Finding purpose after retirement Image

Finding purpose after retirement

In previous blog posts we have talked about how having a passion or purpose in life can positively affect you, read more here for a real life example!


Last year a readers’ daughter contacted us with a Podcast that she thought would interest our readers, all about finding your passion after retirement. The podcast featured the CEO of Disaster Aid Australia, Brian Ashworth. In previous newsletters we have talked about how having a passion or purpose in life can positively affect you (click HERE to read), and this podcast highlights a real life example!

Rita Joyan broadcasts a weekly podcast called ”Unbox Your Gift” where she interviews change makers that include chief ministers, Olympians, diplomats, inventors, business owners and experts. These podcasts cover every subject imaginable, including the interview with the above mentioned Brian Ashworth.

You can either listen to the whole podcast HERE, or read on for our summary.


Rita discusses with Brian his working life, being CEO of Disaster Aid Australia and how his life didn’t finish when he retired.

Brian was an engineer, and worked in the field of water for the majority of his career. He retired at 60 and got a part time job, while also moving to Dandenong, VIC with his wife. Because of this move, Brian came across Disaster Aid Australia, through the local Rotary club. After attending a conference held by the charity Brian decided, with a little nudge from his wife, to volunteer for them. Initially this was based around his background in water engineering and marketing work experience.

The charity introduced Brian to the Sky Hydrant that purifies water from dirty or contaminated water (not sea or toxic water). This area was where Brian thought he could truly help, especially with his professional experience.

Initially Disaster Aid Australia responded to disasters around the world with aid boxes that included tents, blankets and cooking equipment. By asking those in need what they wanted, the charity evolved and now works with disaster impacted communities to rebuild homes and provide clean water. Volunteers go to disaster areas and assist onsite with the help of other/local charities and contacts to purchase building materials to rebuild their modest homes.

Brian went on several trips as a volunteer doing this work in the early days, which cemented his passion for this work. After returning from his first trip, and seeing their work first hand, he quit his part time job and has volunteered for Disaster Aid Australia for at least 3 days per week ever since.

Following several years of volunteering, being on the board and several volunteer overseas trips with Disaster Aid Australia, Brian was appointed as the CEO. When Brian was absent while on holiday with his wife, the existing Chair had resigned and the board had decided to appoint a new Chair and a CEO. To his surprise, the board sought to appoint Brian as the CEO in his absence, which was later made official when he returned home!


This passion turned Brian’s life in a different direction and a new profession after retirement.


Nowadays CEO Brian works on instructional videos to rebuild homes, while networking and creating relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships with other charities in the area that they work , mostly in the Asia Pacific.

Brian also makes it a point to be transparent and communicate the charity’s activities to the board weekly and supporters monthly through newsletters and other communication. He also works on new initiatives, such as one in Bhutan where people can book a ‘holiday and volunteer experience in Bhutan’. This involves taking the Sky Hydrant with you as part of your luggage, then visiting and meeting staff and students at the school where the hydrant gets donated and installed.

Brian is most proud of feedback from the communities they have helped, where health is better now than before the disaster, all due to the cleaner water. He is also proud of all the homes they have helped rebuild in the Philippines after the typhoons of recent years and all the work in the schools in Bhutan. In addition, he truly believes that clean water for every child is something that is entirely possible!


Thank you Rita Joyan who shared her podcasts with us to share with you – Unbox Your Gift: Passion to Profession Podcast


To get updated with future podcast episodes, you can subscribe to Rita’s podcast HERE

However, here are some other “Unbox your gift” podcasts that may interest you:


  • How to turn Garbage into Fashion, (help save the planet) AND make a Living from your art: With (70 something year old) Debra Rapoport.

  • You’re definitely older than you were yesterday (who isn’t) but that’s an asset. Here are the real stories of the success after 50.

  • Kenton Lee wanted to do something long lasting to help the orphanage he was volunteering in Kenya. SO after 6 long years he created the Shoe That Grows.