A 2nd ACT is an opportunity to devote your life and talents to a new pursuit after retiring or quitting your original occupation. But, 2nd acts, shouldn’t be reserved for just when you retire or when you are done with a successful career. They are simply the next creative phase in life. Even many young, mid-career individuals have faced a lot of hurdles in their 1st act, and finally get it in the second phase of their lives. Discovering what you want to do now with your life at any age is what 2nd ACTS are all about. Learning from those who have gone ahead of you and are successful at it, are your 2nd ACT resources. It’s never too late to put your abilities, skills, and talents to pursuing your own 2nd ACT.
In the meantime, here’s more about me and my own 2nd ACTS:
“Great companies have a strong vision for the future. I am proud to have led many of them there by identifying game-changing growth and new business channel opportunities that have generated millions of dollars of new and incremental revenue.
Featured on ESPN2’s “Extreme Magazine” TV show for leadership and team building
Within a single season brought two professional hockey teams, the Adirondack Frostbite (owned by ESPN SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy and NHL coach and TV analyst Barry Melrose) and the Richmond RiverDogs of the United Hockey League (UHL) to profitability. Produced a major Battle of the Bands mega event at the Richmond Coliseum incorporating it into a hockey game which broke venue attendance records and earned new sponsors, including VH-1 Save the Music, Harley-Davidson and Sam Ash.
Provided senior-level leadership to MCI’s national and regional mega sales centers in New York, Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Iowa during divestiture growing MCI into the second-largest long-distance provider in the U.S. and launched the iconic Friends & Family marketing campaign.
As Senior DIrector, prepared Cablevision of Connecticut for competition from Southern New England telephone (SNET). Drove a 55% upgrade penetration, an 18% revenue lift and broke PayPerView revenue records. Rebranded the retail store locations to promote the launch of the Optimum digital cable TV, high speed Internet and home phone service products.
As General Manager of Sales Operations for DSL.net, a leading provider of high-speed Internet access for SMBs, to exceeding its monthly and quarterly sales targets across a 3-year period while growing the sales team from 24 Account Executives to 100+.
Increased net revenues 38% in less than 9-months as Vice-President of TeleReservations for Grand Circle Travel, a $180M+ provider of escorted international travel. Led the company in its volunteerism mission earning a Certificate of Merit from City of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino “in recognition and appreciation of your outstanding contributions to the City of Boston and its residents.”
As Senior Leader, Staff Development, designed front-line leadership training and introduced a career development/pay for performance program. Developed and implemented strategies and measurements for reducing the medical loss ratio and raising the profitability of service.
As a performer in my college years, I played the local coffee house circuit alternating nights with fellow Iona College classmate Don McLean and opened on the steps of Cardinal Spellman Hall for The Beach Boys and The Four Tops. New York City clubs like Malachy’s II beckoned me into the Big Apple. I started adding original songs to my repertoire of covers and penned a few ones good enough to get me a songwriter contract with Burlington-Felsted, the publishing division of recording industry giant London Records, Inc. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to join the A&R team at London.
I had the wonderful opportunity during the height of the British wave of music to have worked with such artists as The Moody Blues, Dave Edmunds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, with Eric Clapton, VanMorrison with Them, Al Green, ZZ Top…the list goes on. I went on to produce legendary jazz pianist Erroll Garner, chart-topping singer-songwriter Leslie Pearl, Armadillo World Headquarters house band Greezy Wheels and many others. I graduated from The Institute of Audio Research and studied under such audio greats as Albert Grundy and John Woram.
I’ve had the wonderful opportunities to perform at the legendary CBGBs in New York City (NYC’s birthplace of punk) and the world-renowned Bluebird Cafe in Nashville as well as other national venues.
