Facing your ‘Third Act’ with confidence

Interview with author Ann McGarry

You have just published your book Power of W: Women Thriving in their Third Act to be launched here in the Algarve this month. What is it about? 

In a nutshell, the book is about living a fulfilled and meaningful life. We are living about 30 years longer than our great-grandparents’ generation. So, the big question for us is how we are going to live these additional years.

Power of W: Women Thriving in their Third Act emphasises living joyfully, fully experiencing life from the best version of yourself. Each of us is a one-of-a-kind, unique being with a specific purpose, talents, and gifts. This book encourages the reader to connect with their gifts and talents and experience them firstly for themselves and then to share these out into their world. 

What inspired you to write the book? 

While on the Caminho Francés in Galicia, Spain, back in 2018, I received little nuggets of inspiration about writing this book. The focus was on the ‘Third Act’ – the final phase of life. I’m at this amazing phase of life now and I had a burning question about my life purpose and making a contribution. This book, in some way, serves as a part of my contribution.  

Does it reflect your own personal journey? 

Yes, there is a specific section of the book which focuses on my personal journey over more recent years. I have included extracts from my journal entries during the caminhos (pilgrimages)I  embarked on between 2018 to 2022. 

You started off your career in an engineering company in Ireland. What made you choose this area of work? Was it difficult to operate in what must have been a male-dominated environment? 

In 1977, when I graduated with an honours degree in chemistry, I wanted to work in the industry to expand my experience in a practical way. Back then, the world petrol crisis loomed, having a knock-on effect on job openings. I was fortunate to secure employment in an engineering company as a chemist within their engineering department. It was a bit daunting working in that male-dominated environment. Believe it or not, I was a very shy and timid person back then, so developing a thick skin was necessary. 

From 1978 onwards, I worked in the pharmaceutical and allied sectors and had quality assurance managerial roles very early on in my career. I guess my formative year with the engineering company helped in my advancement into management.  

Fostering personal development and skills in the workplace seems to have been the focus of much of your work. Can you elaborate?

Within my quality managerial roles over 20 years, staff development was an integral part of my work. I was and still am passionate about developing talents and seeing people flourish. 

In 2000, I started my own company. My offering was quality consultancy, which was provided internationally. Equally important to me and following my desire for lifelong learning, I expanded my studies, gaining a Diploma in Training and Development, Diploma in Coaching and M.Sc. in Work and Organisation Behaviour. I developed and delivered management development, leadership and personal effectiveness training programmes within Ireland and UK to multinationals as well as to small to medium enterprises. I also provide coaching to both individuals and executives.

So, yes, personal development plays a significant role in my life as well as in providing services to others. 

The title refers to women. Is the book equally appropriate for men?

Although Power of W: Women Thriving in their Third Act is focusing on a female audience, I think men would get value from reading it. 

I should mention that I have a two-day seminar called ‘Reignite: The Retirement Ready Programme’, which is equally appropriate for both men and women. The plan is to run this seminar later this year in Portugal.  

Do you practise what you preach now that you have reached the ‘third act’ yourself? What do you do to enhance this phase of your life? 

Growing and evolving applies to everyone. I am still a ‘work in progress’. I can say that my life now is lived from a higher state of consciousness. I live with greater ease and joy following what I believe is my calling in life. 

One of the biggest challenges for me was to ‘surrender’ to reality. Acceptance of ‘what is’ and going with the flow of life is so important. 

I meditate, write a journal, practice yoga, swim in the ocean, paint with oils and regularly walk caminhos. These practices bring me more awareness of the present moment. 

Writing books, delivering programmes on personal development, including the third act and coaching clients privately provide the vehicle for me to help others.   

You divide your time between Ireland and the Algarve. What attracted you to the Algarve? Do you intend to make this your permanent home one day? 

Living in the Algarve by the Atlantic Ocean is a dream. In Galway, Ireland, I live within 10 minutes of the Atlantic. The only major difference is that, in Ireland, it forgets to stop raining! 

I love the pace of life and the people in the Algarve. Yes, I am hoping to make it my permanent home soon.

What impact do you hope your book will have? 

I hope that my book finds it in the hands of people who wish to live their lives more fully with passion, joy, and purpose. Living life like this, one can really experience and express one’s gifts and talents and share them with others.  

Now that you have written two books (the first one published six years ago about leadership development), have you any plans for future work? 

Yes, I believe that there will be a further book. I have the title and hopefully, the contents will be developed while walking my next caminho. I also have a project underway which will combine writing with my art. 

What is your personal philosophy? 

Life is precious. Reach out and live from your highest potential, enjoying life. 


00353 87 2771317

The launch of the book will take place on Friday, 19 May, from 4 pm–6 pm, at Algarve Dolphin Lovers – Art and Science Place, Burgau, Rua Principal, Edifício Maretas, Loja B, 8650-117 Burgau (opposite the supermarket Mais Perto)

There is plenty of parking nearby in Burgau. Refreshments provided. Everyone is welcome! 


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