Time to give back

Share your talent and treasure with the community

If you are retired or considering retirement, it may be time to give a gift to your community.

Your accumulated business expertise is a valuable asset that needs to be shared. Studies have shown that being active in your retirement has significant health benefits. They include remaining current, stimulated and engaged.

Here are some of the options to consider:

  • Offer pro bono consulting for nonprofits and small businesses.
    There are a number of local and national organizations that provide free consulting for entrepreneurs and business owners, such as SCORE. You may wish to join and share your knowledge with these businesspeople.
  • Serve on a board (nonprofit, community based or for-profit).
    Why should your expertise not be used to strengthen an existing nonprofit or community-based organization? I am sure your skillset can be applied to assist an organization in delivering its mission.
  • Assume the role of teacher at a local educational or religious institution.
    High schools and non-traditional universities are looking for retired businesspeople to share their knowledge with the next generation of leaders. The real-life examples you can offer are superior to the ones offered in a standard textbook. Linking the principles to real life examples fosters learning. They will never forget how that principle applies to real life. For years I used these scenarios while teaching graduate school and when tested, the students offered these examples in their answers.
  • Volunteer for Project Business at Junior Achievement.
    Project Business is a successful program offered at many elementary and high schools in the Milwaukee area. Having taught in this program, I have seen the incredible results. The students learn the vocabulary of business and understand the types of decisions made in the daily conduct of business.
  • Become a mentor at a local nonprofit, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters.
    Young adults and teenagers need a guide to help them navigate life’s decisions and challenges. Having a mentor who has successfully made the journey demonstrates to them that it can happen in their lives. Mentors can open up doors for internships, which could expose students to career opportunities. A mentor is also a role model and can teach students that adults can be trusted.
  • Volunteer at a hospital, nursing home or veterans’ organization.
    Many retired businesspeople give of their time to welcome, escort, distribute books or provide information to patients seeking assistance at a local hospital. My brother volunteers each weekend and cooks breakfast for veterans in Pittsburgh. You could also assist in taking veterans to medical appointments.
  • Lead or participate in an online discussion group and share your knowledge.
    Many online groups focus their discussion on specific areas of business. For example, strategic planning, marketing, sales and human resources. Many times group members are just starting out in business or setting up a nonprofit and need the insights an experienced business person can provide.
  • Seek out public speaking opportunities.
    Many retired executives enjoy sharing their knowledge and insights during breakfast and lunch meetings. Some require a fee, while others just enjoy sharing. I have spoken to many organizations for small honorariums, just for the enjoyment of sharing my knowledge. I enjoy motivating younger executives and fielding their questions.

I chose to make an impact on the next generation of leaders by sharing my knowledge online and in person. What will you give back? n

-Cary Silverstein, MBA, is a  writer, speaker and community volunteer who splits his time between Scottsdale, Arizona and Fox Point. He can be reached at (414) 403-2942.

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He was a senior professor at DeVry's Keller Graduate School in Wisconsin. Cary has published articles in periodicals and on the Internet. He recently published first book with Dr. Larry Waldman, "Overcoming Your NegotiaPhobia". Cary holds MBAs from L I U’s Arthur T. Roth School of Business. Cary has a BA from CUNY, Queens College. He has certificates in Negotiation from Harvard’s PON and in Labor and Employment Law from Marquette University.

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