Mike Fournier

Hartford, CT

I spent 30+ years working for a national healthcare company in Hartford, Connecticut, not really a stretch for a math major in the “insurance capital of the world,” as the city was known at the time.

I began as an underwriter trainee, worked my way up and made the executive tier. But I realized in my last couple of years at Aetna that I was looking for something different to do.

I didn’t exactly know what that might be, but I knew that throughout my working life, I hadn’t had a whole lot of time to give back to the community. I live in West Hartford but I’ve seen many blessings from Hartford. My parents both grew up and met there. I was fortunate enough to go to Trinity College there, and my employer was Aetna, a Hartford-based company.

And yet, I realized that Hartford had its challenges. Over a third of the population lives below the poverty line. There are citizens, in my community, that need help and I thought there must be a way for me to be involved.


Encore Career Handbook

Learn more about

the Encore Career Handbook

and the Encore!Hartford

nonprofit leadership program.


After I retired, I began my search for something new and found the transition harder than I thought. My contact list was filled with people in the insurance industry and I wanted to go in a different direction. That’s when I heard about a program called Encore!Hartford and enrolled. It gave me a good sense of who the players were in the Hartford nonprofit sector, what the missions of the various organizations were and provided tremendous support with classroom and theoretical training and plus exposure to nonprofit leaders. It was invaluable.

I’m happy to say that I landed on my feet and currently work for the Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Our mission is to help girls to build a better world by building courage, confidence and character within the girls and helping them to understand that, using those skills, they can make the world a better place.

Having two grown daughters, the mission resonates with me. I understand that there’s a gender difference in how business is led, how government is led, even how the non-profit sector is led. Even today in 2015, girls do need help to get to success and build a thriving life for themselves.

What older workers bring to the table is the wisdom that comes from a variety of experiences, but also a willingness to continue to learn. It’s not an easy thing to go from a for-profit position into the nonprofit sector unless you’re really willing to do your homework and to plan and to be willing to take on new challenges that you might not have faced previously.