A very special welcome to new NABBW member Ardith Bowman! Let me begin telling you about her by pointing out that she calls herself a “recovering MBA professor!” I love that moniker! It immediately brings a chuckle and a smile.

This reaction is likely because I have several Boomer-aged friends who describe themselves as recovering journalists.  Knowing them as I do, I infer that anyone  willing to use the term ‘recovering’ in describing themselves has a wonderfully droll, almost self-deprecating sense of humor and is someone I would enjoy knowing.

According to Ardith, before she was an MBA professor, the core of her life work was in manager development and manager/team effectiveness. This was also the focus of her research, early consulting practice, and what finally led her to teaching MBA students.

These days, she has circled back to consulting, and brings her energies and life experience to working with and supporting women in business, especially women who have recently earned postgraduate degrees, specifically those of us who are either at mid-career or are contemplating entering retirement.

As Ardith points out, each of these groups are made up of people who are ready to embark on a new segment of their lives, and most likely have positioned themselves at these threshold points because they want to make a difference, to be able to say they’ve made an impact in the 21st century.

I can totally understand this. I recall that when a close friend was divorcing at age fifty, she decided to go back to university to earn a masters degree, which she knew would help freshen up her employment marketability. She had reached a pivotal life threshold, and she knew wanted to make the most of the rest of her life.

In her future, my friend wanted to be known for having achieved something more than ably serving twenty-five years as a wife and mother. (I’m not inferring that my friend thought there was anything wrong with her first career choice. I’m simply noting that she was now ready to embrace a new phase other life.)

Likewise, Ardith notes that her goal in working with these three groups of women is to help them succeed in making a positive impact on the world in a way that aligns with their talents and values.

Ardith has walked her talk. She’s successfully set this same intention for herself. Now her personal late career commitment is to support others who also want to make difference.

Which means that whether or not you are currently contemplating retirement or still consider yourself to be at mid-career – and no matter how fresh your degrees are – should you find yourself at one of those nexus points in your life where you are wondering what’s next, Ardith is well-qualified to help you discover your answer.

Ardith’s doctorate is in Human & Organization Systems, as is her MBA, so she begins with a solid training base. Beyond that, she has 15 years managerial experience and has coached managers and their teams for over 20 years. She has taught MBA students for over 15 years.

More recently she earned a certificate as a Feminine Power® Facilitator earlier this year, and had already tucked a Narrative Coaching® certification into her professional portfolio.

As I’ve chatted with Ardith, I’ve learned she is anxious to connect with other NABBW members, so hopefully, once you read the rest of this post, you’ll reach out to her.  Now, enough of me introducing her. Here, in her own words, are Ardith’s answers to our NABBW “Voices of Baby Boomer Women” questions.
________________________________________________________________________

Using one paragraph, tell us about yourself.

I am a recovering MBA Professor, taking two years to reinvent myself, to live the life I want. I am loving this phase of life. I now guide other women to do the same. I love to create and play and learn.  Over the years, I’ve been a manager, business consultant and professor/academic administrator – and now a coach. I enjoyed and learned from every role AND this is the first time I am creating my life truly from “the inside out.” We create our lives through our thoughts and what we expect. First, I found I needed to know what I wanted to think about creating, before I could create it.  I’m in it now!

Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

I’ve been divorced since 2000 – a long time!  I am actively looking for the optimistic, warm and outdoorsy partner for me now. Know anyone?  I have one daughter and two grandsons. The oldest who just graduated from high school lives with me. Whee!  It is an honor to support him.

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

I grew up on a farm in Oregon.  So my favorite memories usually are about being outside exploring.  I still do that.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

We are changing what being 60-70 really means to society.  I and many of us want to continue making a difference in the world; what that is depends on the individual. I also want to play full out for as long as I can.  We are conscious of what it takes to stay fit and healthy.

What inspires you?

I am always inspired by people who turn a challenge into an asset and growth, by people who give everything they have to accomplish something.  I’m not really a sports buff, but give me an Olympic star that gives their all and I burst into tears. Look at Kerri Strug who won our team a Gold Medal while injured.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

I think that it is that I don’t have anything to prove.  I can live according to what brings me joy and that is more than enough.

 Do you have any interesting hobbies?

