Third Act with Liz Tinkham

The Friend of the Children with Michael Rugen

Michael Rugen is a career lawyer who had a passion for pro bono work focused on kids and racial justice. As he pivoted to his Third Act, he founded Friends of the Children, a nonprofit that pairs mentors with at-risk children from kindergarten through high school graduation. Join Liz as she talks to Michael about how to translate a passion into action as Michael is doing.

Third Act Podcast

Your first act is school, your second act is work, but have you thought about what you’re going to do in your third act? Join host Liz Tinkham, a former Accenture Senior Managing Director, as she talks to guests who are happily “pretired” – enjoying their time, treasure, and talent to pursue their purpose and passion in the third act of their life.

Share this episode

Inspire others to get more and to do more later in life.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Elevate your executive learning

Athena helps women achieve executive-level leadership expertise, polish their boardroom and executive knowledge, get closer to board seats, and make leaps in their careers.

The Friend of the Children with Michael Rugen

On this episode of Third Act, Liz talks with Michael Rugen – The Friend of the Children. Michael grew up a jock, telling Liz that he was into girls and sports as a young man. But his Dad sparked an early realization of the inequity in the US when someone came to the door asking him to sign a petition to prevent blacks from buying the homes in their suburban neighborhood. He went on to become a lawyer, but made sure that he had time and space for plenty of pro bono work, focusing on children and racial injustice. He started looking for an organization where he could further that work. He found Friends of the Children, an organization that pairs mentors with at-risk children from kindergarten through high school graduation. Today he is the Founder and Executive Director of the SF chapter, serving 110 children and growing. Michael is the perfect embodiment of what Liz was looking to highlight in this podcast; he had a passion for kids and racial injustice that he is now fulfilling full time in his third act.

Join Liz’s inspiring conversation with Michael as describes how a tragic pro bono case with a young man accused of second degree murder prompted him to serve at-risk youth in his Third Act.

3:17 Representing Ronald
5:38 Early recognition of racial injustice
9:29 Finding Friends of the Children
13:05 Impressive outcomes
15:13 How to change the school system
18:43 Organization goals
21:16 How to get involved in Friends of the Children
22:53 Why Michael was born to do this work

You can find Michael Rugen on Michael Rugen | LinkedIn or at [email protected] To learn more about Friends of the Children, click here San Francisco Bay Area | Friends Of The Children (

If you enjoyed the podcast, please subscribe and share a review. Engage with more stories of those finding fulfillment in the third act of their lives on Liz Tinkham’s Third Act podcast at

Get featured on Third Act

Want to share the story of your own Third Act on our podcast? We welcome stories from executives who pivoted their careers to find their passion and purpose later in their lives. Tell us more about yourself to be considered as a guest.

Get Featured on Third Act

By clicking “Submit” you are agreeing to receiving marketing communications from Athena Alliance.

Membership Tiers

Choose from Self Service or Concierge Service membership. Add on additional services or upgrade as you go. Join from anywhere: we specialize in virtual yet intimate executive coaching.

Business Services

Businesses of all sizes turn to Athena for support in developing their executives, diversifying their leadership, and transforming their board into a competitive advantage.

About Us

Athena activates the connections, knowledge, and opportunities executive leaders need to break through the barriers that line the “last mile” of their career – to the C-suite, boardroom, or the world of entrepreneurship and investing.