These Women Are Rescripting The Narrative For Women 40 And Over

DENVER — On Nov. 1, BizLifeCon will take place at Microsoft’s offices in Denver, Colo. The bi-annual conference offers a curated agenda of business and lifestyle sessions and experiences tailored for women 40 and older. The one-day event provides corporate professionals, entrepreneurs, freelancers and mid-life-questing women the developmental resources, content and community to continuously advance their lives and careers. 

“Our community of vibrant, young women 40 and 50 plus have spoken and we’re delivering. This particular event focuses solely on them with highly curated content, presenters and activation stations, our intention is that our ladies feel free to be, learn to put the oxygen mask on first, and leave rejuvenated,” said Barbara Brooks, cofounder of SecondActWomen. 

The conference is a result of the unexpected situations Brooks and cofounder Gaudalupe Hirt found themselves in last year. “After several phone and in-person interviews, it becomes apparent. It’s that feeling you get that only someone of a certain ‘age’ recognizes when secret code questions are asked to identify age. It’s that call you replay with a voice on the other end who, undoubtedly, is younger than you,” Hirt said.

She was 46 and looking for a fresh start after a 24-year career as a public relations executive turned entrepreneur, associate producer and author. She was drowning in resume submissions and rejections despite having a full career. As fate would have it, her former business partner Brooks, 51 years old at the time, was dealing with the same thing. Brooks found herself professionally and personally stuck, unhappy, and passionless. She had a stellar 28-year, award-winning marketing and public relations career and became an entrepreneur in 2011. But she wanted something else, but felt unsure of what that something next was. It wasn’t until attending a women’s conference in May 2018, and still in the same state of personal and professional flux, that her purpose manifested. She rallied to turn her idea into reality, focusing exclusively on women 40 and over who find themselves in the same state of mind Brooks was in before finding her true calling.

She founded the company BloomCo that would go on to be the parent company of the now launched, SecondActWomen. Frustrated with being passed over for employment opportunities, the duo set out to rescript the ageist narrative that women over 40 are past their prime. 

Helping Women In Their Second Act Of Life

Today Brooks and Hirt curate a collection of business and lifestyle community events, advanced learning programs, digital content and products to propel women in their second life stage forward. Focused on entrepreneurs, corporate ladder climbers, side hustlers, and returnship candidates, SecondActWomen has already attracted brands like Microsoft, Prudential, Citywide Banks, Nanno, University of Denver Colorado Women’s College, WorkAbility and more. 

“As of 2017, 80% of corporate leadership at Fortune 500 companies are men. Of that, 72% are white men,” said Hirt, adding that it’s an ongoing problem despite the fact that more than 1,800 women launch a business per day. 

Brooks and Hirt are determined to turn that corporate culture on its head.

BizLifeCon is only one of the three initiatives the company is working on, the other two include SocialWork, a varied ensemble of social and business events or programs that bring women 40 and 50 and over together; and SocialSociety, a private online and offline membership that provides a safe space to connect with like-minded women.

For now the women are focusing on growth. SecondActWomen will be at South by Southwest in 2020 and the women hope the platform will help accelerate their goal to bring SecondActWomen to a global market. 

About the author

Mia Cariglia

Mia Cariglia is a Creative Writing and Public Relations double major at Western New England University. Mia enjoys her daily caramel swirl coffee and ending each day by saying three good things that happened to her. Mia hopes to one day write a novel and be the head of a Public Relations department.


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