You Can Start Late and Reset

6108b580Yesterday we launched our 40 Women to Watch Over 40 List. Whitney Johnson, a former award-winning Wall Street analyst and author of Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, and I started this list in 2013 to inspire women over 40 who have more in front of them than behind them to persist while motivating women in their in their 20s and 30s to see new possibilities for what is ahead.

I saw so much disruption amongst 40-plus women when I started 40:20 Vision — women over 40 starting up and starting over and looking to make a real impact. They had so much passion and vision yet often felt invisible. At the same time, many 20-something women I met were discouraged at not having made a 30 under 30 list. They thought their options were narrowing every year and didn’t see a lot of role models to look up to who were navigating a career that wasn’t a stereotype of single career woman or do it all mom, wife and corporate career power woman.

Whitney was the perfect partner to start the list with as she specializes in personal disruption and brings to life the research* that as we get into our 40s and 50s we enter into our most productive and creative lifestage. So in honor of that I am running an excerpt of an interview I did with Whitney for The Muse on getting a late start and fulfilling your goals.


My professional career actually didn’t start until I was 30. It was tremendously discouraging at times because when I finally got into an investment banking analyst program, I was 31. I was 10 years older than all of my peers and initially that was tremendously discouraging for me because I thought, “Oh no, I am 10 years behind.”

Once I figured out what I wanted to do the slope of my trajectory was much steeper, but I was driven and smart so eventually was able to meet and surpass some of my peers.

My lesson learned and what I would convey to 20-somethings is that if you don’t know exactly what you want to be when you’re 21, it’s okay. You have time to discover your way and figure things out so when you see a 30 under 30 list — okay you might be discouraged for a few minutes. Then stop. Because you can eventually get to where you want to go, even if you start late, if you are determined enough.

It’s not over yet. No. It’s not over.

You can read a post about Whitney’s career path and how she grabbed her “brass ring” on The Muse here.

You can check out the 2015 Forty Women to Watch Over 40 here:


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