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Pursuing my curiosity-Running: Women Behind The Network Female Leaders At 50 Series introducing Katie Holmes

When I started my blog at the age of 50, I was setting off on a journey with curiosity and excitement. Curious to find out more about the experiences of older female runners and their participation in running. Excited about learning new skills and developing my writing, adapting it to a different format.

 

Why write about older women? Women over fifty are not often in the public eye, in fact it can feel that we are invisible. We don’t know much about older women’s experience of participating in sport or their attitudes to exercise. 

 

I started by interviewing female runners over fifty because I wanted to share and give value to their storiesand to celebrate their achievements.

 

The six women I’ve interviewed, aged from 50 to over 70 have diverse running biographies. Two of them have been runners for most of their adult lives, four started running after the age of 40. Their motivations for running vary but they have all found a community of friends through running. By continuing to run into their fifties, sixties and seventies, all six women could be said to be exceptional. Society’s expectations are that older women, and, to a lesser extent, men, will become less active and enfeebled by ageing. Instead these women have become more active and stronger. They are also making themselves visible by running at parkrun, at races, on the track and on the streets.

 

Another way in which I give prominence to older women’s stories is through my curated list of blogs by female runners over 50 from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. I’m always on the lookout for more blogs to add to the list.

 

Quite early on I branched off into a new area of interest. After hearing interviews with pioneering female marathon runners on the Marathon Talk podcast, I became interested in the history of women’s endurance running and have published several articles about this on my blog. For decades women were excluded from endurance sports on the grounds that they did not have the strength, that their gynaecological health would suffer and that getting hot and sweaty was unfeminine and unbecoming for women. Women were prohibited from running more than 200m at the Olympics from 1928 to 1960, and the women’s marathon was not added to the programme until 1984. 

 

My aim is to find out about and record the stories of the trailblazing female runners who challenged the status quo and showed what women could achieve in the face of limited opportunities and prejudice. They built the foundations for women’s running today and their history deserves to be better known. 

 

Along the way, I’ve developed a network through social media, connecting with people I would otherwise never have reached. Their areas of expertise or interest overlap with mine in one or more ways. I’ve connected with academics in the fields of sports history, sociology and sports science; with campaigners raising awareness of the perimenopause and menopause; with physiotherapists, nutritionists, athletes and coaches; with lots of runners including world record holders and Olympians; and, of course, with many active women over 50. These connections have enriched my writing, especially in the area of running history, and encouraged me to continue.

 

Five years on, where will my blog journey take me now? Turning 50 did not feel like a big milestone for me but turning 55 has. I feel more keenly aware of the limited time that I have left to achieve what I want to through my blog. I feel that I have something important to say and that what I am doing is worthwhile. I am not sure whatmy destination will be, but I do know that I’m going to pursue it.

 

Katie Holmes, www.RunYoung50.co.uk

 

 

 

career, New thinking

Career Sponsorship : so what’s the deal?

Following a conversation with a network female leader this week I was reminded of the importance of sponsorships I received through my career and continue to receive as well as the importance of being a sponsor myself. Having a sponsor in your career is an invaluable tool for female leaders. A sponsor will actively advocate for you, put your name forward for high-stakes assignments that win notice and promotion, and spend their own political capital at work in your name. These roles are hugely important and can build your career in different ways. Here, i discuss how to find a sponsor, how to become one yourself, and the benefits of having one.

As a female leader how can you be a sponsor for others?
If you’re already established in your career and would like to help others reach their goals, then being a sponsor is an excellent way of doing so. As a sponsor, it’s important that you take the time to get to know those who look up to you – learn about their goals, experiences and strengths so that when opportunities arise that may be beneficial for them you can speak up confidently on their behalf. Also ensure that any sponsorship is done without asking anything in return – this should be completely unconditional support!


