S2-EP5: An Executive’s Story: Taking a Sabbatical With Susan De Cuba

Dec 6, 2019


Susan De Cuba, an accomplished nonprofit executive, talks about her intentional gap year at age 59, how she planned it out in fiscal quarters, and where she is now at the completion of her sabbatical.



Debbie talks with Susan De Cuba, a nonprofit executive who spent the last 13 years of her career as CEO of a hospice group in Florida. When Debbie met Susan, she was at the end of her gap year. After 40+ years of non-stop work, she had decided to take a year off – but in a purposeful way. Susan is practical and she is strategic. And she had a goal – to figure out her next step.

Listen in as Debbie picks her brain about:

  • The steps in her decision-making that led her to leave a high-profile career
  • How as a leader you see junctures, or forks in the road, where you can continue on the same path – or step off and do something different
  • How she divided her gap year into fiscal year quarters, like any successful executive making an annual plan, and what she chose to do
  • What it was like to jump into the unknown
  • And finally, how she ended up creating a new consulting career, by combining her existing skills and experience

She felt a desire to serve others and she also knew she wanted freedom and flexibility. Most important, we talk about how she remained open to possibilities, especially around money and resources, and how that led her through a rejuvenating and, ultimately, successful gap year.

Photo: Susan dancing in Mexico at the beginning of her gap year sabbatical.


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Thanks to our media partners

Encore.org, our newest media partner, is an ideas and innovation hub tapping the talent of those 50+ as a force for good. Founder and CEO Marc Freedman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and author, most recently, of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. Looking for a great gap-year transition program? Check out Encore Fellowships, which match skilled, seasoned professionals with social-sector organizations in high-impact, paid assignments.


Modern Elder Academy is a program dedicated to navigating mid-life transitions. MEA, based in Baja California, Mexico, provides the place and the tools to start reframing your lifetime of experience. Grow whole, not old. Founder Chip Conley is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning hospitality entrepreneur and a rock star of the mid-life transition movement. His newest book is Wisdom @ Work: the Making of a Modern Elder.


Next For Me is an important new resource for the 50+ crowd focused on rewriting life. Taking a gap year or timeout may be the best way to figure out "what's next" when you're in this stage of life. Founder Jeff Tidwell explains, Next For Me "connects and inspires our generation to evolve our post-50 lives through new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution."