Message from the executive director
Role Models “R” TTN
June 2012Two events in May led me to think about role models – the ones who show me the way and my ability to show others the way. My 77 year old brother-in-law inspired me to join him in a Memorial Day 10K in the mile-high city of Boulder (I finished in a respectable 1 hour, 4 minutes). I also had the opportunity to BE a role model in career panel discussions for my law school and a women’s networking organization.
Role models are at the heart of TTN. Our founders realized that we’re the first generations of professional women reaching our 60s with 20+ healthy years ahead of us, so we have to be each other’s role models. The good news is that TTN members offer living examples of just about every transition you can think of: starting a business, coping with divorce, going back to school, improving your fitness. We have wisdom from our life experiences, and TTN offers us the chance to share what we’ve learned and to learn from others.
In our earliest days co-founder Chris Millen, a hard-charging Deloitte partner looking ahead to her retirement, spent many hours with recently-retired Carole Thompson asking “what do you do when you get up in the morning? ….and then what?” She and co-founder Charlotte Frank built TTN – particularly our peer and special interest groups - to provide a structured source of role models, whether the topic is entrepreneurship, crafts, dating or finding the next job.
In later years, our book Smart Women Don’t Retire – They Break Free shared member examples of feeling lost and then discovering a new phase of life. Our Houston chapter collected member transition stories in Coping with Transition: Men, Motherhood, Money and Magic. Popular volunteer programs in New York City and Philadelphia have involved role-modeling, particularly for women moving from pink-collar to white-collar jobs.
In our growing national organization, chapters provide role models for other chapters. New York City’s “Member Mingle” programs spread across the country as we saw the power of social/networking events. Central Ohio has come up with the next about-to-go-viral idea, “Retail Therapy: Women Spending with Intention.” The chapter identifies local women-owned businesses (ideally owned by women over 50) and invites members and friends to show up and shop, spending at least $20. Their first foray attracted 16 women – and got the attention of passers-by who said “who are you and what are you up to?” Many thanks to Patsy Deerhake and the central Ohio team for pioneering this idea – you can read the full writeup here.
How are you sharing your hard-earned wisdom? Are you reaching out to fellow members for help achieving your goals…or tackling your challenges?
To get the most from your TTN membership, look for role models in your chapter…and be a role model to others. Whether the topic is “what do you do all day,” “what was it like going back to school in your 60s,” “how did you build your consulting practice” or “how do I get involved with chapter leadership” there’s someone who wants to connect with you. If you don’t know who can help – or who needs help – talk to your chapter lead or membership chair – or send me a note. You’ll be a one-woman illustration of TTN at our best.