After Jeannie Ralston’s youngest child went to college, she searched for positive messaging for women her age. Instead, she found that other women over 45 felt invisible and were encouraged to fade away quietly.
“I thought, ‘oh my gosh, is my life over?’” Ralston said in an interview with Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski. “That’s a long time for life to be over.”
Ralston decided her life was far from over. Using contacts from her previous career in magazine journalism, Ralston in October launched NextTribe, a digital lifestyle magazine and network for women over 45. The tagline is “age boldly.”
“I wanted to take off ‘age gracefully,’” said Ralson. “I didn’t want the ‘gracefully.’ ‘Gracefully’ is some kind of judgment that sounds like: ‘just go off quietly.’”
Women over 55 are the fastest-growing age and gender sector in the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Harvard Business Review found that 93 percent of women who leave the workforce want to return.
“We have value. We have impact. Do not ignore us, you will miss out on something,” said Brzezinski, who co-authored “Comeback Careers: Rethink, Refresh, Reinvent Your Success — At 40, 50 and Beyond,” a roadmap for women who want to re-enter the workforce after taking time off.
Ralston noted that women her age still loved to travel, take road trips and party. Her friends are still “27 on the inside.” She added that she has been disappointed by media outlets targeting women her age.
“We were just looking at what was out there in the media, and it felt overly earnest, suppressing, and like you’re gonna fall off a cliff,” said Ralston. “We decided to start NextTribe and give women over 45 a place to feel heard, relevant and understood.”
NextTribe content includes articles on making new friends over 45, launching new careers, aging proudly and more. The network also hosts live events, including Screw Invisibility in October, which featured guest appearances like writer E. Jean Carroll and the creator of Fashion Week, Fern Mallis.
In writing “Comeback Careers,” Brzezinski found that women want to return to the workforce, but are held back due to ageism and a lack of confidence.
“These women are so afraid of failing that they kind of go to their safe space and say ‘no,’” said Brzezinski.
Ralston replied: “My most avid readers, I call them ‘yes women. They say ‘yes’ to the world, ‘yes’ to adventures and challenges. We’re still explorers. We still want a challenge, we still want to engage.”