Lynne was our very first sign up for our new 50 Over 50 & Fabulous Beauty Photography project. If you're wondering what in the world the 50 Over 50 & Fabulous project is, my goal is to photograph 50 women age 50 and over, and to embrace the beauty of aging! I'm interviewing the participants throughout the process and will be putting on a gallery-style art exhibit of the photographs at the end of the project, plus publishing a lookbook of images with quotes from the interviews. I have been absolutely humbled by the overwhelming interest in the project (which I had not expected), and truly inspired by all the stories that these women have been telling me!
In addition to showing the strength of women 50+ and being part of something bigger than herself, Lynne wanted to use the resulting photographs as business headshots/business portraits for her consulting firm and online dating photos for her dating profile. In fact, Lynne had been working with a relationship coach earlier in the year who recommended that she get professional online dating pictures. And guess what! Lynne recently e-mailed me to tell me about how much more interest she's been getting since posting the new online dating photos we created together. She's been getting lots of great feedback and comments on the photos, with people telling her how sophisticated she looks, AND, what could be better than THREE DATES just this week alone?!!! YAAAAY!!!!!!!!
In addition, one of the cool things about our 50 Over 50 & Fabulous project is that while the focus is on the women participating, each beauty photography session is up to three hours in length. What that means is that we've got lots of time, so many of the women participating are enjoying bringing one or more family members into part of their session, whether it's a spouse or partner, children, or fur baby, for family portraits. Lynne loves furry animals and recently started fostering cats and dogs. In addition to running her small business and fostering, Lynne also dogwalks for fun! She brought one of her favorite furry clients to hang out with us at the session, and Lynne's two daughters joined us for the last 20 minutes. Don't tell her daughters, but they will be receiving some of these gorgeous family portraits for Christmas!
Enjoy some of my favorites from Lynne's 50 Over 50 & Fabulous Beauty Photography session in downtown Bethesda, MD, and scroll down the page to review some excerpts from Lynne's first video interview!
Are you 50+? We still have some spots left in our very first 50 Over 50 & Fabulous Project.
Okay, so let's start with your name and age and then just give me a short history of you and your life from the beginning up until now.
My name is Lynne, and I’m 68 years old. I had a very traditional upbringing, however, a very nontraditional adult life. And what I mean by that is that I was supposed to be a housewife and stay at home and raise children. I started down that path when I was about 21, but found that I really had high motivation for work. I really was very curious. I really enjoyed business much more than I enjoyed cooking or any household activities. So I quickly started working in the technology field in my late 20s, and I am still involved with technology today. I've always worked; I've always almost always been with very large, name recognizable companies. But about a year and a half ago, I left the corporate world to start my own consulting firm, and my consulting firm (Business Impact Training) is focused on helping companies convert training to revenue. I work with small and medium sized companies and am enjoying that.
So these days what gets you up in the morning? What motivates you now?
I'm just so curious about everything. I feel much more energized and excited about life than I even did in my 40s, probably for a number of reasons. Number one, I still want to experience so much in the world, and I know it's going to be up to me to create the income opportunities to be able to do that. So that certainly gets me out of bed. I am free from a lot of the responsibilities that I've had in the past - raising children pretty much on my own and jumping on airplanes and flying all over the world. So I seem to have a lot more energy to really think about and do things these days. So again, I'm a very personally highly motivated person. And always, I find that there's a lot to do every day.
You told me how much you love traveling. Is travel one of your ambitions for the future?
Absolutely! Travel is at the top of the list. I had three trips lined up for this year to Costa Rica and Iceland, and I was going to take my girls on a trip to Ireland. I was able to do Costa Rica, but Ireland and Iceland have been put off for the future. And while I have traveled to most all continents in the world, there have been some that I've not seen too much of, most notably Africa. I’d like to spend much, much, much more time in Africa. But I'm up for pretty much anything. I have a large group of girlfriends who often will say, “How about we do this place,” and even if it's not something that's been on my list, so to speak, I’m game for it.
A couple of times I've gone to places that I never thought I would be interested in going to and had a fabulous time. So I can't think of a place that I wouldn't want to go to at this point and just hope that we'll have the chance to be able to do a lot of travel in the future.