I’ve traveled England, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Egypt and other fascinating places on two wheels. But, nothing comes close to traveling the back roads of New England on a motorcycle and stopping in at a classic diner for some comfort food and good conversation. Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) gave me the opportunity to turn my passions for the open road and comfort food into the documentary, “DINERS.”DINERS “provides viewers with a unique opportunity to experience two of America’s favorite pastimes: eating and biking.” Jay Whitsett, CPTV Vice-President and Station Manager
“Of all the motorcycle and food shows out there, DINERS is the most accurate portrayal I’ve seen about who today’s bikers are and the classic diners they frequent.” Don Clady, Editor, Connecticut Cruise News and Producer of the “Super Sunday Motorcycle Show
“Finally, a TV show about motorcyclists that steps away from the oft-portrayed and largely-mythical image of boozing, tattooed hell-raisers, and gives us a glimpse of the real people who ride.” Fred Rau, noted motorcycle journalist and recipient of the MVP Award from the American Motorcyclist Association as The Most Valued Person in Motorcycling
The custom motorcycle designed and built for the DINERS TV show with artwork by my son Chris was featured in the AMA’s “MotoStars: Celebrities + Motorcycles”exhibit alongside bikes from Brad Pitt, Carlos Mencia, Keith Urban, Peter Fonda and other celebrities and bands including Journey, Rush and Foreigner as well as in the companion book to the exhibit.
“It is my pleasure to offer my most sincere congratulations to you on the occasion of the DINERS motorcycle appearing in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum’s ‘MotoStars: Celebrities + Motorcycles’ exhibit. I commend and congratulate (you) for the dedicated time and effort put into the creation of this magnificent motorcycle. I am proud to join you and the rest of Connecticut as your work is rewarded with the honor of being included in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame’s exhibit.” Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell
“Like burgers and ketchup, Bikes and Diners mix very well with each other. This motorcycle was created by Garrison as a theme bike for a television show called “DINERS” on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV). “DINERS” captures the joy of being on a motorcycle and finding those out-of-the-way classic eateries that invite travelers in for a simple home-cooked meal and friendly conversation while transporting them back in time. (The DINERS motorcycle) won plenty of trophies since completed and I guess they are exhibited above the kitchen counter of a Connecticut Diner. Ride and find it.” Cyril Huze, motorcycle designer, builder and journalist
“Somewhere between 7th and 8th avenues in Chelsea, N.Y., Garrison Leykam found his funny. ‘They announce your name and you’re like, ‘Oh God. What did I get myself into? Am I gonna die? Am I gonna get silence?’ Leykam, a Farmington resident, was standing at the mic in front of a crowd at at the Gotham Comedy Club, the famed stand-up venue in New York City that has hosted Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Robin Williams and Jerry Seinfeld” (from the article by Hillary Federico in The Hartford Courant).
At the conclusion of my radio show interview with Stephen Rosenfield, dubbed by the New York Times as, “the best-known comedy teacher in the country,” he challenged me to take his stand-up comedy workshop at the American Comedy Institute. Always up for a challenge, I accepted. The final class was appearing at New York City’s famed Gotham Comedy Club. Before even starting the series of workshops, I realized that this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience so I made sure there was a camera always rolling. The resulting documentary, Comic on a Half Shell,” is a lively guide on how-to step out of your comfort zone and feel like there’s nothing going forward you can’t accomplish!
AM NEWS-TALK RADIO PERSONALITY & PODCAST PRODUCER
WSTC & WNLK news-talk AM radio (on the Cox Radio Network) gave me my introduction to becoming an on-air, talk show personality, interviewer and producer. I grew the show’s regional listener base to 50,000+ and was featured in the internationally-marketed Pepsi Refresh Project. I had the wonderful opportunity to book and talk with so many incredible people.
Seeing the rise in podcasting, I re-branded Conversation Crossroad to focus on two of my passions: diners and motorcycles, renamed the show Those Diner and Motorcycle Guys and took the program from broadcast to podcast growing the listener base to OVER TWO MILLION utilizing social media alone.
When you do you what you love it’s amazing how many people you find who share the same interests! Here’s a sample:
DESIGN YOU: a road map for reclaiming your true identity and designing your most authentic career based upon the principles of industrial design.
Read a FREE excerpt of DESIGN YOU
Garrison’s Classic Diners of Connecticut is published by The History Press