Why I Couldn’t Have Achieved This Success In My 20s
The most innovative and entrepreneurial people are probably older than you think.
Despite the headlines touting the latest college dropout founding a mega tech company, science says that more great achievements have been produced by older innovators than there were a century ago, in part because productivity increases with age. According to the Kauffmann Foundation, the majority of startup founders are between 45 and 64 years old (from just 38.3% in 1996 to 52.4% in 2014).
Unfortunately, the rate of female founders declined during that same period, and most data measuring health, employment, and other factors impacting women doesn’t include information on those over the age of 49, according to an expert panel at the U.N. 59th Commission on the Status of Women.
To remove the cloak of invisibility that threatens to hide the achievements of women of a certain age, Christina Vuleta and Whitney Johnson started an initiative they call Forty Over 40.
The idea was to raise awareness about women who “are reinventing, leaning in, and creating momentum that will be felt by those beyond their community and field of work.” Vuleta, creator of the cross-generational mentoring platform 40:20 Vision, and Johnson, former Wall Street analyst and author of Disrupt Yourself, both believe that women over 40 are just beginning to hit their stride with confidence, creativity, and clarity. “This list will give a voice to these women who have more in front of them than they have behind them,” they write.
This year’s honorees span a variety of industries and their achievements—which are considerable—are as unique as they are. Unfortunately, Vuleta asserts, they were disappointed by the lack of African American women on this year’s list, but the overall mix was diverse.
We talked to a few of this year’s honorees to find out what they are doing now that they could not possibly have accomplished when they were 25 years old.