Q: What was your primary career and what did you love about it?
A: Founded and successfully built a mattress manufacturing company with sales reaching $30 million competing against major brands and sold the business to a national consolidator at a significant profit. Entrepreneurial experience spans the development and design of multiple unique product lines and product patents. Expertise includes marketing, merchandising and brand development with vendors and major customers like Bloomingdale’s, Jordan’s Furniture and Raymour& Flanigan where highlights include the successfully negotiated sale of the company’s QVC private label brand in 2007 and sale of the company in July 2010. Loved building and managing customer centric manufacturing and distribution businesses with clear focus of creating “raving fans” and loyal engaged employees.
Q: When you retired, did you feel ‘finished’ or, for you, was there still something left to do?
A: When I “retired” in 2010 (after selling my business), my wife and I decided to move to sunny AZ and start the next chapters of our lives. Chuck 2.0 began by joining Boards of non profits that I had been involved with back east– Special Olympics and ADL, becoming a Big Brother, coaching 3 Special Olympic sports and mentoring for SCORE and ASBA. Life was great for my first two years here in “retirement”. Little did I know that my next two years to now would be even better and more rewarding with Chuck 3.0– joining a national non-profit Playworks who found me through linked in. Within days of them reaching out, I accepted the position of Executive Director for AZ. I have not looked back since. Being a part of Playworks serving 15,000 low income kids now and working with young passionate adults has been a gift!
Q: What inspires you and why?
A: Giving back, connecting people, leveraging relationships and helping people achieve their goals motivates and inspires me. I love making a real difference in people’s lives- whether being on Boards, coaching, mentoring and/or being a role model! Through this mantra, the more I give the more I get back in return! “Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.” Robin S. Sharma These are words that I live by!
Q: How does your unique set of experiences make a difference for the community in your work now?
A: Having started my own business gave me the necessary skill set to take over as Executive Director of Playworks after they were here for only a year- a year in which they did not raise money, had a weak Board and no Brand recognition. In two short years, we now have a terrific Board, Leadership Council, many events with numerous corporate sponsors and have received several prestigious grants ($100K Super Bowl and $90K Fiesta Bowl to name two) and will be sustainable this year. I “run” Playworks AZ like a business and not as a typical program based non-profit- we are building our Brand and creating loyalty and support from our donors, schools and the community.
Q: What’s your advice for boomers who are about to launch their own “second act”?
A: Find and follow your PASSION and LOVE what you do! Network, be open minded and always be positive!
Photo is with one of our Playworks Junior Coaches at the finish line of the PF Chang’s which I did last year to raise money for Playworks.