Doris, Lisa and I had the wonderful opportunity to video chat with Bevan Gray-Rogel on Adobe Connect last week. We were honored that she took time to participate in our online Women of Worth Series. (You can scroll down to see the edited video–24 min).
At Women’s Learning Studio, we believe all women have worth, and Bevan very definitely demonstrated her passion and enthusiasm for her work with Baby Boomers and others in transition as they move into encore careers.
First, a little background.
Bevan is the president and founder of Encore Tampa Bay. Its mission is to provide pathways, programs and resources that help Baby Boomers discover and connect to their encore careers.
She is working with community leaders, non-profits, business leaders and educational institutions to identify programs and opportunities for Boomers to find, launch and master new career interests.
In 1996, Bevan started her own organizational development consulting firm, Graylan Consulting. Since that time, Graylan Consulting has provided strategic planning, team building, change management, leadership development, coaching and board development services.
Bevan is currently on the faculty of the University of Florida Leadership Development Institute and the Center for Transformation and Innovation where she develops and facilitates leadership programs and provides executive coaching.
Bevan’s work with Baby Boomers came from her own search to find purpose in the second half of her life. She described her frustration and sense of aimlessness after her daughter left home. She then talked about her efforts to find something meaningful to do with her life. After much searching, she read Marc Freeman’s book, The New Shift: Navigating the New Stage beyond Midlife, and she realized that many others must be experiencing similar concerns. She found her passion!
Bevan has found that the boomer generation is unique in their confidence, optimism and long-held belief that they can change the world. As she works with Boomers, she is most gratified when she sees the light bulb go on as they suddenly discover their unique solutions to make a difference.
She is also finding some challenges in educating people, including Baby Boomers, to understand that Boomers are not just a phenomenon but an economic force that can add value to a community.
Bevan described the following components of Encore Career exploration:
- It’s all about finding purpose. In 2014, all Baby Boomers will be at least 50 years old. Many are looking at new opportunities and new directions. Bevan believes direction must be tied to one’s unique purpose in life. Many people begin by looking at their strengths: the activities, purposes and beliefs that make them feel strong not just those things they do well. Bevan said that knowing and acting on your life purpose makes you feel stronger.
- It’s also about commitment to change. Bevan mentioned seeing Jane Pauley and reading her new book, Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life. Pauley suggests that one must to be open to new experiences and new opportunities—take the off ramp and just experience new things. Often, people are not eager to leave the comfort of the known, the security of their current situations. But, it is when one slows down that a more gratifying life is possible. That requires commitment to making a significant change. It requires thinking about what you are going toward rather than what you may be letting go.
- Retooling may be necessary. Many Boomers need retooling—learning to use new technology and new methodologies to make the changes required for a different path. That often requires finding learning resources and taking the time to be a learner. It requires overcoming fears associated with feeling less competent and less in control than one has felt in a long time. In this discussion, we were pleased that she applauded our efforts at Women’s Learning Studio to help women build “net savvy” skills to navigate a new path, career, or way of working.
- Finding your purpose and building your encore career does not happen overnight. Insights and new directions do not come as a bolt of lightning but as trickles of new and different ideas and possibilities. Progress comes when you pay attention to the trickles. Finding your encore career comes with baby steps and many possible paths. Success comes from experimenting and recognizing that is it OK to fail.
- Don’t pursue a different path in isolation. Surround yourself with supportive allies as you go in new directions. Meet new people because the people you already know may expect you to remain the same. New people can inspire new ideas and hold you accountable to change. Consider working and learning with people from different backgrounds and different generations. They can provide new perspectives to help you move toward your encore career.
Bevan is looking forward to convening an Encore Town Hall event in the near future and to compiling an Encore handbook filled with information to help Boomers find resources to help them search and pursue new directions. Her vivacious attitude and her own commitment convince us that Bevin will be very successful in HER encore career, and we look forward to working with her and Encore Tampa Bay in the future. You can learn more about Bevan and her work at www.EncoreTampaBay.com.
We hope you will join us for other Women of Worth and Studio E-vents and that you will peruse our website for resources and information on becoming an online learner and collaborator. Please register on our site to receive notices of other exciting online learning and sharing opportunities.