Giving Back: From Actress to Social Worker

by Carol Mannes

Carol Mannes stages a career comeback as a social worker to help her fellow thespians cope.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200"]Social Worker Carol Mannes[/caption]

I had lost my passion for my career in the entertainment industry. Even though I had been successful in theater, TV and even teaching acting, I was burned out.

I decided to return to school, to complete my long unfinished undergrad degree. One professor, seeing my ability to work compassionately with people, encouraged me to get my master’s degree in social work.

In my second year at Columbia University School of Social Work, I discovered that The Actors Fund, a national social service organization, employed social workers to provide services to members of the entertainment industry. They offered internships to Columbia students. This was my “aha!” moment—an opportunity to blend my former career with my encore career.

I’m a licensed clinical social worker. I’m 70 now and am still thrilled to have been at The Actors Fund for nine years, specializing in assisting women with serious medical and mental health issues and so grateful to be doing so. In helping others, I help myself every day. Because I made a successful transition as an older person, I’m better able to demonstrate to this population that it’s possible to find a meaningful encore career, no matter what your age.

Created by Civic is the network for people who want encore careers combining social impact, personal meaning and continued income.

Republished with permission. Copyright © Civic Ventures. All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of

by Carol Mannes | Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | Career Change, Nonprofit Jobs

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