#femaleleadersat50 #thesilentrevolution


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,





Be More Penguin – the give and take of governance and innovation ?

Good governance is an essential element for the success of any project or programme. It ensures that the project is managed efficiently and effectively, and that resources are allocated fairly and appropriately. However, it is equally important to foster a culture of creativity and innovation within the team, without compromising the governance structure.

One way leaders and organisations can encourage creativity and innovation is to provide a safe and supportive environment for experimentation and risk-taking. This can be achieved by setting aside specific times or resources for experimentation, or by creating cross-functional teams that bring together different skills and perspectives. It is also important to encourage open and honest communication, and to give team members the freedom to challenge assumptions and ideas.

At the same time, it is important to have a governance structure in place that supports innovation and creativity. This means setting clear goals and objectives that align with the overall strategy, and ensuring that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. It also means having processes and procedures in place to monitor progress, evaluate results, and make adjustments as necessary.

In their book, The Innovator’s DNA, Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen analyze the skills and behaviors of successful innovators. They identify five key tendencies that set these entrepreneurs apart: associating, questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting. These characteristics enable innovators to identify problems, generate ideas, and test those ideas in real-world situations. Have you noticed these people in your team? Have they got flexibility to operate?

The authors of The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen, explore four models of innovation: basic research, breakthrough innovation, sustaining innovation, and disruptive innovation. They offer a flexible and informative overview of different types of creative entrepreneurship, and highlight the importance of recognizing and adapting to changing market conditions.

In his book, Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux, offers a guide to creating organizations that are inspired by the next stage of human consciousness. He argues that by adopting new ways of thinking and working, organizations can become more agile, innovative, and resilient. Laloux suggests that leaders can foster innovation by creating a culture of trust, collaboration, and experimentation.

In conclusion, good governance is essential for the success of any project, but it must be balanced with a culture of creativity and innovation. By fostering an environment that supports experimentation and risk-taking, and by providing the necessary resources and support, organizations can encourage their teams to generate new ideas and approaches. At the same time, it is important to have a governance structure in place that supports innovation and ensures that resources are allocated fairly and appropriately. By adopting new ways of thinking and working, organizations can become more agile, innovative, and successful.

Penguins fast and nimble in water

So why not check how your project or programme is doing? Robust governance but no creativity and disengaged individuals or too much creativity and not capturing the deliverables. It’s all a balance of recognising the give and take of governance over much needed innovative disruption. Laloux uses the examples of penguins – ungainly and awkward on the land but fast and nimble in the water. He quotes Joel Barker as saying “What is difficult or impossible in one paradigm is easy even trivial in another’. Given the challenges organisations face this is the kind of leap we need to make with our projects and programs.

growth mindset

Don’t spoil a good story by telling the truth

I often wondered where the quote “don’t let the truth, spoil a good story” came from. The quote comes from a lady called Isabelle Stewart Gardener. She was a millionaire Boston Bohemienne” described by a reporter as “She is the leader of the smart set, but she often leads where none dare follow… She imitates nobody; everything she does is novel and original.” Isabella began collecting rare books and manuscripts, beginning with early editions of Dante’s works. In 1899 she began building an arts museum.

“Years ago, I decided the greatest need in our country was art. So, I determined to make it my life’s work if I could.”

For 20 years, Isabella spent her time acquiring work of art and get dedicating her time to building a museum. She died in 1924, leaving a museum “for the education and enjoyment of the public forever.” She provided an endowment to operate the museum, stipulating in her will that nothing in the galleries should be changed, and no items be acquired or sold from the collection.

It is interesting that as a leader of her time and probably one of the most authentic,it was Isabella who came up with the quote above.

So what is authentic leadership?

Authentic leadership is a style of leadership that emphasizes being genuine and transparent in order to build trust and collaboration with those you lead. It involves having self-awareness and understanding of your own motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as the ability to recognize the same in others. An authentic leader is someone who takes responsibility for their own actions and decisions, while also demonstrating an openness to new ideas and diverse perspectives. They have a clear vision for the future that they’re able to communicate effectively to those around them.

