This Organization is Helping Women Over 40 Kickstart New Careers
Networking and community are at the center of the SecondActWomen’s mission
Tired of age and experience standing between them and their careers, Barbara Brooks and Guadalupe Hirt co-founded the organization SecondActWomen to provide women over 40 with resources, events and programs to help them pursue passion in their second career.
“Sadly, my age was standing in the way of getting the job I wanted in 2018 as I tried going back to a corporate marketing position. In their eyes, my age represented being too experienced, too old to learn, too this and too that but mostly, it was my number and that pushed me into a self-inflicted midlife crisis,” says Brooks. “What I did next would change my life for good.”
Brooks, in partnership with Hirt, set out to create the lifestyle and career network that became SecondAct.
Since then, the organization has grown to host two conferences a year called BizLifeCon; grow a network of over one thousand women; run a monthly workshop that includes resources for how to both start a business and get a job after 40; a private membership platform, that the organization is launching in November, with more resources, perks and savings; and a YouTube channel and podcast coming at the start of 2020.
According to Brooks, women over 40 are opening 1,821 businesses a day in the nation but are still being overlooked by venture capitalists and other ventures. “Why is that?” says Brooks “Because society says we’re ‘too old’, lack the skills needed for success in the workplace, and ready to be put out to pasture. Not true and quite the opposite.”
At the most recent Denver Startup Week, the organization hosted a panel to discuss these problems and the way SecondAct is seeking to address them.
“We were humbled by the enthusiasm and reception we received, but it was one woman’s comment that blew us away,” says Hirt. “She said something to the effect that, ‘I’m glad I came today and I feel like I’m among friends.’ That is the power of connection and our women are hungry for connecting with other like-minded women that are either going through, or have gone through, a version of what they’re experiencing.”
According to Hirt, however, there is also action that businesses can take to address ageism in their organizations. This includes launching an initiative to recruit and retain talent over 40; auditing their office culture to identify how internal content is promoting ageism; reviewing and modifying job applications and requirements to minimize bias; purposefully assembling multi-generational teams to work on projects and cross-train; and employing personality assessment tests to identify personal strengths outside of age.
SecondActWomen’s next BizLifeCon is taking place on Nov. 1 in Denver. The event includes training sessions, workshops, panels, one-on-one coaching sessions and more to bring together these women seeking a second career.