I love the outdoors!  I hike every week, kayak, and when we are not quarantined paddle on a women’s Dragon Boat team here in Portland.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

Book du jour!  How about “Why Bother” by Jenn Louden?  Any book where I can’t wait to go to bed to read is my favorite.

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

LOVE to travel!  Feeling a bit grounded at the moment.  I am a scuba diver, so anywhere with a reef is good.  Fiji is breathtaking.  I loved Scotland and will go back. Headed for the Galapagos next spring for some turtle research. Pompeii and Herculaneum have been on my list since I was a teen.  Going to hike Mt.  Blanc soon too.  I can go on ……

As mentioned above, I am looking for my mate and travel partner.

What do you stress about?

As little as possible…..  Right now politics and the climate.  I do what I can.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

I’m fit and take care of my skin.  That is far enough!

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

See above.  Life is reinvention.

Do you plan to retire?

It depends on what is meant by the term. The term is from old French – like to “retire the troops,” pulling them back from battle.  Then it became retiring to one’s bed, then to leaving one’s professional role.  That definition leaves me feeling contracted, disempowered and overall not very useful!

Is that what we want our next phase of life to be about?   How about to “re-tire” by putting on new all-weather radials and going for it!?

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

Small things like bringing my own food containers and avoiding use of plastic as much as I can.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

The journey toward one’s dreams simply results in the container for the next dream.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?

Hopefully, through my presence and outlook, word and deed.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

When I look back on my life, I’m going to like what I see…..

 

 

A big NABBW welcome to new member Talek Nantes, Cuban-American author and founder of the travel blog, TravelsWithTalek.com.
When I looked up her blog, I was very impressed. Talek covers topics many travel bloggers don’t deal with. For example, a recent – and very useful – post covered a number of common travel scams, giving tips on how to avoid them.
As I learned more about Talek, I was astounded by the number of countries she’s visited. And as she purposefully chose a career in international business in order to have opportunity to travel, I was reminded of the Dr. Seuss-penned children’s book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 
As Talek points our in her answers to our standard blog questions below, travel has been a central theme of her life and her interest in travel led her to study international business in college, and learn several languages. She says she believes that traveling outside your comfort zone helps you hone practical skills used in your day-to-day life, like problem solving, goal setting and communication.
I totally agree. On my last international cruise, I frequently found myself accidentally separated from our tour group. Twice, they totally left me behind. Once I realized that I was alone in a city I’d never been in before, those were the skills I used to calmly – and timely – get myself back to the ship!
During Talek’s first career, she traveled to over 110 countries, and lived in Colombia, Spain, The Dominican Republic, Mexico and the UK.  She also worked throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and South America, in places as diverse as Nigeria, China and Argentina.
Talek’s love of travel is what led to her hobby – now second career – as a travel blogger, and eventually to writing books designed to help others enjoy a better travel experience. Her two books:”Don’t Just Travel to Cuba, Experience Cuba Like a Local” and prior to that, 110 Best Travel Tips: Save Time and Money, Stay Healthy and Safe, Have Fun!
With the books, her focus is always on cultural immersion and encouraging interaction with local people in order to help travelers create their own unique travel experiences. But Talek hasn’t limited herself to book authoring. Her writing work has also appeared in several publications, including Reader’s Digest, Atlas Obscura and BostonHerald.com.

These days, Talek has stepped beyond authoring travel content, to conceptualizing and creating her own tours. She reports that she has a small group cultural tour to China for boomer women travelers in April 2020. As you might expect, cultural immersion will be a part of the trip. Those who join her tour will experience the opportunity to:

  • Share meals with local Chinese families.
  • Learn how to make authentic Chinese dumplings from an expert cook.
  • Sleep in a Chinese guesthouse near the Great Wall of China.
  • Explore Beijing’s Forbidden City
  • Walk the Great Wall of China
  • Experience Old Shanghai
  • See Xi’an’s famous Terracotta Warriors
  • Stroll through 1000 year old, winding “hutong” alleyways
  • Sample amazing food at China’s famous night markets
  • Visit multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Experience travel in an overnight train from Shanghai to Xi’an
  • Visit Tiananmen Square, the heart of China
  • Explore a 2000 year old water town with its curved bridges and winding canals
  • Travel at over 250 miles per hour on China’s fast train
  • Explore the legendary Muslim Quarter in Xi’an, the original start of the ancient Silk Route
  • Experience China’s nightlife in its many clubs and music venues

But enough of me telling you about Talek. Here, in her own words, are her answers to our “Voices of Baby Boomer Women” questions.

