Giving Back Is Over
Why a values-integrated career could be your next act
We’re living in a moment when many of us are asking ourselves, “How am I showing up in the world? How do I exist in my community?” The concept of “giving back” is shifting from a passive, stand-alone activity like volunteering or writing a check, to becoming an integral part of our lives, careers, and values.
Many of us Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are growing tired of asking ourselves the obvious What have I been ‘taking’ that giving back is a necessary counteraction? Instead, we are looking deeply at how we design our lives so that we are in continuous balance between taking and giving.
Gen Zers are lucky. They are growing up in a world where the term “giving back” is quickly becoming an anachronism. Their education, budding careers, and social lives are, in many ways, intertwined with their values. They often don’t have to choose between the job that will pay them well and the job that will feed their soul. Of course, this isn’t a perfect model yet, but there is no denying that value-integrated lives are more possible for younger people starting their careers today than they were 20 years ago.
So, as midlife reinventors, how do we take advantage of a world beyond giving back and mesh our desire for fruitful, fulfilling next acts with our desire for value-integrated lives? Here are three inspiring examples of women reinventors who are finding their way in this new world. Use their tips and tricks in your own reinvention.
Business as a Three-Legged Stool
Tami Fujii and Dianne Celuch, founded KinonaSport, a women’s golf apparel company. They describe their business as a three-legged stool. The first leg is giving women something functional and flattering to wear on and off the golf course. The second is offering women the opportunity to start their own second careers by hosting shopping parties. The third leg is partnering, through money and time, with a nonprofit organization that teaches kids to play golf. All three legs of the stool are key to the success of their business and to their own personal happiness.
Humanity versus Vanity
Ruth Sutcliffe’s new motto is “Humanity versus Vanity.” After being laid off in her 50s from a fragrance company and spending months with her ailing mother in a long-term care facility, Ruth became inspired to develop scents that stir memories in seniors. Today, she has started a movement to incorporate “smell therapy” in patients with dementia through her Essential Awakenings™ Smell and Memory Tool Kits.
Beth Bengston’s career-long desire to connect business with purpose led her to adopt a 1% give-back model in her business, Hale Advisors. But that wasn’t enough for Beth. Although the check got bigger each year, Beth was frustrated because she knew it would only grow so far and so fast. She wanted to do more. She found that only 1.2% of philanthropic giving goes to support women’s causes and thought, what if I can direct thousands of businesses to elevate women in the workforce? In 2018, she founded Working for Women, “a nonprofit that matches and builds relationships between businesses and non-profit organizations that are working to elevate women to enter and stay in the workforce.”
Kirsten Bunch is an international bestselling author and the creator of The Women’s Changemaker Mentorship. Her new book, Next Act, Give Back: Discover Your Personal Path to Go From Being Charitable to Being a Changemaker is available for pre-order now.
The Women Behind the Women Running in 2018 (TheCovey, October 2018 issue)
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