Woog’s World / GigSuite helps older adults pave new career paths
Phil Nourie’s parents met at Brown University.
For the rest of their marriage, they formed a great team. Late in life — after 40 years in the insurance industry — Phil’s father and mother (who had stayed home, to raise five children) reinvented themselves.
Already in their 60s, they turned to philanthropy. The couple worked tirelessly to help transform a Philadelphia-based emergency shelter, housing and supportive services nonprofit catering to individuals experiencing homelessness. They also helped resurrect an inner-city Catholic school that was being shut down. Today, a group of 15 schools they helped form educates 5,000 kids in central Philadelphia.
The journey consumed all their time. They were not writing checks; they were applying skills they’d sharpened throughout their lives.
“They could have easily sat back and watched the grass grow,” Nourie, a Westport resident, says. “But they chose to take on a challenge together. They felt like they were making an impact.”
Watching their journey made a profound impact on him. Nourie spent his professional career in public relations and marketing. Now at age 50, he is starting a new company. It’s called GigSuite. The mission is to help people realize that after 20 or 30 years in a structured career, their skills actually are transferable. They can own, manage, advise and/or invest in a new, entrepreneurial field.
And they can do it with both a business mindset, and the mindfulness necessary to take on something new and challenging at a time when many peers are already thinking about retirement.
The nuts and bolts of a career change like this are challenging. People who spend their working lives in corporate America have honed what they believe are important, but very specialized, skills. When they need help, they’re used to walking down the hallway to get ideas. Suddenly, they’re on their own.
As for women who were never in the paid workforce — or who left it in order to raise children — Nourie says their concern is more basic: They worry that their business skills have atrophied, or they have no transferable skills at all.
Nonsense, he says. “If you run a household, you have exactly the right mindset. You know how to budget, you know how to plan, you know all about risks and rewards.”
That’s the mindset part. The mindfulness is equally important. That means taking care of yourself, focusing, feeling good and confident and strong about what you’re doing, and the new path you’re on.
Which is why GigSuite has just opened a pop-up location at Daly Method.
Founded by Renee Daly and located in the Post Road East building that old-time Westporters remember as the Ice Cream Parlor (they’ve got the bottom floor, where Buffalo Clothiers once sold fringed vests and tie-dyed apparel), the Daly Method is a boutique health and wellness studio, helping clients manage tension and stress.
They address the core issues that hinder people — especially those who have sat at desks for 20 or more years, and are now engaged in self-care — by offering chiropractic care, sports rehabilitation, massage therapy and nutritional guidance.
It’s a synergistic partnership. GigSuite clients have full access to massages from licensed therapist Lynn Foodman, and private sessions with Z White Physical Therapy.
It’s all part of the new company’s beta phase. For 90 days at the Daly Method, they’re offering their services to men and women starting — or thinking of starting — new careers. Pop-up locations are set soon for Bergen County, N.J., and Chester County, Pa. There’s an office in midtown Manhattan, but Westport is their headquarters.
Last week — on the first day it opened — Jeff and Beatrice Millick sat in the pop-up office. He spent 17 years on Wall Street. Now, at 39, he plans to pivot.
“I want to answer to myself and my wife,” he says. “Not other people.” But he was unsure if nearly two decades of trading experience would transfer to a new, entrepreneurial venture.
Beatrice is raising their four children, ages 10 to 2. “It’s a rollercoaster,” she says.
Together, they’ve spent more than two years developing a new product. It’s a beach bag that consolidates all the stuff people haul piecemeal across the sand: towels, food, toys, whatever. “Beachmate” fits over one shoulder — and it’s environmentally friendly.
GigSuite is encouraging them that they’re doing the right thing — at the same time helping them focus on how to do it. “It’s all about support and confidence,” Beatrice Millick says.
“And about mental and physical mindset,” Nourie adds. “We help connect them with business needs. Too often, mind-setting and mindfulness exist in different spheres. We hope to bring them together.”
For anyone thinking of trading his or her corporate or homemaking life for a new gig, that sounds pretty sweet.
Dan Woog is a Westport writer, and his “Woog’s World” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His personal blog is danwoog06880.com.