Beginning My Journey
I’ve been so fortunate in life – a wonderful family, interesting work, close friends, financial stability. All of that is inspiring my new endeavor with This Point Forward, an organization that helps people facing retirement or other new directions make the next phase of their life as wonderful as it can be.
I have been making this journey. For my first career, I worked for the Social Security Administration for 36 years in a variety of jobs, the last 10 as the Deputy Commissioner of Systems directing the agency’s technology. My passion was developing and using technology to improve American lives.
When I retired 10 years ago, it was challenging. I didn’t want to just sit around but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I just knew I had to use this opportunity to explore different interests. Assessing my skills and interests in technology, travel, and community involvement, I began to pursue a variety of opportunities. I started my own consulting business which advised several companies and government agencies.
My wife and I love to travel, so we went to South Africa, Namibia, Norway, Scotland, England, Hawaii, the Southwest USA, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Italy and France.
I also began to advise other countries on how to use technology to improve their Social Security systems. For one week each year, I taught an international technology course in Turin, Italy to people from around the world. We talked about things like how to provide social security benefits to citizens who had no access to technology other than a basic cell phone; how to authenticate citizens so they could go online to pursue benefits such as banking, job searches, and government benefits; and, how to secure some of the most private data about citizens the government holds.
I held international conferences in Switzerland, South Korea, and Barbados. Unfortunately, in September 2017 during a conference of Caribbean countries in Barbados, Hurricane Irma hit severely damaging many of the islands the members were from. The focus instantly pivoted from automation challenges to disaster assessment and recovery.
Volunteering was another opportunity I wanted to pursue. Howard County and Columbia have provided so much for my family that I wanted to give back. I served on my local Village Board, helped local foundations with technology, chaired the educational foundation of the Howard County School System and judged National History Day in College Park.
Next Life Phase and You
Now, after 10 years, I retired again at the beginning of this year. Looking for new challenges, I am helping establish a new non-profit foundation, This Point Forward, where we assist others with their life journey. In 2021, we will offer a workshop in Looking Forward to 2021 where we will discuss the current challenges in employment, retirement, health and volunteering and begin discussing ways to deal with these and move forward to achieve your goals. Throughout the year, we will offer workshops on identifying your strengths and passions, planning your retirement, understanding health insurance, finding a job, writing a resume, using new technologies, and using your skills to be an effective volunteer. Stay tuned for dates and the opportunity to sign up.
We have an accomplished and skilled board at This Point Forward that wants to help you with your next life journey. I hope that you will join us to explore your opportunities.