Sandy Duckett believes in the importance of a good and affordable education. So much, in fact, that she left her own job in higher education in order to make it possible for more people.


Halftime Launch Event

An entrepreneur at heart, Sandy started her first business at 22. She went on to work in economic development before moving into higher education, becoming COO and Vice President of Advancement for a college foundation. In 2009, she started her doctoral studies and in 2010 turned down a college presidency. “Some life changing things had happened at home, and Wisconsin’s economy and political culture were changing.” Disillusioned by the increasing trend toward running higher education as a business rather than doing what was best for students, she decided it was time to leave education and resign from her job as VP of Advancement at a Wisconsin Technical College. It was then that someone gave her a copy of the book, Halftime. “I was in a place of uncertainty. I had a wonderful career, helping people fulfill their educational needs. I wasn’t sure where to go from there. So I read the book, contacted them through the email in the back of the book, and in half an hour got a call from someone at the Halftime Institute.” When they invited her to come to Dallas to attend a Halftime Launch Event, she went.

The Launch Event helped her clarify what was important to her. “They asked me what my passion was, and I realized ‘I’m driven by helping others see how the rising cost of a college education and college debt is impacting our future generations.” At that revelation, her Halftime facilitators challenged her
to follow her passion. For Sandy, this meant taking a position with a small nonprofit in Sturgeon Bay, WI, where she became the CEO of We are HOPE, Inc., an organization that provides employment services including skill development and search assistance.

Job center entrance

Entrance to We Are Hope

When she first came to HOPE, which stands for Helping Others Prosper and Excel, the organization was in trouble. But her leadership has turned them around, and a few months ago she began to see her dream take shape with the launch of Be Smart About Education, an initiative of We are HOPE that guides potential students in making the right choices about college. The program helps save students time and money, coming out with skills and knowledge that will set them up to be successful in life.

“Education is complicated,” she says, “and it’s too expensive today to make poor decisions that will impact the rest of your life.” Be Smart About Education is designed to draw out long term goals, interests and affinities in order to give students guidance as they make those decisions. Instead of ending up in oversaturated degree programs that may very well lead to an inability to find a job, students can make smarter decisions that lower their costs and raise their marketability. Sandy now gets the joy of seeing people come into the office in desperate need, and leave with some hope and direction towards a better life.

“The Halftime Institute put things in perspective as to what’s really important.” For Sandy, that means changing the education system. Be Smart About Education is doing that on an individual level. But her dreams don’t stop there. “We need to change things at the national level; but one step at a time.”

Paul McGinnis
Paul McGinnis’ first-half career was filled with a variety of roles in marketing, sales, and operations, working for a Fortune 250 company, two non-profits, and a family-run business.

As he climbed the corporate ladder, God began tugging at his heart – He had more for Paul than just success, wealth and a corner office. This started an incredible journey filled with wild leaps of faith, incredible lessons in humility and a life-changing shift in perspective.

Paul was introduced to the Halftime Institute by an alumnus. He enrolled and began working with his coach. At first, this led him to become a certified Halftime Coach to help other marketplace leaders navigate this unique season of “halftime” successfully, but he knew God had more for him. A few months later, the opportunity arose to join the Halftime Institute team in a full-time role for a period of time. This role, plus coaching, was the final piece of his Halftime puzzle.

He is currently serving as a Master Certified Halftime Coach and one of the facilitators for the Fellows Program.

Paul and his wife Maryann have been married 28 years and have two grown kids, Drew and Jennica.

“It’s been amazing for me to see God use every single aspect of my first half journey to lead me to a second half of joy and impact.  I now see the “why” behind many things that have happened in my life, and I thank God that He loves me enough to give me just a small glimpse into His plan, purpose and process."

Check out Paul's article, My Halftime Journal Entry:  October 12, 2012

Check out Paul's Podcasts:
God Said Go So I Did - Eternal Leadership
When You Feel Restless in Your Career - Entrepreneur on Purpose