How Can We Overcome Age Discrimination?
Article co-created with participants and AcornOak Tribe.
Pass the Mic Podcast Series is an unscripted group discussion born out of AcornOak’s belief in the power of many voices.
Each episode begins with one expert - an open-minded and passionate individual who has spent a great deal of time investigating and researching a certain topic. During our hour, a small group of 4 to 6 people explores complex and difficult concepts with curiosity, uncertain beliefs and the willingness to objectively listen and learn from the shared insights of others.
Our fifth episode discusses the topic of Ageism with an attempt to answer the following question: How Can We Overcome Age Discrimination?
Starting the Conversation
As the podcast host, Virginie Glaenzer, paved the way for this conversation and the group conversation was led by Roxanne Darling, serial entrepreneur and founder of Bare Feet Studios and a member of AcornOak Tribe.
Welcoming Our Guests
We were honored to welcome our panel of special guests eager to discuss age discrimination and its implications in today’s culture and society.
Roxanne Darling, Serial entrepreneur and founder, Bare Feet Studios. Roxanne’s eclectic career includes hosting the YouTube sensation, “Beach Walks with Rox” which earned numerous awards and 2+ million downloads.
Donna Korren, Founder, Empty Quester. Donna is a thought leader, Tedx speaker, brand influencer, and writer inspiring the 50+ community and empty nest parents to craft a bold second act.
Linda Rossetti, Founder, The Transition Institute. Linda is an author, researcher, veteran tech start-up entrepreneur, and Fortune 500 executive, who engages readers with her own transition story and the stories of hundreds of other women who shared their experiences with her.
Jim Spivey, Partner, Mazzi Partners. Jim brings his experience as a former technology business executive and life coach to his work at a consulting firm focused on awakening change. He is inspired by prolific author, Peter Block, to change his own attitude toward aging and lead by example to change the world.
Listen to the tour de table introduction of our participants.
Key Shared Insights & Perspectives
Society Is Witnessing Major Changes
Listen to Linda build on this idea by noting that society is currently witnessing the confluence of a number of major changes that challenge older generations to step out of their past assumptions.
All Generations Have Value
Each generation has its own strengths and deficits so the key is to recognize the value you bring to the conversation. Listen to Roxanne as she describes the unique benefits youth and maturity bring to decision-making.
Managing Change Is the Biggest Challenge
Successfully navigating transitions depends less on age than on one’s ability to expand their consciousness and get out of the “one-zone mindset.” Donna recognized this truth and enlightened the millennial organizers when she pitched her Tedx Talk: The Newest Workforce Disruptors are Over 50!" Her ideas on two-way mentoring and shared inter-generational wisdom in the workplace resonated with the young professionals.
Advice For Dealing With Ageism?
Our discussion tackled this difficult challenge and provided three pieces of wisdom:
#1 Find a common denominator.
Being dismissed because of your age is never pleasant and coping with Ageism in work environments can be especially challenging. Consulting to many companies, Linda has found that finding a shared purpose through a common cause or mission is often the best antidote.
#2 Recognize that every experience is your teacher.
With his clients, Jim puts tools and support in place to assist as they transition from the traditional paradigm of “leadership” to the expanded ideal of “eldership.”
#3 Update your out-dated narrative.
From her experience leading Human Resources for a Fortune 500 company, Linda knows that age discrimination in the workplace is very real. She recommends that older employees move away from chronology and instead anchor their professional narrative on the value they contribute.
As we came at the end of the hour, our group ended the discussion in the same way we started, with a tour de table. Each participant had the opportunity to reflect on what they heard and share their take-aways from the conversation.
Listen to the last 10 minutes of the episode.
Final Thoughts to Consider
It was interesting to note that the panel was composed of individuals who are living examples of what they recommend. They actively push themselves toward interactions with members of other generations because they appreciate their insights and hope to break down the negative stereo-types often held by younger people.
As Roxanne put it, “We are older people who embrace youthful ideas and the strength of every phase of life.”
It is clear that this group feels energized and positive about “aging,” so much so that our conversation was about presence, purpose, finding shared meaningful projects across generations, and continued learning. And, with those thoughts in our arsenals, we are sure to move the dialogue around this topic in a positive direction.
We now know that our capacity and ability to process change is the key to aging well and its starts by understanding that aging is a “self fulfilling prophecy” as pointed out by Donna and a narrative that one should choose carefully.
This generation that redefined adolescence, brought the world Woodstock, pop culture, counterculture and classic rock is now reinventing aging with the same spirit of creativity, experimentation and rebellion.
This shift is impacting how society views elders and how elders view themselves.
As women of experience, the team at AcornOak has the same attitude. With our extensive backgrounds and skill sets, we’re eager to put our abilities to work in the powerful mindset of elders, as described in this beautiful post shared by Jim.