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Encore Careers: Strengths, Challenges, and Passions with Bruce Boyd

You’ve built a legacy within your business. Now what? For Bruce Boyd, the next step was pursing an “encore career” that explored new sectors and new passions. Read below for his insights on these transitions and a sneak peek of his session at our Legacy Conference on September 29!


Bruce Boyd


How did you find courage to leave the day-to-day operations of your primary business, change directions, and innovate and take risks associated with your next venture? 

Changing direction is often about leveraging your strengths in new ways.  After I sold the pump works, I became a senior manager at The Nature Conservancy, a large nonprofit, where I was able to deploy the skills I developed in running a business in building and developing a nonprofit enterprise.  Our “product” at the Conservancy was preservation of important and beautiful places, a bit more compelling than sump pumps, and I found the work enormously rewarding. Because of my business experience, I was able to make a big impact at the Conservancy. Many of our clients at Arabella have made a similar switch.  In their case, most often deploying their business, finance, legal or other skills as volunteer leaders with organizations whose mission they find compelling.


What challenges did you face when you pursued your next professional path?

One of the greatest challenges is letting go.  Distancing yourself from an enterprise in which you are deeply invested, emotionally and otherwise, is not easy.  In some cases, clients have sold businesses which makes moving to an encore career easier.  In other cases, leaders have transferred responsibility for management to someone else leaving them the flexibility to pursue other endeavors.  In some cases, leaders remain in a leadership role while carving out time for causes about which they are passionate.  There is no right approach but being intentional about pursuit of an encore career is critical.


How important are curiosity and vulnerability when learning about and exploring a new passion?

When I joined the Conservancy, I brought a passion about the Conservancy’s work and knowledge about how to turn around a struggling business, but no real knowledge of conservation or the nonprofit sector.  Feeling “incompetent” in those areas was uncomfortable but I looked at it as an opportunity to learn.  I was going back to school, in a sense, and I loved that.  It didn’t take me long to know quite a lot about conservation and the nonprofit world.


How does the concept of your legacy show up in the businesses you no longer operate but continue to own?

A founder’s values have an enduring impact on the company he owns.  Those values can be deepened and enhanced by a founder who engages in activities that support the well-being of people and the planet.  My experience is that employees admire a leader who dedicates time and energy to improving the lives of others.

Meet Bruce and other Legacy Speakers at our conference on Sept. 29th.  Register today!


Bruce Boyd, Arabella Advisors

Bruce Boyd is a Principal and Managing Director at Arabella Advisors, a social impact consulting firm whose clients include many of the country’s leading philanthropists and impact investors.  Bruce works with individuals, families, foundations and companies to design, implement and evaluate programs that address critical social and environmental problems.

Bruce started his career as a lawyer, but left the law to purchase a manufacturing company out of bankruptcy which he later sold.  Bruce then joined The Nature Conservancy where he was a senior leader for 13 years.  Bruce launched Arabella’s Chicago office in 2007, one of four Arabella offices across the country.  Bruce received his law degree from the University of Chicago and studied business at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of  Management.


Thank you, Bruce, for taking the time to share your insights! To hear more from Bruce, register for our Legacy Conference. To keep up with our blog posts, like our Facebook Page!


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