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changing the face of aging
Susan Brooks
Who Are You Now?

Who Are You Now?
December 2023

As we move to the ending of 2023, we take stock of 'the good, the bad, and the ugly' of this year and move to the New Year with hopes and dreams...and resolutions that 2024 will be better, different, and more fulfilling. I'm here today, to support this effort with an option worth your serious (yet fun!) consideration.

But, first, the story: One day, not that long ago, I found myself driving to an 8am networking event a good 45-minute drive from my warm and cozy bed. I haven't attended a networking function in years since I sold Cookies from Home way back in 2010. The invitation came from a colleague I longed to see, and it included breakfast, so I said yes.

I pulled into the crowded parking lot at 7:55am feeling my heart flutter with anticipation to meet the surprise connections like so many networking events I've attended before, remembering the thrill I'd feel to meet someone new, someone I could connect with and serve. And because I always brought several bags of fresh cookies with me, I was usually an attraction.

Then it hit me: who was I now...especially with no cookies to sweeten the hello. I was just me.
What did I have to offer?
Who was I looking to meet, and why should anyone care?
How do I move forward where I grow whole instead of growing old?
How do I reframe a lifetime of experience into a new identity?

It was awkward and uncomfortable, at first. I kept my eye on the door, reminding myself I could leave at any moment. The fact that I didn't leave, and, in fact, went home with two potentially exciting business cards that were my reward for 'showing up' made this 8am networking worth my time and effort.

It was this experience that prompted me to create Retired? Rewire! now being offered as a 6-week class starting January 15, 2024, at the Jewish Community Center (you don't have to be Jewish to attend) for a mere $60.

The curriculum all but wrote itself:

Imagine learning...discovering how to:

  1. communicate authentically
  2. accept the unacceptable
  3. create your new identity
  4. dwell in possibility
  5. build confidence

If you have retired or you are getting ready to turn the page and begin, again, and that 'not knowing what's next' scares you, this class is designed for you to move forward instead of being stuck in the familiar past of how life used to be. Forward-thinking is begging for your attention!

Only 12 spots, and some are already taken. Spread the word to those who have been waiting for a class like this!

CLICK HERE to join me!

I promise you a good time and a NEW YOU you'll love...

I already do!!!

Talk to me.Tell me your latest story of AWE.

Jerrie Ueberle

Featured Modern Elder*

Jerrie Ueberle, The World Academy for the Future of Women
Age 82

Jerrie Ueberle is a woman with a BIG vision that first showed itself when in 1984 she was invited to go to China with a delegation of speech pathologists and audiologist to speak in hospitals around China about speech and hearing disorders. Inspired by the interest of the doctors, she returned home and started a non-profit organization, Global Interactions. She began to organize and take other professional groups to meet their counterparts in China. More than 80 groups were formed and participated. In 1995, she attended the United Nations 4th Women's World Forum in Beijing with 40,000 women from around the world and recognized the despair and opportunity that impacts the inequality of women. This was THE cause that called her name. This commitment was the first seed of her Big Vision.

She remained curious, knowing that the next chapter of her life was unfolding. By now, Jerrie was 59 and had been widowed twice. She believed what could impact the world most was to get more women's voices at the leadership table. She started as a Board Member at Sias University, an American-owned university in Xinzheng, Henan, a rural, remote province of 100 million people, primarily agrarian, living in villages. She began to make connections and learn the culture.

Shawn Chen, an American entrepreneur was the founder and president of Sias University. She boldly shared her vision with him of what she now calls The World Academy for the Future of Women:

"The words came out of my mouth about a bold and daring leadership program for women and Shawn was listening. I didn't know what I was saying, I didn't know how this would come to be, but I did know My Why. Shawn saw another a vision of his own: the first female President of China would come from this World Academy! So, let's do this!"

With no time to catch her breath, Jerrie needed facilitators to design the global leadership program with roles that would address and achieve the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. Beginning on the Henan Province campus of Sias University in 2009, The World Academy for the Future of Women began with 100 women, which today is now a multi-level four-year program for women, along with The Men's Academy for the Future of Women, a program requested by male students which replicates and prepares men to support the advancement of women.

Yes, I was one of those Founding Facilitators!

