After a year at the helm of the Encore Fellowships team, Anne Kirwan left to pursue her next challenge. Anne left the program in great shape with exciting new opportunities in place and on the horizon. I speak for the entire EFN community in wishing her the best and expressing our gratitude for all she accomplished.

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Encore Fellowship program, and I remember clearly when we launched it as a 10-fellow pilot in 2009. In the intervening decade, nearly 2,000 Encore Fellows™ across 25 states – we just placed of our first fellow in Wyoming! – delivered an estimated $200 million in value to the nonprofit sector. I’m privileged to step into Anne’s shoes to guide EFN into the future.

But enough about you. Let’s talk about me. I’m guessing some of you know me, but many of you may not.

I joined Encore in 2005 at the age of 55, after nearly two decades in leadership positions at the American Society on Aging. My “encore” assignment was to create the program that became The Purpose Prize. Over 10 years, The Purpose Prize shone a light on social innovators over the age of 60 who were addressing the most pressing social problems and, in the process, rewriting the script for what’s possible in late midlife. The Purpose Prize awarded over $5M to more than 100 winners, and recognized the achievements of an additional 400 Purpose Prize Fellows. (In 2015, Encore turned that program over to AARP where it continues as the AARP Purpose Prize.)

I wear multiple hats at Encore. Among other things, I have led’s research efforts, culminating in a three-year long collaboration with Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education on the Pathways to Encore Purpose project.

And I have always been helping to guide the Encore Fellows™ Program forward from its inception to now. As we move into 2019 we will continue to expand and grow our program geographically (including outside the US) and enhance our offering to integrate physicians. In 2019, look for the rollout of a new program to help potential fellows find their own fellowships; a new report on the impact of fellowships on the fellows and their work hosts; and additional town hall meetings with special guest presentations on the encore movement, starting with the March 6 webinar with Marc Freedman on his new book, How to Live Forever.

Leading the EFN team at Encore is a dream role for me. We have a group of consummate professionals, almost all of whom began their association with Encore as Encore Fellows™ themselves. I’m honored to join the team.


Photo credit: S. Smith Patrick /

Published: February 15, 2019

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