Paul Tasner was a talented engineer with more than 40 years of uninterrupted work experience. Just before Christmas in 2009, he was working as director of operations and called into an office.
It was his exit interview.
He was fired from his job with a San Francisco consumer products company at the age of 64. What did he do next? After lunch, Tasner and his wife got “really silly drunk.”
Tasner’s story is one of redemption and opportunity. It is one of several top TED Talks to inspire senior entrepreneurs.
As seen in the recent post, The Senior Startup: Tales from the Second Act,” older entrepreneurs are choosing to reinvent themselves later in life. In the process, they are developing great companies that innovate and serve.
Tasner is no exception. Retirement was not an option, so he spent several years consulting but was not very passionate about it.
He decided he wanted to build his own company, but one with an important mission. The company would make biodegradable packaging from industrial waste products. The mission? To replace the toxic, disposable plastic packaging that is all too common.
“It felt really meaningful to me – a venture that could help to reduce the billions of pounds of single-use plastic packaging dumped each year and polluting our lands, our rivers, and our oceans – and left for future generations to resolve,” he states in his talk.
At 66, he and his partner created PulpWorks, Inc. Tasner said he had to tackle many complex business issues – manufacturing, outsourcing, jobs, patents, and funding. The latter was a bit intimidating, going up against young tech talents.
Today, the company has doubled revenue every year, has no debt, and has won more than 20 awards. He calls the work “the most rewarding and meaningful” of his life.
Continuing to Inspire
Journalist and author Isabel Allende was a renowned chronicler of the human condition when she created the Isabel Allende Foundation. It was 1995 and she was 53 years old. The foundation empowers women and girls. Allende lectures worldwide about women’s rights and empowerment.
Her Ted Talk shares some of the people who inspire her today and encourages listeners to think differently about aging.
What has she lost as she has aged? People, places, and the energy of her youth. But she has gained freedom.
“I don’t have to prove anything anymore. I’m not stuck in the idea of who I was, who I want to be, or what other people expect me to be,” Allende says.
Fonda on her Third Act
Jane Fonda has been an activist and actor for decades. Today, she is embracing what she describes as her third act. She describes aging as a staircase – “the upward ascension of the human spirit, bringing us into wisdom, wholeness, and authenticity,” she states in the Ted Talk.
She encourages people to consider their own third act of their lives, as she did when she turned 60. She studied her first two acts to determine what she hoped to be and who she really was. This life review can give people valuable perspective and change the way they think about interactions and choices they made. Agency, Fonda says, allows people to take control as much as possible of the third act of their lives and define their own performance.
Making an Impact
Senior entrepreneurs are innovative and smart, drawing on life experiences and deep networks to succeed. At Benetrends, we help senior entrepreneurs with small business funding and business services support. To learn more about how Benetrends can help with your business financing needs, schedule a consultation.