truly, were EVERYWHERE.

The SXSW Interactive speakers menu  was dominated by boomers:   Angel funder/philosopher Guy Kawasaki,  Segway inventor Dean Kamen, astrophysist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Raleigh, North Carolina Mayor Nancy McFarlane and BoomerWiz Blogger Patricia Patton.

I managed to catch a few “selfies” with the famous and not so famous.

Baby boomers were everywhere.


Dean Kamen Talks Leadership and Failure With Guy Kawasaki

Social media guru, entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki interviewed Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of FIRST Robotics competitions at SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin.


Leading Others to the Path of Reinvention: PR Guru Dwain Schenck

Dwain Schneck, author of "Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act"

Dwain Schneck, author of “Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act”

When Dwain Schenck lost his job in 2012 he was in denial for six  months. He had never been out of work and had a long, successful public relations career. He in fact was in many ways a pioneer in the public relations field. Now he is a leader in another arena – personal reinvention – as the author of a new book, “Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act”

Dwain’s career path included  being  director of public relations for AmeriCares and director of communications for Quantel.  He also had his own public relations consulting business for many years before taking a job as Vice President of Communications for a Fortune 500 corporation. It was that job that would lead Dwain to his latest path of reinvention when he was let go. “I have found there are two kinds of ways people deal with losing a job in this economy: there are those who look at it as a market reality and are practical about the situation and say to themselves ‘it’s just a bad economy, it’s not my fault’ and they move on and usually find a new job or a source of income and satisfaction, ” Dwain said. ” Then there are those on the other side of the ledger: those who are emotionally devastated from their job loss and feel like they’ll never work again. I definitely fell into that category,” he said.

In his book Dwain describes his own journey after his firing which included a furtive and depressing job search. Throughout that time period he confided in friends including MSNBC”Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski who herself had gone through a devastating and public job loss at CBS. Dwain remained depressed and it was Mika who pointed out to him his unique  communications style and candor and suggested writing the book—for no other reason than to help others learn how to keep their sanity through their job search.  After some rumination he began to rebuild his life and now, in addition to writing the new book and making speaking engagements and media appearances he has formed Schenck Strategies LLC (, a boutique corporate communications agency.

Still, his greatest passion is helping other people who have suffered the pain of job loss.  Indeed, “Reset” is a road map for those who need to quell the initial shock of being fired , forgive themselves before moving on and  to take that next steps in their careers and lives.  Dwain and his business associates have created a web site that serves as a resource and offers an open discussion platform for the suddenly unemployed to get moral support on an ongoing basis (

“If you live long enough and have the ability to step outside yourself once in a while, you realize your problems are not unique – say from your neighbor’s problems,” Dwain said.

Start New

Self-forgiveness is probably one of the  most underrated traits  necessary for successful business ventures.  We make a mistake or we blow a pitch or  we hurt a business colleague,  friend or family members’ feelings (unintentionally of course).  Hope is the anecdote to mistakes.  It’s about   you can and will be given another opportunity to right the wrong,  strut your stuff and make a difference . We all have the ability to keep moving forward.




For 27 years Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, prior to that he was a man of many passions, a lawyer, a boxer, a husband and a father. His quest to end the travesty of apartheid got him there but he grew from the experience. When he emerged from prison at age 70, he was a new man and he became one of the world’s great leaders. He not on transformed himself but his country of South Africa.  He passed at age 95 last Friday but he left us with his amazing wisdom.

Diana Does Cuba To Florida

Apparently the fifth time was the charm.   64-year old Diana Nyad today completed a record swim from Cuba to Florida. Go Girl!

