Marina - Defying Notions of What it Means to be Retired

Ambassadors May 20, 2021

People say once you retire it’s a completely different life. Both young and old have set up presumptions of who retired people are, what they are going to do, and what they can do. All of that is rubbish!

Marina Walne has a PhD from Stanford and is an Education Consultant with more than 38 years of experience working to develop new and innovative improvements to education. She started breaking the mold young as the Director of Admissions to Rice University, at a time where women didn’t hold such prestigious positions. Then she went on to found a blended learning school in 1988 that is still going strong: The John Cooper School in The Woodlands, Texas. She has held a number of prestigious positions on boards, managed a grant portfolio of over $45 million for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and she’s not stopping!

However, as she has aged she has had to shift directions.

“Well, after I left my position at about 58-59. I discovered that I was not employable at that level anymore. All the jobs I was applying for were hiring people in their 30s,” she said. “So what I learned was you have to develop good skill sets!”

She did not want her age to be the reason she retired. She has lots more to give.

Marina has ‘pushing the boundaries’ in her blood, not considering age as an obstacle but rather a resource, as life-long perseverance is a hereditary trait in her family. Marina’s uncle was George P. Mitchell, who is known as the father of fracking. Marina recalls that

“When my uncle passed the mayor said at his funeral, ‘He did more in his life from the age of 70-92 than most people do in a lifetime.’ I have my uncle to look at and he did all that mostly between 70-85 and it changed the nature of energy!”

Marina has advice though to help others understand how to continue breaking stereotypes as they age and leave societal presumptions behind them.

“You need to make sure you are always learning and improving what you love and do the best.”

Unfortunately, Marina says,

“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. For me I had time to work on my own ideas, while I was doing my consulting practice.”

Plus like her uncle, Marina says,

“I haven’t lost sight of my vision and let’s see what is next. My great passion has been helping people start schools that are sustainable over time and I am pleased to report that all the schools that I helped start are still in existence.”

Marina cites her success as the fact that

“Every step of the way I was fortunate to have great mentors.”

How To Seek Out Mentors At Any Age

According to Marina,

“You spot smart people and have no fear. I have never had any fear about going up to talk to anyone. I once walked right up to President George Bush and said ‘Hi.’ I just don't have any fear.”

One of the places that Marina has gone for experts is GetSetup. GetSetup is a live interactive learning community for older adults. Classes cover a wide range of topics from technology to help to ensure users understand interfaces and apps to enrichment and health and wellness. All learning opportunities facilitate learner confidence, empowerment, and independence.

Marina feels GetSetup is important for the 50+ demographic because,

“There are so many people that it is helping. It shows retired seniors that they are valuable members of society and can teach and be trained to teach. And I'm really comfortable learning from someone my age.”

Both Marina's uncle and GetSetup have a similar message for the 50+ demographic. According to her,

“The essential message is you have so much to offer in life like writing your story down for your grandchildren or volunteering. We derive so much from helping others. Don’t stop making a difference and keep going.”

GetSetup has Guides ready to help brainstorm your next business idea, teach a bit more about the cloud, or share how to optimize brain health to help prevent dementia.

Classes range from basic skills to advanced skills in areas such as health and wellness, government forms, software and apps, and so much more. If you don’t find the class you are looking for online you can contact GetSetup for customized classes for your community.


Join Marina and GetSetup Guides to mentor, teach, and help you reach your next goal!

Join A GetSetUp Class

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