Republished with permission from LiisBeth Field Notes for Feminists in Business
If you've got an hour to spare, the video HERE is 60 minutes worth of wisdom, advice, and inspiration from Helen Hirsh Spence and others about finding purpose post retirement.
She was a disruptor in the 60s and 70s and now she is disrupting in her 60s and 70s. The 69 year-old started Top Sixty Over Sixty when she discovered seniors’ superpower: invisibility. Unless you’re wearing Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility, feeling unseen can erode a person’s confidence and be damaging. Spence wanted to create something that would undo that damage. Top Sixty Over Sixty is a platform to celebrate, educate and amplify the positive impact of older Canadians. “We should be maximizing and growing the potential of older people and seeing them as an asset as opposed a detriment,” says Spence. “It’s about a change of mindset.” And entrepreneurial opportunities for Boomers abound in areas like housing and transportation, health and well-being, education and learning, fashion and design.
The site houses articles like Best Before Dates are for Products Not People, dispelling commonly held myths about ageing, entrepreneurship and generational differences, like:
older people are less reliable in the workforce
you can’t train older people
older people are taking jobs away from young people
Spence developed the ReSet program which is a series of modules that focuses on reducing ageism, helping older adults redesign their future and also increase their entrepreneurial mindset to facilitate better multigenerational teams. “In a youth obsessed culture very often we’re looking at the frailty or older people, not their energy.” The program was supported by Ontario Centre of Workforce Innovation and Ryerson University. Out of 48 participants, 44 were women, and people like Vicki Jasperse (also in the video up top), jewelry artisan/entrepreneur, gained validation from the course to understand that she was on the right track.
Spence is in the process of evaluating next steps and is following her own consult: “Contrary to what you think…there’s nothing that stands in your way other than your own mindset.”