DECEMBER 2021 SECOND ACT OF THE MONTH AWARD
Each month, we give the 50PlusToday SECOND ACT Award to an individual who made an intentional decision to change gears in this phase of life. It’s our goal to recognize and support people who reinvented themselves at age 50Plus and we choose recipients who are creative, innovative and inspiring to others. Their pivot might involve a new career, business, community effort or lifestyle. A successful, happy and meaningful life means different things to different people; reading what others did might start you thinking about your next journey! The bottom line is that your second half of your life can be as good as, if not better than, the first! We hope to inspire our readers with success stories from others. (Is there someone you know that created a wonderful second act that you would like to nominate? Complete this form to submit their name for consideration!
The recipient for December 2021 is Robin Brill, JD
At age 50+, Robin cofounded Swapping Scenes, a caring and compassionate senior and specialty move management company, with her sister Anne. She brings to the business extensive experience and knowledge of real estate law, combined with fierce organizational chops and a desire to serve. Robin’s mission is to help older adults and their children better navigate the steps and challenges involved in relocation.
50PlusToday asked Robin questions about why and how she chose to make her career change. Here’s what she told us:
50PlusToday: What are your unique skills that contribute to your success:
RB: My most unique skills include my abilities to keep an open mind, continually learn, and willingly try new things. I am not afraid of a challenge or to put myself out there. I learned so much along the way through the years. Whether it is from my husband, children, friends, job experiences, career changes, volunteering or my Jewish community, I believe my age and experience made me wiser.
50PlusToday: What did you do before starting your entrepreneurial journey?
RB: I did many things before embarking on my current journey. I started my career as an attorney working for a very small law firm in New York City where I practiced commercial real estate. Although I enjoyed my work, I didn’t like my job situation enough to continue in this position after having children. At that point I quit and became a stay-at-home mom to my two girls. It was not my intention to leave the workforce for as long as I did, but then I had a third child. For the next 20 years, I worked part-time as an attorney and volunteered for several non-profits, fundraising and advocating in my free time.
During this time, I also consulted with Cabi, helping women look and feel their best. As part of this work, which I loved, I helped women and others to pare down and organize their closets and, ultimately, other areas of their lives.
50PlusToday: Tell us about what you are doing now.
RB: My sister, Anne Sirkin, and I own Swapping Scenes, a Senior and Specialty Move Management Company. We take the stress out of the moving process by guiding our clients and coordinating of all the moving parts. We help sort, declutter, donate and dispose of years of accumulated items in the homes. In addition, we measure furniture, create specialized floor plans of our client’s new space, and connect people to companies specializing in estate sales, moving and cleanouts. I am also a Realtor, with licenses in New York and New Jersey.
|“I unfortunately have personal experience helping my parents address unsafe living situations as they aged. After assisting my mom and her partner, I realized these transitions are not just logistically difficult, they are emotionally fraught. Having unemotional, objective help would have been invaluable. We decided it was the right time to be the help to others that we wished we had when we went through the process.”|
50PlusToday: What passion led you to start this new endeavor?
RB: I unfortunately have personal experience helping my parents address unsafe living situations as they aged. After assisting my mom and her partner, I realized these transitions are not just logistically difficult, they are emotionally fraught. Having unemotional, objective help would have been invaluable. We decided it was the right time to be the help to others that we wished we had when we went through the process.
50PlusToday: How does your age and experience help in your success?
RB: I mellowed significantly with age. I have a lot more patience, compassion and understanding than when younger and dealing with frustrating situations. Communicating and listening to others’ needs is a skill I developed over time. I don’t think I could be as successful as I am in this role 20 or 30 years ago. Confidence is also a trait that has come with age; I don’t take myself nearly as seriously as I did in past decades.
50PlusToday: What unique skills did you have from your previous job/business/lifestyle that help you in this new position?
RB: My various endeavors from the past 30 years helped prepare me for business ownership. For example, I learned negotiating skills as a lawyer, project management skills as a volunteer, and communication skills in general as I navigated through life. These proficiencies all contribute to my success as a senior move manager. I am also someone who is naturally quite organized and can see the bigger picture when others may be overwhelmed. In those situations, I’m the person you want in the room to provide a voice of reason to calmly help address the bigger issues, so the smaller problems don’t seem quite as daunting.
50PlusToday: What advice would you give someone in this age group searching for their meaningful second act?
RB: Find something meaningful to you, that you enjoy, and then figure out how to turn it into a career. Chances are, if you care about something, others probably do too. There’s likely people out there who could use your help. When you believe in what you are doing, it is easier to take that first scary leap. If you’re still nervous, which is understandable as making a career change later in life is scary, try to find someone you know well and trust to take the plunge with you.
50PlusToday: Finally, please give us three random facts about yourself.
- I love football with thousands of cheering fans, but don’t love concerts.
- I don’t like to cook unless everyone is in the kitchen with me.
- My happy place is in jean shorts and a tee shirt on a beach.
Robin’s favorite quote
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Meet Robin Brill, JD
Robin spent years practicing law, problem-solving, brokering agreements and building relationships even as she became a mom to her three children. She works with local, grassroots political organizations, engaging her community and maintaining relationships with elected officials. Additionally, she sits on the Board of FairPlay, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the adaptation of toys for children with disabilities and served on the Orangetown Jewish Center’s Board of Trustees. Robin lives currently with her husband of 28 years, Mitch, in Rockland County, NY
Her latest venture, Swapping Scenes, allows her to ease the stress and anxiety that often accompany life transitions for older adults and their children. Each client receives a customized comprehension plan specific to their individual situation, needs and wants.
Learn more about Swapping Scenes or contact Robin HERE.