From 50 Years Ago : Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech

Last weekend started a series of activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.  Here is a video of the iconic speech given at the march by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Memories from Talford Street: A Mentor Extradonaire

I grew up on Cleveland’s East Side in a middle class  neighborhood.   My mom and her girlfriends would play bridge  at  one of the homes on Talford Street while us kids played outdoors  rode our bikes, played kickball in the street,  caught lightning bugs or would gather in the basement to watch “The Twilight Zone” or “Ghoulardi.”     On weekends our Dads would gather at Mr Pace’s house on Talford Street to watch sports and barbecue.   Often my family would join the families of Talford Street on   trips to the West Side  Euclid Beach Amusement Park or , Punderson State Park Lodge  in the winter and the Jersey Shore in the summer.

The  families central hangout on Talford Street was the home of   Louis and Gloria Chapmon .  I came to know the couple as Mr. Chapmon and Aunt Gloria.  Later “Gloria” would become a lifelong mentor  when she hired me for my first job at age 11.  Eventually the lure of  the suburbs resulted in my parent’s  friends moving from Talford Street.   Still come Christmas at least we would  all gather at the Chapmons in the Cleveland suburb of Bedford, Ohio.    Aunt Gloria, a native of Bermuda,  was always a glamorous host and great story-teller.  Part of her accent remained.

"Aunt" Gloria

“Aunt” Gloria

Aunt Gloria   was a school  official for the City of Cleveland for much of her career and a  was a Legacy Life member of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) .     She was also  close associate of Dr. Dorothy Height .  In fact Dr. Height attended  her  son’s funeral and her daughter’s wedding.  We all attended the  many luncheons and weekend activities for the many organizations that Aunt Gloria belonged – even on weekends during my college days when I would visit home,  my mom and I would go to one of “Gloria’s luncheons.”  In fact Aunt Gloria would come to Washington, D.C. and take me to events sponsored by NCNW.

She was also member of  the  sorority  Eti Phi Beta Sorority where she served as national president.  She was also honored with several awards from   numerous organizations and individuals  including  Congressman Louis Stokes (D-Ohio),  NCNW and the NAACP.

Growing up in  Bermuda   she   was a playmate to then Princess Elizabeth.  No surprise the Queen held audience with her former chum a couple of times .    Aunt Gloria also  traveled with  Leon Sullivan’s African Summit with her daughter to  Gabon, Morocco,  Zimbabwe and South Africa.  Hers was a life well lived for herself and for others.   She also met with Nelson Mandela at the South African Presidential Palace.

Aunt Gloria, Her Mom and Her Son in front of Buckingham Palace

Aunt Gloria, Her Mom and Her Son in front of Buckingham Palace

We all need people who can see in us something that others don’t see or can’t seem to grasp.    For me it was my “Aunt Gloria” who while not a blood relative was every bit as important in helping to shape the fabric of  the woman I am today and the woman I hope to become.    She passed two weeks ago but I still see her smile and  hear her laugh.

Turning the Car Around

It is very important for me to think win-win. That is not the case for some people who need their word to be gospel. They mean well but they find your growth or your self-ownership invalidating. They use words or acts to sabotage or bring you down.

We often define these people as “playa haters.” Unfortunately, not all of the folks in your life that are envious or controlling are strangers. Sometimes you have to “gas up” yourself and head down the road in a more positive direction.

Hey We Know How to Be Disruptive! We Invented It!

There’s a lot of talk these days in the  media about being disruptive.  Disruptive  meaning changing the world through technology and digital product invention.    Amazingly a lot of the  young tech, and marketing  geniuses I currently admire  wear  the same long-shaggy haired  looks, baggyy jeans and granny glasses  as some of my friends did during my college days in the 1970s.

Being disruptive is who we are as Americans.   Back in the 1960s and  1970s  thousands of baby boomers  took to the streets to demand civil rights and change America’ landscape  racially and economically.   Still other boomers, tinkered with the new technology while in their garages and dorm rooms  –  Bill Gates, Steven Case and the  Steve Jobs –  inventing products that changed the techno-eco landscape and the  way the world connects and communicates  forever.

Today’s revolution involves  hundreds of  young developers and inventors who want to make the world a better place.   Many of them  are the subject of mainstream media focus but  baby boomers still have a place in this techno-eco revolution  – we invented it.

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