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Talek Nantes, author, digital content creator and founder of the travel blog, www.TravelsWithTalek.com.  I’m a native New Yorker of Cuban immigrant parents who instilled in me a love of this great country that gave us so much opportunity. I’m am a passionate travel enthusiast and enjoy sharing my travel experiences with others. I guess you could say travel has been a central theme in my life. As a student I determined that whatever professional I choose, travel would have to be a part of it, so I studied international business, obtained an MBA and learned foreign languages.

My corporate career as an international business professional led me to travel to over 113 countries, five of which I lived and worked in. I live with my husband in New York City and Miami. My most recent book, is “Don’t Just Travel to Cuba, Experience Cuba: The Ultimate Cuba Travel Guide.”

Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

My husband and I just celebrated our 35th anniversary. We have no children but many nieces and nephews that keep us busy. Both our families are large and loud and love getting together frequently.

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

I have so many childhood memories; hanging out on the stoop of our apartment building, enjoying our beautiful NYC parks, checking out the clubs on Second Avenue. In the summertime, the cops would open up the fire hydrants and the kids would run through them squealing with delight. I was one of those kids and that’s one of my favorite memories.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

The women of my generation caused enormous, important changes in civil rights. It wasn’t easy to protest and march for what we believed in. I strive to continue that legacy of fighting for equality for all.

What inspires you?  

Stories of people overcoming adversity inspire me. I am especially moved by stories of immigrants that arrived with nothing and had successful, productive lives contributing to this country’s growth.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

I enjoy everything travel related; the planning of a trip, getting there, the trip itself and writing about it later.  I also enjoy getting together with family.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?

My travel blog, TravelsWithTalek.com was initially a hobby which turned into a full time job.  I always enjoyed writing so that — and travel, my other passion — led to my travel blog.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

My favorite book is George Orwell’s 1984 because his writing is so clear and descriptive from a technical aspect. The subject matter, a dystopian future, is a fascinating topic and he created it so well. It’s just a little gem.

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

Travel is my passion. Always was, I guess it always will be. I enjoy traveling with my husband and small group tours.  I can’t think of one country that I’ve been to that I didn’t find something to like.

  • Having worked in China on and off for about 8 years, that country is certainly one of my favorites.
  • I also enjoy Spain.
  • Cuba has a special place in my heart because of the cultural connection, my family being Cuban. It is an amazingly beautiful place with a rich culture.

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate. 

I do my best to eat right and exercise. I do yoga once a week, try to walk at least a mile each day and do weight-bearing exercises at least twice a week. I hope to stay mobile as long as possible to be able to continue traveling.

What do you stress about?

Social inequality stresses me because I believe it is such an important topic that I feel we as a society need to do so much more work to improve.

From a personal perspective, not being able to sleep for a straight 7 or 8 hours a night without waking up stresses me.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

I’ll color my hair and wear moisturizer but that’s about it.  I do fitness training but that’s more to stay healthy than to retain youthful looks.  I’m happy to say that’s not one thing I obsess about.

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

When I left the corporate world, I decided to become a travel blogger and have been happily toiling away at the profession ever since. That certainly was a total reinvention.

Do you plan to retire?

Fortunately my second act as a travel blogger allows me to continue to work at it as long as I can or want to.  So, no, I have no plans to retire. And even if I did, I’d still do the same thing I’m doing now.

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

I live in a big city where the big opportunity to go green is recycling which we do.

 

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

I’ve got several turning points that led to my life’s work/play.  When I was a kid, no one in my family could speak English except me. We wanted to enjoy movies together so we went to see Mexican and Argentinian movies that were in Spanish.  That early exposure to different cultures instilled in me a voracious curiosity about other cultures. Later my mother opened a travel agency which had a huge map covering one wall.  I’d stare at it for hours and imagine what life was like in places like Fiji, Japan and Argentina. I just assumed I’d visit those places when I grew up.

