Yesterday we launched the 2nd annual list of 40 Women to Watch Over 40. This list celebrates women over 40 who are disruptors, role models and innovators, creating momentum and changing the world. My co-creator, Whitney Johnson, and I wanted to inspire “under-the-radar” 40-something female innovators to persist while motivating women in their in their 20s and 30s to see new possibilities.
The message that many women share at 40:20 Vision is that you have reset buttons in life. Opportunities widen with experience and vision…they don’t narrow. Yet many 20-somethings fear that every decision they make is closing doors. That’s a lot of pressure.
Here is a link to our new 40 Women To Watch Over 40 Website. You can check out some of last year’s winners for inspiration and get a sense that you have more in front of you than behind you.
You can also nominate someone who inspires you. For 40+ readers, we encourage you to nominate yourself as well.
For more on our inspiration, here are a few excerpts from an interview I did for Global Innovation Magazine.
On inspiration for 40 over 40: In the process of interviewing hundreds of forty-something women, I have seen first hand that the more you know yourself the more you are open to and ready to give to others. You also get increasingly better at applying your insights. As it turns out it’s a developmental truism. On her HBR blog, my co-creator, Whitney Johnson explains that the developmental stage that occurs between the ages of 40 and 65 is one that strives for generativity over stagnation.
On feedback from younger women: They are excited to see a different future than is often served up in the media. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when comparing yourself to the extremes — the 25-year-old startup rock star or the woman who is CEO of a leading Fortune 500 organization. The list has shown them that life isn’t over if neither is their path. Molly Ford, a twenty something on our hosting committee has said the list gives her inspiration to find more “role models and mentors in her own life as well as to champion women in all stages of their career.” We are trying to give women a sense that doors are opening, not closing, as they get older.
Advice to a young female innovator taking her first steps into the world of business: Don’t set out to be right. Do ask questions. Never think your idea is stupid. Revel in the fact that you are not boxed in by “the way things are done”. Surround yourself with diversity of thought and the support of amazing people. Consider each failure a pivot and take stock of each success. Each is a chance to reassess and move forward.
A special thanks to our organizing team this year: Molly Ford, Jocelyn Bonneau, Patty Finn Bumgardner and Pooja Parthasarathy.