To be an effective authentic leader, it’s important to first focus on developing your own sense of self-awareness. This means taking time to understand how you think and feel about yourself both internally and externally. What are your values? How do you want people to perceive you? What drives your decisions? Answering these questions can help you better determine what type of leader you want to be by giving yourself an opportunity to reflect on what makes you unique.

It’s also important that an authentic leader foster an environment of open communication between themselves and their followers or team members. When everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions, it allows for creativity and innovation within the group which in turn leads to better results overall. Additionally, by being consistent in their behavior an authenticity leader can demonstrate consistency which further builds trust among their followers.

When it comes down to it, being an authentic leader requires courage because it requires leaders step outside of their comfort zones from time-to-time when faced with difficult decisions or situations that aren’t popular with everyone involved. Authenticity also allows leaders to stay true to themselves even when faced with adversity – something that’s essential for effective leadership over time.

The importance lies in how authenticity can help foster collaboration amongst teams as well as inspire others through example; it helps create a more united front against challenges instead of one where each individual is competing against each other for power or recognition. By being genuine about one’s motives and intentions, leaders are also more likely gain respect from their team members leading them towards greater success in achieving goals together rather than separately.

Isabella is certainly a leader of her time and authentic though for the time she was described as eccentric,” “original,” the “leader of the smart set,” and “one of the seven wonders of Boston” — not at all what was expected of a proper Victorian Boston lady. She stepped out of her comfort zone.

She had a very clear vision bring art to Boston. She dedicated her own time to developing a legacy for the people of Boston.

Her motto through life, which appears above the central portal of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, was “C’est mon plaisir” (it is my pleasure). and indeed it has been my pleasure to read about this fascinating female leader and share with you this blog.

Author: Ciara Moore

career, growth mindset, Health & Wellbeing, New thinking

Be More Pirate – Attitude and Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset is extremely important in maintaining a positive outlook at work and in home life. It encourages an individual to overcome challenges and failure, whilst continuing to strive for success. Adopting a growth mindset allows us to develop our skills and abilities, as it allows us to acknowledge that we have the capacity to improve even if we are not currently successful.

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”– Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean character

Carol Dweck renowned researcher author of Mindset describes two mindsets. Fixed and Growth;

Fixed mindset: “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.” (Dweck, 2015)

Fixed mindset thinking

This is too hard

I can’t do this

This work is good enough

Growth mindset: “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Dweck, 2015)

Growth mindset thinking

I can try a different strategy

Is this really my best work?

This may take some time and effort

“Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts).” – Carol Dweck.

A growth mindset encourages us to take on new tasks, conquer fears and push ourselves out of our comfort zone. This promotes learning and personal development which can in turn increase our confidence and self-esteem. Having a fixed mindset leads to feelings of stagnation, lack of motivation and low self-worth; this is why it is so important that we adopt a growth attitude towards ourselves, others and situations in life.

How you view yourself determines fixed or growth mindset

Dweck takes this stoic approach, writing: “in the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.

The power of yet

In a growth mindset Dweck talks about the power of yet. Instead of praising talent and intelligence, Dweck argues that we should praise the process: effort, strategy, focus, perseverance and improvement. Process praise, she explains, leads to more persistence and, ultimately, better results.

Having or developing a growth mindset enables us to be open minded about opportunities that come our way-we learn how to adapt easily without feeling overwhelmed by potential failure or change. This type of mentality is an especially useful tool when working with colleagues as it allows us collaborate more effectively as well as being able to accept disagreeable viewpoints without becoming overly defensive or judgmental. In addition, having an open mind when tackling tasks will enable us create innovative solutions rather than just settling for the obvious answer!

With this approach, individuals are encouraged to keep going despite any roadblocks they may encounter on their journey-this helps maintain positivity in both professional and personal lives. So while I’m not condoning Captain Jack pirate behaviour we certainly need to consider our attitude towards issues and problems with a “not yet” attitude.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed no hope at all- Dale Carnegie, American Writer and Lecturer

Overall, having a growth mindset is essential for maintaining a positive outlook at work and in home life – allowing us take on greater challenges with confidence while appreciating the power of learning through mistakes along the way!

Author: Ciara Moore

Ciara is the founder of Female Leaders At 50 Network

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