Podcast #236 – Encore Careers with Encore Network Leader Janine Vanderburg
Let me read some of her bio:
An encore champion and longtime community activist, Janine Vanderburg is in her encore career leading Changing the Narrative in Colorado, a campaign started in 2018 to change the way people think, talk and act about aging and ageism.
In 2019, Janine created the Age-Friendly Workplace Initiative, to “reframe” older workers to business leaders and to make businesses more aware of the benefits of intergenerational workplaces, and On the Same Page, a campaign to encourage intergenerational conversations about ageism. This year, Janine partnered with the local PBS station to produce and broadcast a series of intergenerational conversations about critical topics, including the role of the arts in advancing social justice, digital divides during Covid-19, health equity, and ageism.
Janine served two terms on the Denver Commission on Aging, where she facilitated a strategic planning process to help Denver become an age-friendly community and initiated the Commission’s social media presence to challenge the stereotype that older adults are digitally incompetent. In 2018, she earned the Mayor’s Diversity and Inclusion award for her advocacy for older adults.
Committed to leveraging the talents of people of all ages to benefit the community, Janine currently chairs the Encore Network Leadership Council. Her favorite saying: “We are the leaders we are looking for.”
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Now on to the podcast…
What is the Encore Network?
A coalition of like-minded people that are aiming to change how people think, talk and act about ageism. The Network aims to bring light to the benefit of the 50 and older age group and how their work and life experience can be beneficial to the workplace.
Mark Friedman is the pioneer over the past two decades on this idea of the older phase of life and their benefit to the workplace. He named the 50 and older time in life as the “Encore Phase.”
This phase of life can include changing careers, volunteering, mentoring, or just bridging the gap in the workplace and the ages of those in it. Connecting people that are on the ground doing the work and empowering the older as they continue to work and use their life skills to continue their work.
Not only can people over 50 not afford to retire, but many also don’t want to. Most want to continue working, possibly in a new way. This Encore phase of life is the phase many use to start a new career or journey, finding things that they enjoy.
Areas of the Encore Network
The encore network touches many areas in its work. A big group of the Network is engaged in employment, helping with transitional phases. Others run fellowship programs for nonprofit organizations, and another sector is helping re-train people who might be interested in a new area of work. Outside of just members, there are many organizations involved that help nurture individuals through this stage of life.
A few years ago Jeanine was offered the position of helping with a national movement to help reframe the mentality around this Encore stage of life and how people think and interact in this important time. She runs the ‘Changing the Narrative Initiative;’ How people talk think and act about ageism.
Outside of speaking on this aspect they spend much of their time on public policy work to change the way people think about aging in the workplace. One of her fun projects is changing the ageism on birthday cards. Creating birthday cards to celebrate aging rather than the typical cards you see in stores today that put aging in a negative light.
Is it Really Retirement?
The pandemic seems to have caused many to retire or force some into retirement that had no other options. But are they truly retired? Many don’t feel done or ready to retire.
In Janine’s work, they are connecting with those on the ground who might be in a new career realm or who are stepping up saying they aren’t ready to retire and they still have lots to offer.
In the current diversity movement, the issue of age doesn’t seem to be as prominent.
The Future of the Encore Network
Encore network works around the country. They have a solid base and as they form together using their various platforms so they are able to become a collective voice. Moving out of the pandemic Encore aims to help change policies to help us move forward.
Janine believes that there needs to be a fight behind the allocation of workforce dollars. As we rebuild the economy we need to ensure that the money to rebuild is spent on the older working-age group.
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