As a teenager I found a book one day titled Ali and Nino about a Muslim boy and a Christian girl in Baku, Azerbaijan.  The book did such a good job of describing Baku that I fell in love with the idea of that city. I eventually did visit, and that book was certainly a driving force.

Just about everything else in my life; education, career, the type of person I married (another travel fanatic) and now my travel blog, has been the result of that travel passion derived from those turning points.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

I have more unfulfilled dreams than I care to think about:

  • Photo safaris in Kenya and Tanzania
  • Train traveling throughout India
  • Crossing Asia on the trans-Siberian highway
  • Experiencing the Galapagos Islands

Little by little I’m crossing these places off my travel bucket list.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?

I like to think that I inspire others to enrich their lives through travel by providing them actionable travel tips and advice and thorough destination guides. Through my blog, I try to communicate the joys of travel, I debunk myths that keep people from traveling and help people create their own unique travel experiences.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

My mother who instilled important values in me by her example and helped me gain the skills I needed to have a productive, independent and happy life. Also my husband for his constant support.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

I have several but my favorite is: Try and you might fail, but don’t try and you’re guaranteed to fail.

Susan Santangelo

by Anne Holmes on September 26, 2019

I’m delighted to introduce author Susan Santangelo and share with you this Voices of Baby Boomer Women blog post – in which she answers our celebrated questions.  You see, Susan and I go way back. I first ran into her when I bought the NABBW.

According to Susan, she’d already written the first two Carol and Jim Andrews Baby Boomer Mysteries – the two that have now been updated and reissued as the boxed set Milestones Can Be Murder –  by that time. I’m sure she’s correct. The thing I most remember about the first time we spoke, is that we had instant rapport. It seemed like we’d been friends for ages. After all, we had a lot in common:

First, we were both Baby Boomer women who successfully worked from home – as did our husbands.

  • Most people who hear that both my husband and I work from home wonder how that can be possible. They insinuate that if they had to spend life “24/7/365” living and working with their spouse, a murder would likely ensue.
  • I’m guessing Susan heard the same story, because in her first book, “Retirement Can Be Murder,” protagonist Carol Andrews learns that her husband Jim – who works for a marketing company in NYC –  is thinking of taking early retirement and coming home…to spend all of his time together with her in their lovely Fairport, Connecticut home.
  • As you might expect, Susan writes of how much Carol dreads Jim’s upcoming retirement. She likens it to being “worse than a root canal without Novocain.” She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it — except interfering in the day-to-day activities of their household and driving her crazy.
  • Like me, she had worked as a magazine writer during her her earlier years, though her articles were published in Helen Gurley Brown’s Cosmopolitan magazine, and I’d chickened out on the NYC lifestyle. My work was published in newspapers and magazines catering to a less cosmopolitan female audience.

Second, apparently neither of us spend much of our at home work time interacting with our spouses.  

  • I loved – and could totally identify with – the story she told me about how she started writing her first Carol and Jim Andrews Baby Boomer Mysteries book:  It seems she and husband Joe – also an author – were going to write a series of three books together. From what she’s told me, I imagine the plan was for sort of a “he said/she said” story, because the plan was for each to each contribute chapters.
  • But, says Susan, she actually wrote her chapters – while Joe never got around to his…
  • So eventually Susan just wrote the first Carol and Jim Edwards book herself. And finding an eager audience, she kept going. Currently she’s working on book nine in the series.

Third, we both have a strong interest in assisting women with Baby Boomer related issues. And why not? We’re both Baby Boomers, and demographically, there are a lot of us. Plus, it’s always been suggested that authors choose their subject based on writing what they personally know about. As Susan and I know:

