AGEWORKS™ is a company committed to reducing the ageism stigma and debunking myths about older people in both the workplace and the marketplace. AGEWORKS™ not only raises awareness of issues associated with ageism but has introduced tangible initiatives to celebrate companies who engage in age-friendly business and employee practices, build intergenerational respect and to create employment opportunities for people 50+ through seminars, workshops, services and programs.
While many see the aging population as a problem, we see it as an opportunity to positively impact the Canadian economy and the lives of generations to come by maximizing the skills, talents, experience and buying power of boomers. We believe that "age works" to the advantage of business and society at large.
AGEWORKS™ TOP 50 OVER 50
Everyone has heard about The Top 30 Over 30. We believe that celebrating the accomplishments of people over 50 is just as important; that age does not define an individual and what we can and cannot do. We will be recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of successful individuals over 50; individuals who have reinvented themselves, who have found their true purpose and calling and who have followed the road less travelled.
Our 2017 winners have been chosen. It was a difficult decision for our judges to choose the Top 5 from all the nominations that we received. Some of our Top 50 Over 50 will be profiled on our website in the new year.
Their stories are inspirational and we're proud to have offered our Top 50 Over 50 as a venue to profile amazing individuals in Canada who have reinvented themselves or followed their passion.
Here's the stories of our Top 5 recipients:
Bruce MacLellan reinvented: from entrepreneur to environmental leader.
Bruce MacLellan is a veteran communications-industry entrepreneur and a man of firsts, but since the age of 50 he has reinvented himself and become a notable protector of Canada’s natural environment as well. In 1994, Bruce founded Environics Communications, the first Canadian-headquartered public relations agency to open offices in the United States. Bruce has taken his skills as a communications industry-leader, and after the age of 50, started to apply them directly to the area of environmental conservation. He was recently appointed Chair of the Board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada that over the past 50+ years, has helped protect over 2.8 million acres of wildlife areas in Canada as well as countless species that depend on the habitat.
In October 2016, the Ontario Land Trust Alliance awarded Bruce with their Vision Award for his work in land conservation. In July 2017, Bruce received the Betty Day Award, given annually by the Lake of Bays Association for outstanding volunteer service in leading the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation for over 10 years, as well as his work in natural heritage conservation around the Lower Oxtongue River, which is the lake’s largest water source. This included leading a campaign that raised over one million dollars to secure and protect 170 acres of riverfront property.
Dave Kelso is the publisher and founder of Alzlive. He lost two of his grandparents and his mother to Alzheimer's. He also has a wife and two young sons. Dave's inspiration comes from his incredible voyage through what he refers to as “The Circle of Life”.
Dave started his career as a hip, young creative director for one of the big ad agencies in Toronto. It was his job to dream up and then oversee splashy print campaigns for breweries, automobile manufacturers, telecommunications giants, multinational sporting goods companies, and the list goes on. He’s an incredibly talented creative director and loves what he does, however he wanted more.
When Dave’s mom, Betty, died of Alzheimer’s, he was unprepared for his role as one of his mother’s caregivers. This is probably the case with most of the 20 million people in Canada, the United States, and Mexico who are looking after mothers, fathers, spouses, partners, and friends with dementia of one sort or another.
“The truth is I wasn’t a great caregiver,” Kelso explains. “If I’d known as much about the disease as I know now I would have acted differently. And that’s a big reason why I’m doing this. I want to make sure that other folks don’t find out too late what they could have done. I want them to know now, while their loved one is still alive.”
Hence the origin of Alzlive. Dave Kelso made it his job to invent it, invest his savings and Alzlive became a reality. A media platform devoted to the family caregivers of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
What is unusual about Dave Kelso is that these family difficulties didn’t only have a profound impact on his domestic life. They transformed his professional life, as well. At 62, the marketer in him still loves to connect with the public. And he remains a communicator, equally aware of the value of written clarity and good graphic design. But being a caregiver made him realize that something was missing. His own experience taught him that what caregivers desperately need is a single site where they can find information, guidance, news, comfort, and advice.
Doug has been an advocate for seniors and elder abuse during his long career in gerontology.
As the Director of Senior Citizens’ Department of Regional Niagara, Doug was renowned for the range and creativity of the programmes created to enhance the lives of older people. He not only spoke the language of “continuum of care” well before it entered the lexicon of long-term care facilities, he “walked the walk” with the range of programming enacted in the region under his leadership.
Doug was 22 when he began working with and for seniors in the 1950’s at a time when the conditions and lack of services for was deplorable and motivated Doug to be a change agent.
Doug launched initiatives in Regional Niagara to enhance the quality of life of elder people and their families: innovative house sharing arrangements, congregate living arrangements similar to the UK-based “Abbeyfield Houses’ Model, other assisted-living initiatives that recognized the skills and autonomy of older people themselves as decision-makers and contributors and social and health care “nursing home” initiatives very like today much-lauded “eden-alternative”.
As an administrative practitioner working directly with older people, Doug was outstanding in two ways (1) the programs he initiated were “evidence-based”. He knew the research and he exhibited through his connections with Canadian Association On Gerontology and other organizations in Ontario an abiding commitment to keeping abreast of the best practices from around the world and applying them to Regional Niagara. (2) Doug has long manifested a commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding of aging among young people, the “next generations” of those working in policy, practice and research about aging and older people.
On the Institute of Aging’s Advisory Board, Doug provided sage advice as the Institute held a series of Regional Seniors Research Workshops across the country to consult with older people about their needs. These consultations contributed substantially to defining the IAB’s research proprieties in “mobility in Ageing” and in “Health and social services for an aging population”. Doug was the voice of an involved and insightful “older person” around the IAB table. He ably contributed to the discussion, helping a primarily research-based group of IAB members to understand the links between research and policy and then turning policy into practice to benefit older people.
At 84, Doug is privileged to continue advocating for seniors with the Niagara Age-Friendly Community Initiative, Niagara Aging Strategy and Action Plan and other senior organization.
Mike Drak left a thirty-eight year career in the financial services industry in 2014. Leaving a career after so many years left Mike with anxiety. In trying to deal with this transition, Mike read everything he could find on the topic of retirement and he came to realize that the traditional view of "full stop” retirement would not work for him. He realized that he was not ready to stop working and learning simply because he left his first career. What Mike learned was that science supported his view that continuing to work and learn has positive health benefits. Mike set out to reframe the retirement message. Mike wanted to share his learnings and reached out to the well-known journalist Jonathan Chevreau and together they spent the next three years writing Mike's first book Victory Lap Retirement (VLR).
VLR was published in October 2016. VLR is now a Globe and Mail and Amazon best-seller. Mike continues to spread his positive message of living a healthy and rewarding “post first career” lifestyle on his award winning blog and presenting the positive Victory Lap Retirement message to audiences across the Greater Toronto Area.
Mike is also a highly sought after, Lifestyle advocate and commentator with appearances on BNN, CBC Radio, and iHeart Radio. Mike’s interviews can also be found various retirement and financial commentary sites across the internet. Mike writes a weekly blog about retirement issues at victorylapretirement.com and now offers retirement coaching services as well.
Ted Mouradian was a married real estate agent with two kids who was active in the St. Catharines local sports community. He led a typical, comfortable life. Years later, his life had changed dramatically. He had come out as gay, returned to university and became a social activist with a deep commitment to making a difference in the world. After 50, Ted became a different, better man and in the process, he made many, many other lives better. Ted took his experience as a gay man in a society that was still largely homophobic and turned the stereotypes upside down. He continued to be best friends with his ex-wife, maintained a strong relationship with his daughters, became a successful motivational speaker and dedicated himself to his community. He served on the Mayor's Committee on community and Race Relations, Chaired the St. Catharine’s Citizen's Strategic Planning Committee and served on PFLAG and innumerous other committees. He has volunteered his expertise, both as a speaker and as a facilitator, every time his community has demonstrated a need. In his books, on local television and in the local newspaper, Ted promotes a message of dialogue, acceptance and the celebration of differences. In 2012, Ted co-founded a self-help business called the 2% Factor with 60 videos online and in six countries with the UN as one of their clients. www.the2percentfactor.com