Bonnie Marcus had a very successful business career, but that was never her intention.
Transitions in life forced Bonnie to seek new opportunities. She has a Master's degree in Education and was teaching kindergarten when she got divorced with two young children. Teaching kindergarten didn’t pay the bills so Bonnie went looking for another position. She applied to be a Medical Secretary but they told her she was too qualified. At the time, all she wanted was a 9-5 job to pay the bills and have time with her children. Something in her interview, however, caught the company’s eye. Two weeks later they called her back. They asked if she was interested in interviewing for an administrator position for a newly opened joint venture between a healthcare management company and a cardiac rehab center.
“I took the opportunity. I had no qualifications whatsoever. I even confess I wasn’t even good at balancing my checkbook.”
But they took a chance on her and taught her the business.
“In my interview, I didn’t fake it or pretend I had knowledge that I didn’t. Instead, I led with the value I did bring to the company. I grew up with doctors, in a medical family and I wasn’t intimidated in that environment. At the time I was teaching aerobics and knew a good deal about cardio fitness. Also, my father had a heart attack at 57 and I was very familiar with the cardiac rehab world.”
Within a year and a half, Bonnie was running eleven centers up and held many positions in the “C-Suite” (executive-level). It wasn’t a direct climb to the top, some of her moves were lateral, and others taught her important lessons.
“So many women are passed over because they don’t know how to advocate for themselves, create influence, or be visible. It’s a waste of talent.”
Bonnie stepped away from her corporate career in 2007 to start her own business coaching women and helping them navigate the workplace. Since then she has helped over 1000 women identify their value proposition and reach their objectives.
“I really want to help women get the promotions they deserve.”
Advice For Women Looking to Stand Out In Their Careers
Bonnie’s book, Not Done Yet! , gives women over 50 the tools to stay marketable and keep their jobs.
“As women approach 50 and show visible signs of aging then gendered ageism kicks in. Women are viewed under a different microscope than men. We are marginalized and sidelined because of the emphasis on looks and youthfulness. We are often viewed as being irrelevant and offering no value much earlier than aging men.”
5 Tips To Stay Marketable
- Identify Your Value Proposition so you can authentically advocate for yourself. Focus on your work and how that leads to positive business outcomes.
- Cultivate Your Growth Mindset so you are staying up to date on necessary tools to stay relevant. Prepare for what skills you’ll need in the future and be strategic.
- Declare your ambition and let your manager know you’re still invested in doing your best work.
- Create a Cross-Generational Network to create more visibility and credibility across the organization and to learn new skills.
- Own Your Experience by using your age and experience as powerful tools to wield in politically savvy ways.
Bonnie plans to address three key points in her Guest Speaking talk (that are also reiterated in her book).
- The effect of gendered ageism on professional women
- What you can do to defy ageist assumptions in the workplace
- How you may be holding yourself back by internalizing ageist stereotypes and assumptions.
Bonnie doesn’t see age as a reason to stop asking for that promotion or to slow down. Rather she sees it as a time to really nurture passions by fostering a strong community of supportive female friends. Together these women can help revel in battles fought and won and learn from each other. The right network of champions can help assure that you know your value proposition, learn to be proactively strategic, and self-reflect so you aren’t holding yourself back.
Bonnie’s method is based on years of research and coaching. She decided to write her book when she was helping a client go through the painful experience of being marginalized at 58 after being a high-profile Silicon Valley tech lawyer. Bonnie realized this wasn’t an isolated case. Ageism and the intersectionality with gender bias is a reality. As part of her research, Bonnie conducted interviews with women 50+ about their experiences in the workplace. While many of those interviewed wished to remain anonymous, they were all passionate to bring awareness to this issue.
Together, Bonnie and the women who helped champion these ideas are bringing awareness to an important issue and giving women tools to deal with these challenges.
Learn More About Moving Forward At Any Age And Win A Copy Of Bonnie's Book
Bringing awareness to these issues and combating ageism starts with learning how to identify it. Join Bonnie on May 19 to learn more about ageism in the workplace and the steps you can take to proactively combat it.
As we age in the workplace, we can experience age discrimination. Ageism affects our job status and financial security, especially for women as they show visible signs of aging.
Plus 5 lucky winners will get a copy of Bonnie’s book, Not Done Yet!, delivered to their doorstep. In order to enter this randomly selected drawing, you must attend the live event on GetSetUp’s site where the winners will be announced.Join Guest Speaker: Bonnie Marcus