Also, while I don't yet have grandchildren, leaving a legacy for those grandchildren is very important to me. It is part of my motivation right now to be able to continue to create income for myself, so that when they do come along, I will be able to invest time and money in whatever activities are most important to them. I'd certainly like to be able to ensure that they get, if not an entire education, certainly college educations, and I'd love to do that European trip with my grandchildren. So being able to really have a legacy for them is quite important to me.
You’re 68. How do you think that your generation is perceived by other generations?
So I'm just going to be honest. I don't think we are perceived very well. And that may be my own personal bias, but I think I've also had some good examples of it. Even though I am technologically very up to date, and I'm usually an early adopter in technology, I find that often when I have instances of having to call for assistance for anything, or go into a store for assistance, I'm really talked down to as if I might not know. I believe that I've also been passed over for some opportunities, where there was a perception that just given my age, I would not be able to pick up technology as quickly. I certainly don't feel elderly, but I feel that we're perceived as being limited… that we might be very stuck in our ways. And that is not me at all.
So I don't know that my generation is revered in the way that I would like for us to be. I and women like me – I think we were on the front lines of being women in the workforce. My first job was as a result of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Big name companies were not hiring women for technical sales jobs. So I got that technical sales job as a result and looked around, and I was often the only woman in my roles. So I think that there are certainly things that women in my generation did that paved the way for women now. I'm very nontraditional, but was raised in a very traditional way, where I could be a nurse, school teacher, or a secretary. And I actually started as a secretary, and I noticed that all the professional staff of which we could not have, you know, any lunch or breakfast with, were all men. You know, it's like, I want to be like them. I can talk about those things. I actually understand what they're doing. So I just think we [women like me] were leaders in some way, but maybe we're not given that respect by the generations that came after us.
Yeah. And you know what, I think that's something about our culture, because you look at other countries and other cultures, and the older generation is the most respected generation, but it’s not really like that here. And that's something sad. I was just speaking with a woman yesterday who said that she felt like your generation is swept under the rug.
Absolutely. Well, I say that I became invisible about 18 years ago, at age 50. I suspect when I was young, I was kind of an anomaly because I was the woman working with many men, but I also was not unattractive. And so, I always got lots of attention in a number of different ways. Once I crossed over 50, I became invisible. And, you know, I often don't feel my voice heard… I don't turn the heads the way I used to. I've had to, you know, compete even harder for work.
Are there any other myths that you would like to bust about the over 50s?
That we are still vital… we can still contribute. We have a long, long runway. Last year, I was given the opportunity to retire. And I suppose if I wanted to have just a regular old life and live on a fixed income, I could retire, but what am I going to do for the rest of my life – 35 or 40 years if I’m so lucky? And so I think that it's important to really recognize women, especially at our age. We've been through a lot. I mean, we have been through so much and we can help other people get through maybe tougher times. We had to break down a lot of barriers. We are still interesting and sexual creatures. There's probably so much more I would be able to contribute to a relationship now than ever before, and in every way - financially, emotionally, physically…
Is there anything else that you would like employers to know about women who are 50+?
We could really offer a lot to organizations. We can bring a level of maturity to organizations… a level of experience. It might be surprising to know that there are areas of work that we've done in the past that actually could bring new vitality to an organization. And while some of us may have gone to college earlier in our careers, many of us gained our education a little bit later, so we can bring new ideas and some thought leadership as well.
Wisdom does come with age. What I offer an organization now at 68 is 10 times more than what I could have offered even at age 30 or 35 or 40, having been inside or having worked alongside a number of different companies across the globe. I think a lot of women have that.
So what made you decide to participate in the 50 over 50 and Fabulous project?
I was really intrigued by what you were doing. It sounded cool. I'm always looking for new opportunities to learn things. I want to be able to show up looking a certain way in every touchpoint that I have with my business prospects, or my relational prospects, or even, you know, new women that I might want to meet, and I thought basically doing something like this would help me up my game just in terms of the way I present myself, and also that I would be able to offer something as well.
At this point in the process, what excites you most about the project? What are you looking forward to the most?
Oh, boy, I'd like to see the outcome. I'd like to see what other women have to say… how they show up, what they look like… I always want to learn so I think that's very exciting. What can I learn about photography? Plus, I’m excited about the new opportunities that will result from having professional photography provide the foundation for all of my (business) materials.