How to Find a Sponsor
Finding a sponsor starts with being visible at work. This means participating in meetings, speaking up with ideas and solutions, attending events, and generally putting yourself out there. If you have an idea that you can pitch to management or a project that you can take on independently then do so; these are great ways to get noticed by people who could be potential sponsors. Additionally, networking as always is key! Is there anyone else in the work place who has achieved what you’d like to achieve or who holds the position that you’d like to have – they could be great mentors or sponsors for you. Offer to take them for a coffee, talk about the work that they’re doing and see if you can support or be a part their project.

Benefits of Having A Sponsor
Having a sponsor gives both parties many different advantages; as mentioned previously it provides those looking for support with more visibility within their workplace which often leads to experience in projects which can result in more recognition from colleagues and management. On top of this having someone advocating specifically on your behalf gives them more confidence when making decisions too as they know someone else has faith in them – this often results in better performance overall as they feel supported by their sponsor throughout the process too.

Finally having someone willing to spend their political capital at work in your name allows you access into higher levels of decision-making power which is especially beneficial if there are no other pathways available traditionally into these positions otherwise.

In conclusion, having a mentor or sponsor is incredibly important for any woman trying to advance her career; not only does it provide access into higher levels of decision-making but it also builds confidence as well as creating visibility within workplaces where women are often overlooked or undervalued due solely on gender alone. Finding one requires dedication and networking while being one requires selflessness – but both are worth it if done correctly! With all these things considered i hope this article has given insight into why sponsorship is such an important tool for women today! Good luck!

Author: Ciara Moore

Ciara is the founder of female leaders at fifty.

New thinking

Leadership Sundays, Coffee and the odd hound or two

On a Sunday morning, I have developed a habit to take a few moments to write and read about leadership. Taking this time to reflect on the week that has passed and also plan for the week ahead is so important for my growth from a personal aspect and as a leader. Reading about new topics, ideas and perspectives can be incredibly stimulating and inspiring.

While the household sleeps (all late risers) and I have taken care of my two exuberant hounds, fed them breakfast and they finally settle beside me, I enjoy taking some peaceful moments with a cup of coffee in hand. Many times I will start by reading something inspirational or educational, immersing myself in knowledge that can help inform my views on leadership. Other times, I will review notes from my week take out my laptop and start writing instead.

This time is a quiet oasis in my otherwise busy schedule of work projects, our female leaders network family commitments and running errands. The smell of coffee wafting through the air while peaceful silence and a hound or two at my feet provides just enough comfort to make writing enjoyable yet inspiring enough to keep me motivated. It is here that many of my leadership learning has been consolidated –brief flashes of inspiration related to new ways of working with teams, more effective communication styles or creative strategies for problem solving emerge from these momentary pauses away from all other distractions.

Writing on Sundays helps me further develop my skillset as a leader – not only do I gain insight from reading new material, but also doing written exercises helps hone my critical thinking abilities. Crafting well-thought-out arguments on important topics helps me understand and refine how others perceive me as a leader – it encourages greater clarity when articulating ideas both verbally and in writing; it fosters fresh perspectives which might otherwise remain hidden; it stimulates creativity which can make all the difference when discussing complex topics with colleagues or team members; lastly, regular writing keeps me constantly learning which is invaluable in any profession but especially helpful within leadership roles where continual growth is essential for success.

So why develop a writing or reflection?

Reflecting on the past week can be crucial for understanding successes and failures, as well as recognising patterns that may be contributing to a current situation. Writing in this way allows us to revisit events with greater clarity, allowing us to identify opportunities and areas where improvement may be necessary. Additionally, it stimulates creative problem-solving ideas by examining situations from different perspectives and angles.

Finally, taking a few moments out of each Sunday with a cup of coffee to just write can be incredibly beneficial for recharging throughout the workweek. Even if this activity doesn’t directly further your progress in some tangible way (like tackling one of those planned tasks), it still serves an essential role in keeping your brain fresh so you can tackle challenges with the energy you need later on. This time should not only be dedicated to pondering over matters related to leadership but also venting personal frustrations or exploring other creative outlets such as writing stories. This ensures that your mind remains healthy during times of stress while providing much needed mental stimulation away from work-related activities.

