Liane Anderson

Liane Anderson , Camp Kesem, Winnetka, Illinois
Encore Fellow in Marketing and Communications
Camp Kesem, Winnetka, Illinois

To be or not to be…retired
The decision to retire from Intel after 24 years was incredibly hard. Intel was my home, my family. I’d spent the last quarter century with brilliant and amazing people, traveling the world and becoming the best me I could become. Intel provided me with challenges, benefits, and career satisfaction beyond compare.

But I was experiencing burn out—physical and mental. My next sabbatical was not due for another four years. In addition, my husband and I had been considering a move to Chicago to be closer to family, to downsize a bit, and to live in the city we both loved. We were yearning to get back to living a “city life.” So as my eligibility date to retire from Intel came closer, I decided it was time to leave.

Leap, and the net will appear
Even though I knew I needed a break and longed for some real downtime, I also knew my type A personality would not allow me to do that for very long. So what would I do without Intel? How do I go from hyper Intel, checking email a million times a day by laptop, iPhone and iPad, being “on” 24X7, to no work email, no conference calls, no people to manage, etc.?

What would I do for the second half of my life? Where was my passion?

Oh the possibilities! Should I finally try to write that book that’s been in my head for the last 30 years? Maybe I could start my own business. Of course I would do some volunteering… in the local schools, perhaps at the SPCA if I could do it without adopting every cat in there…I knew I needed to make at least some money to supplement savings and bridge the gap until I could access my 401K and start collecting Social Security.

I looked back on my life and thought about what still excited me: working with young, bright people! I was most happy, most fulfilled when working with youth and young adults— recruiting at universities, mentoring new employees, and teaching poetry to gifted middle schoolers with Intel Involved.

And outside of Intel, the four years my son spent at Jesuit High School were the best years of my life—I volunteered for everything, ran fundraisers, chaired the Grad Night event, served as Communications Chair on the Booster Board, etc. The sense of community and spirit and giving back made me most happy and most fulfilled.

Enter Encore Careers
Around the same time that I was thinking about life after Intel, I heard about the Intel Encore Careers Fellowship pilot program. Because I was retirement-eligible, I received an email introducing me to this amazing opportunity. I immediately started looking for education non-profits in and around the Chicago area and found quite a few. It was then that I really started to consider an Encore Fellowship as a great way to transition out of Intel and into “retirement.”

I filled in and submitted the Encore Fellowship Application. Because of the unique nature of my application—looking for an opportunity outside of my Intel “home” site, I knew it might take some time or flexibility in the process. However, within a few days, the Encore team had identified three potential education related non-profit matches in the Chicago area: Perspectives Charter Schools, the Civic Education Project, and Camp Kesem-- all of whom valued my 24 years of communications and marketing expertise from Intel. With my Encore representative, I felt like I had my own personal agent working on my behalf.

During phone and Skype interviews and then face-to-face meetings in the Chicago area, I met staff members, understood more clearly the vision, mission and culture, discussed their marketing and communications needs, as well as checked out the location, the commute, etc. All three organizations were making a significant impact with kids, from age six on up. I was in awe!

How to choose
I thought my hardest decision was behind me with retirement from Intel, but making a choice between these wonderful Encore Fellowship opportunities was really difficult. Being an analytic, I weighed multiple factors. I even asked if there was a way to contribute to all of them.

In the end, I chose Camp Kesem (but I will also be an advisor to the Perspectives Marketing Board committee, and hope to stay in touch with the Civic Education Project!). With Camp Kesem, I am working with an Executive Director and Board of Directors who come primarily from the corporate world like me. We speak the same language. The commute is short, and I’ll also be able to work virtually, through Skype and email, right from our home in Evanston, Illinois. And I’ll have an opportunity to interface with young adults from colleges and universities around the country—one of my favorite demographics. Finally, the chance to help Camp Kesem expand their reach and influence to more children in need and grow more young leaders was too good to pass up.

Make Intel proud
I start my fellowship in October and I can’t wait. As I take my daily exercise walks every morning (now that I’m retired I can do this!), I think of ideas for my new job. I tell my Intel friends about it and they are already considering the possibilities for their retirement. I know I am representing Intel in this Fellowship and I want to make them proud. I also want my nonprofit to think, “Wow, I want more Intel people here because they do fantastic work!”

Stay tuned for more…