Breaking Beyond the Age Stigma

GSU Community Stories May 18, 2020

Like it or not time keeps ticking on by and with each year we gain a number to what society likes to call age. And while age may be just a number that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with a stigma.

I sat down to talk to Marina Walne who has a Ph.D. from Stanford and is an Education Consultant with more than 38 years of experience. She continues to break ‘age’ stereotypes just like she was breaking ‘female’ stereotypes in her field during her youth. Age hasn’t been a number that has held her back in the least. It is a number that keeps her going and thriving so she can consult for non-profits, work on boards, be an executive director and continue to pursue her greatest passion, which as she put it is “helping people start schools that are sustainable over time. I am pleased to report that all the schools that I have helped start are still in existence.”

She’s not stopping!

Marina Walne is making her mark on education as a consultant and entrepreneur, and nothing is holding her back!

What is your secret to success?

“The secret to success, in my opinion, is good mentors! I have known what I don’t know and picked out real smart people who had the experience I lacked. Before I started The John Cooper School I wrote to the heads of the 50 best schools I had seen as the Director of Admissions at Rice University and got all the information, then put together what I thought was the best and most necessary.”

People say once you retire it’s a completely different life and people have set up presumptions of who you are and what you are going to do? Do you have any advice about this?

“Well, after I left my job at 58–59 I discovered I was not employable at that high level. So what I learned was you have to develop some good skill sets. You need to make sure you are always learning and improving what you love and do the best. I found I was employable as a consultant for a group starting non-profits.”

This also left her the time to pursue her passions in sustainable education and personal endeavors.

She continued, “If you are young you need to cultivate things you love to do and keep doing them. I don’t know if society will change but currently, once you hit 60 I know lots of people who have trouble finding a full-time job so they have to strike out on their own.”

Striking out on your own at any age can be a challenge, and when faced with challenges or obstacles that require additional knowledge Marina seeks out experts in the field. That’s how, with a group of her friends from church, she ended up in her first small group class at GetSetUp: How to Stay Connected with Friends and Family using Zoom.

GetSetUp has a host of ‘reskilled’ educators who are sharing their knowledge as ‘Guides’ for more than 50+ classes related to using devices, apps, software, and filling out government forms for Social Security and Medicare. This means that seniors learn from their peers in empathetic, self-paced, fun live interactive classroom settings.

Marina found she was a bit more advanced from her peers and already knew how to use Zoom to sign up, schedule meetings, and screen share. However, she still learned some new Zoom skills in the classes and believes one of the more advanced classes would suit her better in the future.

According to her, “I learned how to cut and paste a meeting into outlook and I didn’t know these background screens which are kind of fun!”

What other classes did you participate in on GetSetUp?

“The Purplepatch class. Oh my god! He is just a rock star. What I learned there was transferable to life and not just fitness. He talked about setting up routines and how you thrive based on the routines you set up.

I have a friend that is a psychologist and she said that is exactly what she teaches her clients who come to her with mental distress routines — getting up eating, exercise, etc.

With COVID-19 my husband and I have been able to focus on routine more.”

The Purple Patch Seminar as a special event (you can revisit it here: Episode 113: Performance and Resilience for the Mature 50+ Crowd) hosted by Matt of Purple Patch in conjunction with GetSetUp. It centered around resilience and human performance for those who are 50+ with insights on health (for non-athletes and tips for health maintenance and resilience), stability (managing anxiety and new routines), finding purpose (grounding in something bigger than yourself), seeking connection (making human connections despite the distance), and perspective (reframing a bad situation to evolve and thrive).

How do you stay healthy and has that changed as you get older?

“Before the lockdown, we got a bike since we knew the gyms would close. I do a lot of walking cause we have a dog. Most of the time we eat healthily. Though I have to confess we have started to drink a bit more wine with isolation measures in place. But, basically a simple meal in the morning, a smoothie for lunch, and a home-cooked dinner.

While I’m walking I don’t think I’m getting my heart rate up enough. Before I got married I was a real athlete and I ran 5 marathons. But, I think I got so excited to get married that I got complacent,” she says with light laughter.

What do you think is the benefit of GetSetUp for you?

“Being engaged in a meaningful activity and I’m really comfortable learning from someone my own age. Not that I couldn’t learn from someone younger but well it’s just nice to learn from someone my age.”

Marina has no plans to stop pursuing her dream of sustainable education and is doing so with ‘school-in-a-kit” which is meant to help entrepreneurs set up a sustainable school anywhere. That is, of course, her passion project that she does in conjunction with all of her other duties in philanthropy and consulting.

There is never a time like the present to keep honing skills and learning new things!

Do you want to learn a new skill, app, or technology on your terms, your pace, and your time, in a fun interactive remote environment?

GetSetUp up has Guides trained to help those over 50 with free small group classes or fee-based small group and one-on-one classes in a variety of areas. From Introduction to Medicare to How to stay calm during stressful times and so many more classes focused on apps to help you build a website, use social media, or use rideshare apps, GetSetUp likely has a class to fit your needs.

If you don’t find the class you are looking for online you can contact GetSetUp for customized classes for you, your company, or your community.

Leave age — a number — and like Marina, GetSetUp to reach your next goal!

#MakeYourMark #OAM2020

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