Best Second Act Awards: Winners
SecondAct.com handed out its first-ever awards in 2011. How better to celebrate those who reinvent themselves in amazing ways even -- especially -- in these most challenging of times?
For eight days, SecondAct counted down the year's best of the best -- stories of innovators, dreamers and career makeover wizards who break barriers and forge new paths. They show the rest of us how to do it, too.
Here's a rundown of the winners and honorable mentions:
Best Second Act in Sports 2011: Diana Nyad
This year Nyad set a defiant example of how not to let age interfere with striving for your personal best.
Honorable mention: Football player Alan Moore, golfer Darren Clarke, swimmer Dara Torres, martial arts expert Harry Grimm
Best Celebrity Second Act 2011: Bon Jovi's Soul Kitchen
The rocker and his wife open a New Jersey restaurant where patrons can do volunteer work to pay for meals.
Honorable mention: TV host Jane Pauley, rocker Steven Tyler, actress Kirstie Alley
Best Creative Second Act 2011: Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Kay Ryan
Late-blooming junior college teacher brings home a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur `Genius' award this year.
Honorable mention: Theater owner Lucy Mercer, designer Richard Sandomeno, singers June and Jean Millington
Best Second Act Comeback 2011: Entrepreneur Brad Gruno
Overweight and laid off, Gruno lost 40 pounds and launched a healthy raw-foods chip empire.
Honorable mention: Author Robin Mather, investor Chris Gardner, filmmaker Erik Proulx
Most Inspirational Second Act 2011: Grad Student Allyson Reneau
A 2,000-mile commute is no problem for this Oklahoma City mother of 11, who's working on her master's degree at Harvard.
Honorable mention: Cancer researcher Joseph Roscoe, sustainable life pioneer Bea Johnson, fashion model Cindy Joseph
Best Second Act Making a Difference 2011: Judith Broder's Soldiers Project
The psychiatrist delayed retirement to launch the Soldiers Project, a nationwide network that aids traumatized veterans returning home.
Honorable mention: Entrepreneur Gary Hirshberg, online tutor Salman Khan, entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie
Best Second Act Reinvention 2011: E-book Author John Locke
The insurance salesman had no literary credentials, but he knew how to use social media to become a bestselling author.
Honorable mention: Entrepreneur Judi Henderson-Town, fashion designer Camilla Olson, railroad owner Dave Wilkinson
Best Second Act Game-Changer 2011: Room to Read's John Wood
The former Microsoft exec's ambitious literacy program opens new libraries daily in impoverished countries worldwide.
Honorable mention: Entrepreneur Randal Charlton, Intel and IMF Chief Christine Lagarde