I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

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Mark Linsz: Top Bank of America Exec now a Second Act Guru

Diana Landau | December 07, 2021

Carl interviews Mark Linsz, the Co-Founder and Senior Managing Partner of My Next Season, an organization that helps companies and individuals with important career transitions and ensures they happen well. Mark was formerly the CFO Risk Executive for Bank of America—in the top tier of leadership. He’s had 27 years of holding key corporate leadership roles on three continents.


Mark’s childhood was unique—since his father was a minister and professor, he grew up in Asheville, NC, lived on Long Island, NY, and then spent years living in Africa. “I always loved numbers and figuring things out—even as a little kid.” In college, he became intrigued by two possible careers: 1) a trader on the stock market floor, and 2) a real estate developer. He ended up in a very big-time career in risk management, helping businesses assess financial, lending, and even reputation risks. “The benchmark was if it was too embarrassing for my mother to read, that it probably isn't good.”


Mark and his family lived in Hong Kong and London before being called back to the United States right before the recession. “Both experiences were fantastic for our family, experiencing different cultures.” At the end of 2007, Mark was commuting between work in NYC and his family still in London, then the whole family moved to Charlotte and he took yet another position with B of A. It was a very stressful time for Mark and the entire world when the recession hit. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear what it was like from Mark’s top position in banking.


About 2013, Mark started thinking about what he wanted to do next. “I needed to do something different,” he tells us. At first, he thought he would go into some type of financial advising. But then he talked with his future business partner, Dr. Leslie Braksick about people in executive roles and how to help them with transitioning to the life they want in their second, or third act. They started My Next Season in 2014. “It’s been a fantastic ride!” he says. Mark and his family now live in Charlotte, North Carolina. He loves his work but also makes time for family and nurturing friendships. “Seeing people transition with purpose is really exciting and so rewarding. You can have more impact and influence than you ever had before.”


Mark Linsz’s (un)retirement tips:
• “If I had to do it all over again, I wish I’d taken more time off.” (In between career and new venture).
• “Take time to think through what you really want to do next. Take 6 months to a year to find your passion, it’s extremely important.”
• “Be open to a new purpose. Think outside that box. This is your opportunity to try new things.”
• “The three most important things to focus on in (un)retirement are your relationships (family, friends, work), your purpose and to make sure you are intellectually challenged.”
• More about Mark Linsz and My Next Season
• More about LoveMyHeartStudy.com
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.


Tags:    blog   interview   unretirement   cfo   finances   recession   career  

Barry Pincus Interview: From "Toughest Bosses in America" to Working on His Own Terms

Diana Landau | November 02, 2020

This week, Carl talked with finance wiz Barry Pincus about his long career as a CFO for dozens of very different organizations. His client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in America. He’s worked closely with The New York Yankees, Martha Stewart, Sportsrocket, IMG Artists, Dennis Publishing (Maxim Magazine) and more. Whether he’s readying an organization to go public, bringing cost centers into line, or building rock solid infrastructure for clients, Barry’s goal is always to identify the pain points, find solutions and improve the bottom line.


While working in Manhattan in his 20s, Barry would see rows and rows of accountants in office buildings, all working side-by-side in unison, and he thought… “Not for me!” Instead, he dove into the world of strategic operations and finance. “Sports is the world’s oldest reality show,” he told us, explaining that all the operations (such as concessions, hospitality, media rights, etc.) around the actual game drive revenue. Barry worked for the New York Yankees during the George Steinbrenner days. He’s got some great stories!


Barry loves working with creative people in diverse situations. He worked with Martha Stewart after she took back her company from Times Warner and Barry helped the organization get ready to go public. He says that Martha, in addition to being a brilliant creative, surrounded herself with the most creative team she could find. She insisted on new, creative ideas.


Flash forward to now: Companies shift and change, there are often buyouts and mergers and jobs get eliminated. Often Barry would go into an organization, turn it around and then move on. Barry’s “Aha!” moment came when he realized that at 67, he didn’t want to work full-time anymore and definitely didn’t want to work any longer at someone else’s whim. “I wanted to choose who, when and how I worked.”


So Barry created a business plan for his “second act.”. Through experience, Barry has the wisdom and knowledge to know what he is good at—storytelling and selling. “You are always doing those two things: to investors, the Board, everyone. I love helping companies with that.” He knew he wanted to work in a way that was less stressful, more diverse, without becoming bogged down in company politics.


Barry is now a “Interim & Fractional CFO, COO and Board Advisor”, specializing in finance and operations for TechCXO, a network of C-Suite level people who form teams based on the client's specific needs. “I get to come in and help people. It’s like sometimes companies need a grown-up in the room.” Barry started this venture recently and still gets the excited-anxious butterflies of beginning something new. (He most likely gets his work ethic from his accountant father, who at 99 years of age still has one client!)


Key takeaways from the interview with Barry Pincus:

1)   “When you do something new, you have to have a certain amount of patience.”

2)   “Figure out what makes you happy. Does this work fit with your personality, your lifestyle? Do you want to work more, or less?

3)   “Consider how a new venture will fit with your spouse during this stage of your life. Are you both still working and do you want to continue?

4)   “Anxiety is motivational. It keeps me going! “


P.S.  It so happens that superstar Barry Manilow’s birth name is Barry Pincus. “I’m still waiting for my royalties from “Mandy”! Barry laughed.


Learn more about Barry at Barry Pincus Tech CXO.


For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #8 with Barry Pincus.


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Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the I Used to Be Somebody weekly blog.


Tags:    blog   interview   barry pincus   CFO   second act