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Miller Canfield Lawyer Beverly Burns Chosen as an Encore Innovation Fellow to Promote “Second Act Careers” for the Greater Good

November 18, 2013

Beverly Hall Burns, a principal at the law firm of Miller Canfield, has been chosen as an Encore Innovation Fellow through Encore.org, a national nonprofit that works to help people pursue “second act” careers that benefit their communities, states and the nation.  She is one of only 15 leaders and social innovators across the U.S. to receive the fellowship.

Burns was selected as a fellow to raise the “encore career” concept in Michigan—by encouraging policy, practices and pathways in the state that support “second act” careers and extended work lives. The focus is on people who are looking for freedom to work in ways that make their worlds better, not freedom from work as they close out a primary career.  Burns will work with business leaders, policymakers, nonprofit organizations and individuals.

“The work is well-aligned with my law practice and the experience gained representing employers of all kinds on matters affecting them and their employees,” said Burns, a 30-year employment and labor lawyer at Miller Canfield (Detroit, Mich. office).  

Burns’ fellowship is unique among the 15 because it builds on efforts underway on both of Michigan’s “coasts”—in the Grand Rapids area, as well as in southeast Michigan. 

“I’ll be looking for examples already in place, as well as for new opportunities and connections to create smooth pathways,” she said. “While most of the fellows’ projects are local in scope—creating a community-based incubator for encore entrepreneurs to identify, retool and execute their efforts, for example—my project is a statewide initiative.”

Burns’ fellowship covering Michigan resulted from an application by several collaborators including Corporation for a Skilled Work Force, Louella Hannan Memorial Foundation, Operation ABLE, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Techtown, AARP, Grand Rapids Community College and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. 

Mary McDougall, executive director of Operation ABLE, said, “We are thrilled that Beverly will be bringing her talent and commitment for Encore careers to this fellowship opportunity.  The number of people in Michigan who can be affected by the Encore initiative is huge and Beverly is just the right person to help shape the conversation about the need to tap the talent of the Boomers embarking on the next chapter of their lives.  We look forward to working with her.”