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Life & Work with Rosemary Nixon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rosemary Nixon.

Hi Rosemary, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Ten years ago, I retired as a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial in Boca Raton. Because I had spent many years helping people plan financially for retirement, I had seen that many people had no idea of what they wanted that retirement to look like. So, as my retirement career, I became certified as a Retirement Coach and began working with people to help them plan for the non-financial aspects of life in retirement.

I gradually became aware that every day 10,000 people turn 65 in this country, and because of medical advances, many people could live for 20 years in retirement. I started asking myself, what will people do with this gift of longevity to stay healthy and engaged in community life. I felt strongly that nationally, and particularly in Palm Beach County, we have a growing population of retirees with experience, talents, and education that could help solve social problems. Five years ago, I and a small group of volunteers created Encore Palm Beach County as a nonprofit focused on helping people 50+ connect to new work and volunteer opportunities. While we initially thought our focus would be on volunteerism, many people over 50 have lost jobs, particularly during the Pandemic, that we have assembled a number of resources on our website to help people find work. We hope to expand voluntarism in Palm Beach County as the Pandemic subsides. In the meantime, every month, we present Zoom programs on issues around finding work, age discrimination, etc. We also are sponsoring in October the first annual Wisdom & Experience Works for Business Awards event to recognize age-friendly employers.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
As a small nonprofit, our biggest challenge is reaching people through email campaigns, Facebook and LinkedIn as our primary forms of communication. We are supported primarily through donations and memberships as there is very little foundation or government funding available for programs serving older persons unless it is something like transportation or meals for those needing service. Our focus is on people who can serve either as volunteers or as employees. We have no staff. All our activities are handled by volunteers. While the Pandemic eliminated in-person meetings, with tools like Zoom, we have actually been able to expand our audience. Recently, we received a generous donation which will enable us to reach business leaders with news about our October awards event in an email campaign in partnership with the Palm Beach Post.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As Founder and Chair of Encore Palm Beach County, I work with a Board of nine and other volunteers who support our cause. I handle all communication in and out of the organization. I recruit and train volunteers in areas like fund-raising, volunteer engagement projects, website design, and maintenance, etc. I also write the monthly newsletter about our events and with links to organizations, news articles, and programs that will support our audience.

What I specialize in is making connections with people, organizations, and donors. Having lived in Palm Beach County for 28 years and having been involved in many community organizations, I am able to identify and connect and form partnerships with those who have similar interests. I am known for being willing to speak to anyone or any organization that can help us.

I am most proud of my Board members and Encore volunteers who have been loyal to our mission over the last five years: to connect people to new work and volunteer opportunities, to inform people 50+ about issues and resources that can help them, and to advocate for mature and experienced workers, and intergenerational cooperation to solve problems in our communities and in our workspaces. As far as I know, there is no other organization that does what we do in Palm Beach County.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I guess it is safe to say that from high school on, I was always involved in volunteer activities. I had a great interest in politics and social issues, having advanced degrees in Political Science and Public Administration. While still in college, I was active in voter registration campaigns with the League of Women Voters, I have been a candidate for public office, I have handled the public relations campaign for a local candidate, and have sat on many Boards of Directors of nonprofits, colleges, and churches. My first job after graduate school was in city planning for a small Connecticut city, and then I went on to careers as Executive Director of two nonprofits. After getting my MBA in Finance, I entered banking as a corporate lending officer with several Conn. banks before moving to Boca Raton in 1994 and becoming a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial. I believe in becoming part of the communities I live in.

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