Two weeks ago, more than 400 Encore leaders gathered together in Tempe AZ, to explore ways to make the shift from an aging society to a powerful source of talent that chooses to use the accumulated skills, experience and wisdom to tackle many of society’s most urgent challenges. John Tarnoff wrote about how the conference also focused on how we can preserve and extend boomer careers and turn around the corporate mindsets that see this generation is too old or out of touch. What we know for sure is that the persistence of purpose is the driving motivation in the second half of life.
BUILDING THE MOVEMENT
The inspiration started the first night of the conference with the much heralded Purpose Prize winners. These winners represent some of the most amazing social innovators over the age of 60, who are working to advance social good. (check out the videos of each of the 5 winners) The icing on the cake was hearing my two heroes, Marc Freedman (founder of Encore), and Jane Pauley articulate the vision we all have to create a social change movement that creates richer lives for individuals while strengthening our country!
Joann Jenkins, AARP’s new CEO, rocked the house as she talked about “Disruptive Aging”. She said, “lets change the conversation about getting older, its not about aging , its about living! Embracing our age is about building on our strengths and experience, not looking at our demise.
The biggest focus for the conference was looking to the future – How can we accelerate this shift and deepen the social and economic impact. There were sessions that addressed different impact areas such as integrating encore programs in higher education, helping non profits and businesses recognize the opportunity for leveraging encore talent in their organizations, building sustainable encore communities, focusing on opportunities to help our youth and using media as a way to raise awareness in our communities. Richard Eisenberg’s recent article, “Encore Movement Confronts 3 Big Questions”, does a great job of capturing our most important challenges in the movement.
A panel of key thought leaders outlined what was next in terms of deploying encore talent as a powerful new source of human capital. Innovation and changing the language/ culture is the key.
We had our own mini version of TED Talks with IGNITE – 7 BIG IDEAS FOR ACCELERATING ENCORE. Some of the fantastic ideas were:
- “Saying No to Ageism” (it starts with us)
- “Boomerang Giving” (using your senior discounts to give directly to non profits)
- “Personal Branding with a Purpose”
- “The Purpose Prize is not the finish line” (where the 450 purpose prize winners tap into their social genius to address the current
- “Second Acts and Social Innovation” (Tulane University takes on social innovation with its alumni and faculty)
Incredible thought leaders in the field shared their insights and vision for a better future! BUT-the greatest source of inspiration was talking and learning from other encore leaders about what is really happening on the ground level as we continue to build the Encore Nation together!!. The future looks bright and the time is now!
Marc Freedman continues to be the true visionary and leader of this movement that changes attitudes and expectations about getting older while suggesting new practices and programs that encourage a longer work life.
Marc shared a great quote by JFK at the first ever White House Conference on Aging-
“We are not adding years to our lives. We are adding life to our Years”
I am excited about the possibilities for us to build our own Encore Community- the climate is right!