The Toll Ageism Takes on People — and Businesses

Author: Convene Editors       

age discrimination

Illustration by Edmon de Haro

Despite all of the progress we’ve made toward a more inclusive, equal-opportunity work environment, Patti Temple Rocks writes in I’m Not Done: It’s Time to Talk About Ageism in the Workplace, “we’re still loath to include age in the discrimination conversation. We’re currently experiencing an unprecedented longevity boom; Baby Boomers now represent 50 percent of the population and are living longer and staying healthier than any previous generation. As a result, the workers that are being pushed out of their careers early represent the single largest demographic currently living in the United States.”

Because that represents a huge loss of institutional knowledge, “ageism doesn’t just hurt people; it hurts businesses, too,” Temple Rocks writes. “Even setting aside how ageism makes people feel (hint: terrible), most businesses are incredibly slow to realize — or totally blind to — the considerable upside of figuring out how to take advantage of this huge, highly capable segment of employees … It’s time to change that.”

Convene spoke with PR and advertising executive Temple Rocks, activist Ashton Applewhite, and entrepreneur Chip Conley for their perspectives on what that will take. Plus, we checked in with events industry professionals Lisa Block and Donna Kastner to learn how they parlayed their decades-long, successful careers into new roles. Here’s what they had to say.

Ashton Applewhite: The Crusader

In general, people are living and working longer than they have at any time in human history. What if, asks Applewhite, instead of seeing age — and aging workers — in a negative light, we looked at longevity as the asset that it is? Read the full Ashton Applewhite interview.

Patti Temple Rocks: The Strategist

The title of the PR and advertising executive’s book, I’m Not Done, is as much a personal statement as a sentiment shared by her entire generation. Patti Temple Rocks shared with Convene the messages she wanted to get across in the book and the conversations she hopes it will spark.

Chip Conley: The ‘Modern Elder’

Boomers can take on a critical role in the workplace as Modern Elders, Conley says, by following a four-stage process. Read the full Chip Conley interview

They Dont Want to Work Full Throttle

After working more than 15 years in events industry, Donna Kastner isnt slowing down —shes focusing on new entrepreneurial project for the modern elder. Read how Kastner launched Retirepreneur.

Moving ‘In a Different Direction

After working nearly three decades at the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Lisa Block decided to pursue an opportunity that gives her more flexibility and better suits her lifestyle. Block talks to Convene about her move.

Test Time

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  • Once you’ve finished reading the June Convene cover stories listed above, read an Experient blog post, “Why the Over-50 Crowd Still Matters for Events,” by Donna Kastner.
  • To earn certification clock hours, visit Convene’s CMP Series page to answer questions about information contained in this CMP Series article and the additional material.

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