“It’s important to find your tribe.“ – RuPaul
I’ve always had an empty space in my heart that longed for connection and purpose. It made me sad. For my whole life, I couldn’t find my tribe. In 2017, all of you inspired me, and joined with me in creating one! You, the women of Forever Fierce are now my tribe! Women are communal. We thrive and blossom in Sisterhoods and I am so grateful and excited to share my thoughts and reflections on last year and to launch into the New Year with exciting plans and ideas for 2018.
It’s hard to believe that it’s only one year ago that an idea came to me just before Christmas.
The idea was to bring together 50 female bloggers over the age of 50 on the 50th day of the year. This was the birth of “The Fierce 50” which became “Forever Fierce.” The original intention was pretty simple: to create a collaborative, supportive community for women over 50 to celebrate one another and to bring the online community “offline.” The idea was to connect bloggers through their hearts and their stories with an overall intention of shifting the perception of women over 50. Most women at midlife and beyond have felt the shift in the cultural perception of women as they grow older. They can become invisible, irrelevant, and oftentimes, accepting of their plight.
What began as an idea, quickly became the birth of a movement, a rising up of women at midlife in celebration of who they are! We learned that Midlife isn’t an age but rather an experience and a state of being. It’s a time in a woman’s life when the world begins to treat her differently or she begins to see herself in a different light, one that no longer reflects the true power that resides within. That view is archaic and belongs in the dustbin. Forever Fierce is a collective voice that states: Women at Midlife are dynamic, vital, and creative, with the wisdom of life experience that keeps us thoughtful, compassionate, and collaborative. Simply put, the women of Forever Fierce are empowered … and “empowered women at midlife are cool!”
This has been a truly collaborative grassroots effort which lifts my heart! My original partners in crime Cathy Williamson of The Middle Page Blog, Shauna Robertson of ChicOver50, and Deborah Boland of Fabulous After 40, spent time in LA with me and brainstormed and supported the idea and helped me launch the Fierce 50 Campaign in February. The response from bloggers, followers, and companies interested in our demographic was overwhelming. In a Millennial driven world, we shifted the perception of women at Midlife and found an antidote to our isolation. We built a community of connection and began to show the world that we were only just beginning.
The overwhelming response among women was stunning. We quickly realized that 50 was just a number and that Midlife was where it’s at! I’ve always been about blurring boundaries and Midlife is no exception. I’ve met women that were all aboard at 30! Midlife is not about how old you are, it’s when you recognize that for the first time in history a large demographic is able to have health, vitality, wisdom, life experience, and a pocketbook at the same time! It’s when you say “Wow! How do I join that club?!” Forever Fierce has changed women’s lives. It’s opened doors for many of us with new friends, connections, networking, business relationships, and opportunities with national brands. I am truly grateful and humbled when I read the messages I receive from women who had been ready to give up on finding a supportive community, or from bloggers who wanted to give up because they felt no one heard their voice. A natural process of attraction has brought us all together with passion and purpose!
Our tribe needed a voice and I had the amazing opportunity to partner with Kathy Kaehler as co-hosts of Cat & Kaehler, our live radio show and podcast. At our launch party over 4th of July weekend, over 30 women I had never met in person flew in from as far away as Germany, for a weekend of Sisterhood and festivities! Hitting the ground in LA with a huge celebration at The Redondo Beach Hotel, most of these women had never met before. Candidly, many of the women who are now my dear friends, expressed their secret feelings and desire to feel accepted by the other women. It seems that it doesn’t matter what age you are, we all share insecurities and that voice inside of us will rear its head from time to time and bring up those old stories. It didn’t take long for the fear and insecurities to fall away, as it seemed powerful bonds and new friendships were forged in an instant. It felt like “old home week” as the women laughed, danced and shared their hearts through their stories. It was a whirlwind weekend and one the women continue to talk about today.
One year ago, Forever Fierce was simply a vague idea with very little detail. Ideas often take a village to bring to fruition and this community was no exception. Women came and conquered the challenges, and together, have created a powerful community as role models for making midlife cool and something to embrace and celebrate rather than to fear! With a new year, it’s always the opportunity to begin again and 2018 is starting with a bang. My Radio Show/Podcast will now become the all video Forever Fierce Podcast. I will be hosting and forging a deeper connection directly with the community and our issues. For myself, a woman who was silenced for 54 years of her life, the irony cannot escape me. I’ll be sharing the platform with a rotating group of diverse, powerful, and kickass cohosts. My co-hosts will be diverse in background, gender, and stories. The new format will be the Voice of Forever Fierce. It will be edgy with fresh and vibrant perspectives each week as varied as its amazing co-hosts. I will be joined by Carol Parker Walsh, David Harry Stewart, Ilyssa Goodman, Danny De Lillo, Meredith O’Connor, and others. The Forever Fierce Podcast places a new and substantive frame around midlife: “Empowered Women at Midlife are Cool!”
Without this village and community behind me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. There is an entire team of volunteers on the back end actively working to unite women at Midlife and beyond while working on a much broader mission: to shift the perception of women at Midlife and beyond, to make them visible and relevant again while forging powerful bonds across the community. We invite every one of you to give us feedback, ideas, and assistance to grow and position Forever Fierce as the community where Midlife women gather together! Have an idea for a social service campaign? Thinking about a great topic or theme? Are you connected to someone that would be a knock your socks off guest on the Podcast? Would you like to volunteer your time in an area of your expertise or just do the heavy lifting? Please reach out to me or to any of the amazing women on the team:
- Jodie Filogomo – FIERCE Director of Campaigns
- Julie Liams – FIERCE Creative Master of Campaigns
- Linda Williams – FIERCE Marketing and Communications Guru
- Wendy Hodge – FIERCE FB/IG Communications Maestro
- Jetta Boschen – FIERCE Public Relations Magnet
- Helen Greenwell – FIERCE Operations Operator
- Jonet Wooten – FIERCE Sheppard of Volunteers
- Sandra Smith – FIERCE Media Relations Virtuoso
- Jan Correll – FIERCE Community Engagement Facilitator
It oftentimes takes the end of a year and the beginning of a new year for us to step back and celebrate both our failures and our successes and to see ourselves and our capabilities more clearly. I cannot imagine my life today without the women, and a few brave men, in the Forever Fierce Community. You have touched my heart and changed my life. You have helped me to believe in me again. You have helped me to find my voice and now I hope to share yours. You have awakened the leader within that I didn’t know existed. I have found my tribe and we have some exciting new changes coming soon in the New Year. Our team continues to work day in and day out to make this community your community and to ensure that your voice will be heard!
Cheers Beauties. Wishing you a FABULOUS New Year and FIERCE New You!