How do you take time to reflect on your week or learn new leadership skills? I’d love to hear from you.

Author: Ciara Moore

Ciara is the founder of Female Leaders At 50

career

You’ve come a long way baby but have you got the balance right? 5 tips for balancing your career and time

The slogan “you’ve come a long way baby” comes from a Virgina Slims cigarette commercial in 1968 and signifys the start of the womens movement in America. The advertisement showed an image of a confident, tall, slender, trouser suit-wearing woman, career getting female. Fast forward and women over fifty and their career pathway have come a long way from years ago. There are three times more women aged 50-64 working part-time than men (The State of Ageing in 2020) however despite a rapid increase, the employment rate for women aged 50-64 is still nine percentage points behind men (The State of Ageing in 2020). This is in part to pension age rise in 2011 and more recently the cost of living however it’s apparent that more and more women at fifty are still active within the workforce.

Many women in our network are also stepping into their best roles at board level or reinvigorating their careers and setting up their own businesses. Listening to you we know this extended career pathway is not without its challenges and comes with its own unique challenges. This is especially true for those of you in the sandwich generation, who need to juggle caring for children, or support university aged children, care for elderly family members, as well as their own professional ambitions, which can be daunting at times. In fact all a bit of a juggling act.

To help manage your busy lifestyle, here are five tips:

1) Prioritize your time wisely – When you’re trying to balance a career with other obligations such as parenting, older-age caretaking or any other responsibilities you may have outside of work, it’s essential to prioritize your time wisely. Set realistic goals each day and focus on what needs to get done first. Break large projects into smaller tasks that are easier to finish in shorter amounts of time.

2) Increase efficiency – One way to maximize your productivity is by becoming more efficient in how you use your time. For example, when possible try to consolidate errands or combine tasks that require similar steps; you’ll save yourself a lot of valuable time this way. Also look for ways to automate mundane tasks such as bill payments so that you can concentrate on the things that matter most.

3) Utilize technology – Technology can be invaluable when it comes to increasing productivity. Try using apps and automated software programs where applicable; this will help lighten your workload considerably and give you more free time during the day. Technology can also come in handy when setting up alerts or reminders so that important tasks don’t get overlooked or forgotten about altogether.

4) Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed; friends, family members or even professionals can provide assistance with activities like childcare or elder care on an occasional basis if needed. Delegate to university aged children where possible and help them to be as independent as they can. Having reliable people available can make an enormous difference in terms of stress relief and peace of mind while allowing you to stay focused on your job performance without worrying too much about household tasks slipping through the cracks.

5) Stay organized – Staying organized is one of the most effective ways to manage a busy lifestyle since it allows all areas of life (job duties/responsibilities as well as personal obligations) to move along smoothly and efficiently without getting bogged down by chaos due to disorganization. Investing some time upfront into developing systems or processes (list-making/follow-up calls/filing systems etc.) will make life much easier in the long run so don’t overlook its importance!

Finally, don’t forget YOU, allow yourself time to eat well and exercise.Taking care of your body through exercise and diet is key for women. Staying physically active and eating well will not only improve and maintain your general health but increase concentration in the workplace thus allowing for a continuing successful career.

Author: Ciara Moore

Ciara is the founder of female leaders at 50. and an advocate for lifestyle medicine.

Health & Wellbeing

Feeling run down and not getting any healthier? Here’s why you should consider Lifestyle Medicine.

The importance of lifestyle medicine is that it provides evidence-based solutions to help prevent and manage chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. It also helps us maintain overall physical, mental and emotional well-being. The six pillars of lifestyle medicine focus on healthy behaviors like eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, maintaining supportive relationships with family and friends, reducing stress and quitting unhealthy habits like smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.

Staying healthy as a female over the age of forty is especially important due to the hormonal shifts that our bodies go through during this time. Our metabolism slows down while we gain more abdominal fat and tend to lose muscle mass – all of which can lead to an increased risk for chronic illnesses and health problems. To combat this trend it’s important to start improving your lifestyle now.

