Entrepreneur

Chronicles Of A 50+ Entrepreneur: Attending The Encore.org 20th Anniversary Summit


In the previous articles in this series I write about my experiences as a 50+ entrepreneur and advocate for 50-plus workers.


Encore with a mission.Encore.org

After a trip away to attend a conference only a month ago, I was not really planning to attend either of two events that were packed with the must-watch players in our industry – the industry now being called the ‘Longevity Economy’ which is the result of the ‘Silver Tsunami’. In simple terms – the businesses circling around the fast growing population over 50.

Aging 2.0’s ‘Optimize’ is a conference hosted by the national organization Aging 2.0, who’s mission is to ‘support innovators taking on the biggest challenges and opportunities in aging’. With a membership of 40,000 and chapters in 20 countries, they are the center of a lot of attention. But, you can’t go everywhere, and with a focus on tech and health-tech, it’s not necessarily relevant to us, with our focus on work and financial health.

Some of our new business friends are attending so I’m sure I can get a download from them about movement in the areas that relate to our audience, and, of course, investors.

I did eventually attend one after all, the opportunities were too good to pass up. I was keenly interested in Encore.org’s 20th Anniversary Summit taking place in our company’s hometown of Los Angeles. Next For Me has recently become an Encore Partner. Encore exists to activate intergenerational connections. The current goal of their Gen2Gen program is a campaign to

mobilize 1 million adults 50+ to stand up for — and with — young people today.

As a company that believes there needs to be an upheaval in corporate practices for 50+ workers, we know that this has got to include different generations understanding each other a lot more.

Remember we spend our money very carefully and a week away is a week away from our work at hand. But, when Encore went out of their way to encourage me to attend with the promise of an inspired event and the opportunity to meet people who could help us grow, I couldn’t say no.

In fact from the minute I stepped into the conference Aileen Ichikawa, Partnership Manager, and  Betsy Werly, Director of Network Expansion with Encore, noticed me and began making introductions around the room before I’d even coffee’d up.

Finalists in the Gen@Gen Encore Prize.Jeff Tidwell

A Celebratory Couple Of Days

On the first morning Marc Freedman, the CEO and President of Encore.org, welcomed the attendees. In addition to celebrating the 20th anniversary of the non-profit, the event was also celebrating the publication of Freedman’s new book ‘How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting Generations

And to push the joyous tone of the event even higher, Freedman and Encore were also receiving The Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence, which included a $100, 000 cash gift for the organization. This was all presented at a celebratory dinner on the first night.

It’s essential to the mission of The Eisner Foundation to highlight programs across the country that show just how effectively intergenerational programs enhance society. Marc Freedman and Encore.org, with their dynamic view of life after 50, have certainly changed the way many older adults engage with their communities.’ – Michael Eisner, founder of The Eisner Foundation

Earlier that day, Freedman welcomed Jo Ann Jenkins the CEO of AARP and author of ‘Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age’. AARP was a prominent sponsor of the event and has worked with Encore for some time. AARP assumed operations of The Purpose Prize from Encore in 2011. For the past 10 years they have awarded six-figure cash prizes to people age 60 and above for significant positive social-impact work.

AARP also adopted the intergenerational tutoring and mentoring program Experience Corps from Encore expanding the scale of the program via AARP’s nationwide network.

Inspired Programming

There were also breakout sessions for smaller group work. Topics included:

  • Building More Age-Integrated Communities
  • Taking Differently About Aging: Why We Need To, How to Do it
  • Spreading Intergenerational Innovations: Learning from Gen2Gen Prize Finalists
  • Effective Practices for Recruiting and Engaging Encore Talent
  • Making the Case in New Ways, with New Voices
  • Jolt: Stories of Trauma and Transformation with author Mark Miller *use tweet
  • Social Media Doctors – help for the visiting organizations on effective social media practices

    and of interest to us,

  • Creative Approaches to Financing and Sustainability (more on this in my next article on ‘New Power’)

Five honorees for the AARP Purpose Prize spoke about what we can learn from renowned social entrepreneurs in the second half of life. They answered questions about fear, creativity, and their most effective movement-building tactics.

Glad We Made It

We’re not a non-profit, but we believe that the work we’re doing is important and will make a difference in people’s lives and on society. At times I felt out of the loop with respect to the inner workings of non-profits at the Summit, I found the experience an opportunity to think more broadly about the impact of our work. There is plenty to learn from the social entrepreneurs about selling your value proposition through storytelling, keeping your eye on the prize and not giving up.

I’ll cover more from the Summit in future articles including: meeting colleagues in publishing, inspiration from the author of ‘New Power’, jumping on a ‘movement train’, and some new networked friends worth mentioning.

Previous articles in the series:

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