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 May 2022 is Joyce Shulman
Joyce started her career as a commercial litigation attorney in New York City. In her late 20’s, she abandoned law firm life to pursue an entrepreneurial path that took many twists and turns over the years. She experienced much success, but exhaustion and burnout accompanied the triumphs. Once her kids left the nest, she decided It was time to change gears.
At age 50+, Joyce founded 99 Walks and Jetti Fitness with her husband, Eric Cohen, to help women experience the benefits of a regular walking practice. An avid walker herself, Joyce credits her own practice as the key to managing stress, fueling creativity, and maintaining her health over the years. Once she discovered that research supports what she already knew instinctively about the benefits of walking, Joyce knew this new endeavor was a perfect fit for this next chapter of her life.
We asked Joyce about her journey; here’s what she told us:
50PlusToday: What are your unique skills that contribute to your success:
JS: I’ve always had a unique ability to take the complex and make it simple. I know that doesn’t really sound like a super power, but especially with all of the things that fly at you as an entrepreneur, it has proven to be an incredibly helpful skill.
And I’m a pretty good writer, storyteller and I can type pretty fast. You’d be shocked how much those things help!
50PlusToday: What did you do before starting your entrepreneurial journey?
JS: I started my career as a lawyer, practicing complex commercial litigation in New York City. But I’ve always had a fierce entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, I started my first business while I was in law school. Which, for the record, is a very bad idea!
50PlusToday: Tell us about what you are doing now.
JS: I have the great privilege to be the Pack Leader and CEO of 99 Walks and Jetti Fitness. 99 Walks is a social fitness app and community that is on a mission to get a million women walking, and Jetti Fitness is the producer of the world’s first fitness poles designed to transform a walk into a powerful full-body workout.
50PlusToday: What passion led you to start this new endeavor?
JS: I have been a lifelong walker. It is the practice that I believe has enabled me to stay fit, strong and healthy. It is also how I have managed my stress and anxiety, connected with my dearest friends and generated my most creative ideas.
For the past dozen years, I’ve worked very closely with hundreds of women and what I see, over and over, is that many of them are deeply disillusioned and excluded from what I refer to as the “fitness industrial complex” which has told people – women in particular – if you don’t look a certain way, then “fitness” is not for you.
It’s simply not true, and walking is the perfect first step. (Yup, I’ve got a lot of walking puns.)
50PlusToday: How does your age and experience help in your success?
JS: I think the most valuable aspect of age and experience, at least for me personally, is a better ability to put things in perspective. My mother has always said “this too shall pass,” and while I didn’t really believe that when I was younger, I’ve come to discover she is absolutely correct. It helps keep the many, many challenges in perspective.
50PlusToday: What unique skills did you have from your previous job/business/lifestyle that help you in this new position?
JS: Working closely with hundreds of women for more than a decade gave me unique insight into the challenges so many women face and the incredible strength and fortitude they possess.
On a more personal level, as the daughter of a coach and a professional dancer, I learned the power of movement and exercise not just for my body but for my mind and mood as well.
50PlusToday: What advice would you give someone in this age group searching for their meaningful second act?
JS: 100% the best advice is do something about which you are deeply passionate. I know it is a cliche, but it is absolutely true. Your second act is your chance to step into the fullest expression of yourself. Take it.
50PlusToday: Finally, please give us three random facts about yourself.
- Skiing is my happy place
- I’m allergic to shellfish (which makes me very sad)
- I hate to travel, but I love to experience new places, people, adventures and cultures.
50PlusToday: Your favorite quote:
JS: “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
MORE ABOUT JOYCE SHULMAN
Joyce Shulman is the co-founder and CEO of 99 Walks and Jetti Fitness, two wellness and walking lifestyle brands each on a mission to forge connection and get a million women walking their way to better.
Throughout her personal and professional life, Joyce’s regular walking practice has been her key to managing stress, fueling creativity, and maintaining her health. After discovering that the research bears out all that she knew instinctively, Joyce and her husband, Eric Cohen, founded 99 Walks and Jetti Fitness to help women experience what recent studies have shown: walking can improve decision-making and executive function, combat depression, increase creativity and literally add years to one’s life.
In addition to being the “Pack Leader” at 99 Walks and Jetti Fitness, Joyce is the author of “Walk Your Way to Better, 99 Walks that Will Change Your Life,” a TEDx speaker, podcaster, and consultant for companies and women’s groups, where she shares her expertise about the power of authentic communities and the transformative impact of a consistent, intentional walking practice.
Joyce received her Bachelors in Business Management from the University of Maryland and her JD, Cum Laude, from St. John’s University School of Law. After law school, she spent years as a New York City lawyer before trading her legal career for an entrepreneurial journey focused on what mattered to her most: family, community, and empowering women to get healthy, happy, and chase their dreams.
She calls Sag Harbor, New York home where she lives with her husband and a very sweet dog named Moose.
Keep up with Joyce via her website, at www.joyceshulman.com.