Well educated, compassionate and worldly, Canada’s women are a powerful untapped resource and a national treasure.
Elaine Slatter, formerly a corporate marketing executive, wanted to apply her skills and make a difference in the community by sharing her knowledge with other women entrepreneurs. She didn’t want to stop working but she want a role where she had more flexibility to travel, and spend winters in a warmer climate. Now supporting and mentoring entrepreneurs is her passion, one that she can do from anywhere. She values being able to give back in a way that she hadn’t been able to do while working and raising a family. She was not ready to retire; she was ready to design her next chapter. Elaine wants a meaningful, active and engaged third chapter and she is not alone.
Elaine is part of the largest segment in the population with over 5 million of women in Canada over 50 and growing, they are better educated than any demographic has ever been in the history of the country. Many of these women have held senior positions in health, government, and business and they are ready to put their skills and education to good use, combining their intellect with their values of making a difference.
After spending so many years working in corporate structures that didn’t serve them, they are more likely than ever ready to step out on their own and start their own business or non-profits, or take over the helm of one that has special meaning for them. Unprecedented numbers are going back to school and taking courses in everything from culinary arts to computer skills to gardening.
Jane, a former teacher took up the culinary arts at George Brown, and Lisa has gone from the tech industry to setting up a mediation business where she can use her masterful negotiation and communication skills to benefit others.
Driving powerful decision making as consumers and leaders, Canadian women have the resources and skill to drive massive change.
Canadian women over 50 have twice the disposable income of those 35 years of age, and have the most incomes over $100,000. So they are powerful in terms of straight numbers but also in terms of managing a significant chunk of Canada’s resources. Through their own wealth and the roles they play at home, they drive an estimated 95% of household purchasing decisions making them powerhouse decision makers and sought after consumers.
With age and experience come confidence and a different perspective. Having successful navigated their career, aging parents and often a family at home, sometimes all at the same time, women over 50 are more willing than ever to take a stand for what they believe in. Their focus shifts from their own world of career and family to a larger and more expansive view of the world and they start to question how they can have an even bigger contribution. They have a confidence they did not have when they were younger, they are even more willing to stand up for what they believe in, and the have the time and resources to focus on what is important to them.
I have met more women than ever before talking about their aspirations for a third chapter that is meaningful, fulfilling and leaves them feeling on fire! These smart and ambitious women most commonly face these challenges:
1. Getting clear on what to do –with so many interests, skills and opportunities, they struggle to decide where to focus their time and energy. Having all these choices can be a blessing and also a challenge. They sometimes get stuck in trying to pick something as it ultimately means they are choosing not to do something else.
2. Finding the support of like-minded peers. Friends and families often mean well and yet, they are happy to see you stay where you are. If you have bigger ambitions, they may say they support you and ultimately, not fully have your back. Families need to adjust to accommodate the new routines. Friends may continue to want you to be available at their schedule or they may question why you are bothering anyhow. Any significant growth or change may be met with only half-hearted enthusiasm (or sometimes worse).
3. Getting it done. Without external deadlines and accountability, women may not move forward on their goals. The ongoing demands and expectations of others tear them away from their greater purpose. They may find that without a set process to help them navigate the change they continue to languish in an in-between place - not fully engaged at either work and not yet living their third chapter on fire.
Canada would be remiss if we neglected to provide these powerhouse women with the opportunities and support they need to clearly define and fully step into their third chapter.
With potentially 30 more years of productivity, Canadian women over 50 offer a wealth of talent, skills and ambition that are sure to continue to contribute to a robust economy, healthier planet and thriving communities. Canadian women over 50 really are Canada’s best kept secret and top natural resource.
If you are a powerhouse woman over 50 who would be interested in learning more about defining your next chapter, direct message me now.
Laura Macdougall is a leading authority for senior women leaders in the non-profit and healthcare sectors who are designing their next chapters in life, work and legacy. Direct message her for more information on speaking opportunities or her revolutionary ON FIRE coaching system.