I had just sold Cookies from Home, my identity had disappeared, and I had no plan. What I did have was a passion for helping women grow, 30 years in growing a woman-owned multi-million-dollar business, and 7 years as a high school English teacher.

Besides having "a broken heart and an experience of a bruised knee...which told me that this person had fallen but gotten back up again," Jerrie required only three things: each facilitator had to pay their own way to get to China, be willing to stay 5 weeks in the Faculty Dorm for room and board, and had to deliver a four week curriculum on leadership. I could do this!!!!

This was my calling to grow a greater humanity, to widen the vision of what's possible, specifically for women who lacked higher education, confidence, courage, and in too many cases, were victims of domestic violence.

I wanted to do this...and I needed to do this...and so I did! And, the experience changed my life at a time when I needed it most. Think about it. If this experience calls to your heart and soul, get connected to

As of today, The World Academy for the Future of Women has four more locations offering the same principles for humanity following the original model in China:

  • Nepal, in 2017 @ Orchid International College in Katmandu
  • Bangladesh, in 2018 @ The University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh in Dhaka
  • India, in 2023 @ the Government Degree College for Women – Begumpet in Hyderabad.
  • Mexico, in 2003 @ the Universidad Autonomous de Baja California in Mexicali, Mexico.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) are under discussion in 3 African countries and Poland.

The Purpose of The World Academy remains the same in every location: to advance and accelerate the leadership of women worldwide. The outcome for every student is to become a global citizen with their own unique leadership qualities.

Although Jerrie's home base is in Phoenix, she's rarely home. She was granted special consultancy status by The United Nations to support the achievement of the Sustainable Goals. These 17 goals address basic human needs and are the basis of projects developed by World Academy members as part of their curriculum and training. She supports women "to have a voice and a choice, and to create the future they want to live for themselves and others. They develop the courage to innovate ideas on the move that incorporate the human element with technology."

Jerrie's advice to you is to "choose what inspires you...what really gets you excited! Make decisions on your own future, no compromising! When you say you will retire in 7 years...or when your kids graduate college, consider other options .......DO IT NOW!!"

If retirement or the next chapter is calling your name, if I can help you realize your vision in business and lifestyle, email me. Let's make it happen now!

*Chip Conley, best-selling author and speaker, hospitality entrepreneur and leading thought leader, created The Modern Elder Academy's mission "to inspire the ability to reframe a lifetime of experience and recognize one's mastery, relevance, and value in the modern workplace." The Modern Elder* is Conley's term and effort that "liberates and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path of growing whole, not old...The Modern Elder*marries wisdom and curiosity."

Every month this newsletter will Feature the stories and wisdom of Modern Elders*. Please send in your Modern Elder* nomination. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT

Susan Brooks

Today, I am 77 years old, and proud of it! Paul Simon, who is now in his 80's said it best years ago: us boomers were BORN AT THE RIGHT TIME!

Yes, I was born at the right time! I'm still a hippie from the 60's, I marched for civil rights for all humans, equal rights for women, waving my bra with the best. I am proud to be living and growing in a robust marriage of 57 years. I survived motherhood, and so did my now-adult children. I was an award-winning woman business owner when there were but a few of us. I've learned a whole bunch of lessons, and more importantly, I've earned my fair share of Wisdom, too. I am Pro-Age!

According to Chip Conley, one of today's leading thought leaders: "Experience is making a comeback. Wisdom never grows old." Chip created the hallmarks of the Modern Elder*: "learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, cultivating a beginner's mind so that learning never ends, exemplifying a willingness to evolve both as a student and sage." Research shows that shifting our mindset about Aging can add 7.4 happy years to a person's life.

Proud to say I am a graduate of the Modern Elder Academy as well as an active participant in Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit programs. As one of the creators and hosts of the Thrive@55 event, we celebrated our female community leaders who were 55+.

As long as I'm able to see the sunrise every morning and keep a curious mind, there's more living to do, so much more to learn, and so many new ways to serve. Trailblazer that I am, and always will be, I recognize my next mission: by example and demonstration I am committed to Changing the Face of Aging: One Modern Elder* at a time!

I welcome both local and national speaking engagements as well as one-on-one coaching opportunities to delve more deeply into navigating life transitions. Email me Here.

Juicy ways and energizing action steps: how to soak in the wisdom and energy of becoming your own Modern Elder*
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