Reducing substances like alcohol and smoking is essential in order to protect your body from damaging toxins while maintaining optimal health. Sleep plays an important role in helping the body recover from everyday activities as well as promoting good mental health. Nutrition is key for both preventing disease as well as managing existing conditions. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables helps ensure proper nutrient intake for energy throughout the day and a strong immune system against infection or illness. Relationships are important for social support as well as providing accountability when trying to stick with new habits or accomplish goals that require dedication over time.

Exercise should be incorporated daily in order to boost energy levels and provide physical benefits including improved muscle tone, better posture, weight management and stress reduction. Finally, reducing stress is essential in order to stay mentally healthy by taking breaks from work or other difficult situations that may cause undue strain or anxiety.

The combination of these six pillars of lifestyle medicine will create a healthier version of yourself by establishing sustainable habits that you can keep up with long term in order to maintain your wellbeing now and into the future – no matter what stage of life you’re currently in!

Feeling run down and like you’re not getting any healthier?

Lifestyle medicine is a great way to take control of your health and well-being. It’s a comprehensive approach that focuses on implementing healthy habits and behaviors in order to prevent or manage chronic disease.

With the Healthy Active Women Lifestyle Medicine Programme, you will learn how to make lifestyle changes that will have a positive impact on your health for years to come. You’ll be given all the tools you need to make lasting changes and feel better than ever before.

Sign up today for our next 10 week programme You won’t regret it.

Ciara Moore

Ciara Moore a certified personal fitness trainer (ASFA) and a certified complete health improvement facilitator.

Contact CiaraMBmoore@outlook.com

career

Women in tech – the future is female

Women in technology are often under-represented due to the fact that a lack of access to education and resources, gender stereotyping, and the historical dominance of men in this field. Women often face the challenge of having to prove themselves even more than their male counterparts; they may also experience unconscious biases within the industry. This can be discouraging and demotivating for young women considering careers in technology or digital change.

How do we ensure women are involved?

To ensure that women are involved in digital fields, it is essential to make sure that there is equal access to educational resources, mentorship programs, internships and job opportunities. Additionally, companies should develop protocols to monitor hiring practices for gender bias, create a safe environment free from harassment with clear support systems in place, and offer flexible working arrangements that allow female employees to juggle their roles as mothers or caregivers while still pursuing successful career growth. Training programs could also be created specifically targeting female professionals looking to enter digital fields; these would provide technical skills training along with an introduction into understanding the industry dynamics and culture.

We can further encourage young women’s involvement by creating awareness about the many opportunities available through campaigns that highlight successful female tech professionals as role models and mentors. How many can you name in your company? Are you in contact with them? Are they visible? Offering scholarships or grants specifically targeted towards women entering technological fields would also be beneficial. Furthermore, organizations such as STEM clubs could be utilized to give young girls exposure and hands-on experience with coding or other related technologies which could help spark interests in pursuing digital change or tech careers.

Staying ahead of the curve

In order for women in digital change stay ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation, it is important for them to stay informed and updated on new advancements by attending events like conferences or hackathons which can provide networking opportunities as well as valuable insights into current trends within their chosen field. Joining online communities such as online forums or groups is another helpful way for women in tech stay connected with other like-minded individuals who share similar interests while maintaining an active presence on social media networks is also a great way for them to build visibility among tech professionals both locally and internationally.

Keeping it personal

In addition to keeping up with industry developments and trends, it’s important that female professionals continue honing their personal skills by engaging in self-development activities such as reading books related topics or taking courses aimed at helping them improve their understanding of technical concepts.

Finally, seeking out mentors who can provide guidance from within the same profession can help increase knowledge base through sharing personal experiences within specific industries whilst providing valuable advice on career development journey.

Ciara Moore

Ciara Moore is a Digital Change & Engagement Director working in the NHS. she also is the founder of Female Leaders at 50