  • There were an estimated 74.1 million Baby Boomers living in the United States, according to the 2016 census figures. (76 million of us were born here in the US, but apparently between deaths and expatriations, we’re now down a couple million.)
  • Every day more of us “senior” Boomers, are hitting the traditional retirement age of 65. (In fact, the oldest Boomers are now 70+ while the youngest are 55.)
  • More importantly, much of what is written about Baby Boomers deals with the financial piece of growing older – taking care of your IRAs and 401Ks, and/or working beyond retirement age, etc. Of course, this is important, because so many Boomers are not financially prepared to retire.
  • But as Susan clearly realizes, very little is written that addresses our emotional issues. Like: how do couples who have been married for years, raised a family, and been leading fairly independent lives, now cope with the fact that the husband and the wife are no longer working daily from 9 – 5 job? Instead, they’re often home, frustrated and getting into each other’s way as they struggle to re-define their roles.
  • And most importantly, Susan understands that it’s often a lot easier to make a point that actually sticks with people if you can tell a story. Especially a story with a bit of humor thrown in… And that’s why she’s been so successful with books on topics like In-Laws, Class Reunions, Marriage, Moving, Second Honeymoons, Funerals and even that sancrosanct topic, Dieting. 

Now that I’ve shared with you why Susan has often been generous enough to autograph my copies of her books with a phrase like, “For Anne, a partner in crime,” I’ll leave you with the proud disclaimer that I have also, on a couple of occasions, enjoyed the opportunity to write a blurb which has appeared on the back and/or inside covers of Susan’s books.  So I am clearly a dedicated fan of Susan’s writing.

Take it away, Susan…

 

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m proud to be an early member of the Boomer generation. I’ve had a long feature-writing career with magazines and newspapers in the NYC area, including a stint at Cosmopolitan back in the Helen Gurley Brown days. Now I’m writing the Baby Boomer mystery series, humorous cozies about Carol and Jim Andrews, a typical Boomer couple navigating life’s rocky road toward their twilight years, with a dead body thrown in just to add to the mix.

I split my time between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the Gulf Coast of Florida, and share my life with my husband, Joe, and two very spoiled English cocker spaniels, Boomer and Lilly.

 Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

Joe and I have been married 52 years, and we were married on April Fool’s Day. (No kidding.) Two sons, Mark (married) and David, who’s still living the bachelor life in California. Plus a terrific daughter-in-law and two teenage grandchildren.

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

My family eating dinner together! Everyone is on different schedules today, and there’s no opportunity for the families to sit down together, share a meal, and talk.

 What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

I like to think that I speak my mind when appropriate, but know when to be quiet and just listen. I think it’s important for women at any age to know how to do both. And when. I’m lucky that I’m able to give opinions through the chief character in my book, Carol Andrews. She’s very opinionated!

What inspires you?

I’m a 21-year breast cancer survivor. The realization that life can be cut short without any warning inspired me to finally start writing mysteries.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

Writing! I’m having more fun than I ever thought possible. And I love it when I hear from readers that they love the books.

 Do you have any interesting hobbies?

Writing is more of a passion than a hobby. But I’d put retail therapy at the top of my list. Or, maybe that’s another passion? I love interacting with Boomer and Lilly. They give me such good advice.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

My favorite movie of all time is High Society with Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, Celeste Holme and Frank Sinatra. I love the music, and the peek at Newport “high society.” And Grace Kelly is so beautiful in it.

 Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

I love to go to Italy, especially with family.

What inspires you?

I’m a 21-year breast cancer survivor. The realization that life can be cut short without any warning inspired me to finally start writing mysteries.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

Writing! I’m having more fun than I ever thought possible. And I love it when I hear from readers that they love the books.

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate.

I try to eat right and watch my weight. And walk a mile every day.

What do you stress about?

The state of our country today!

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

I haven’t seen my natural hair color in years, and use a little makeup, especially around my eyes. Daily moisturizing with Oil of Olay, which one of my sons calls Oil of Old Lady. That’s about it.

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

I’ve morphed into a published author. I’ve been very lucky.

Do you plan to retire?
No. Book one in the series is Retirement Can Be Murder. I don’t want to tempt fate!

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

Recycle, reuse whenever possible. Cut down on the use of plastics.

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

My cancer diagnosis.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

Well, I’d like to win a Pulitzer Prize for my books but that’s probably not going to happen. But my dog Lilly’s AKC name is My Pulitzer Prize, and she’s enough for me.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community.

I use my books, which contain quite a bit of humor, to discuss problems that Boomers face today. Like retirement, downsizing and selling the family home, destination wedding of an adult child, high school reunions etc. And at the end of each book I provide helpful websites for further information. I often do book talks for nonprofit organizations and donate a portion of book sale to support the organization that’s hosted me.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

I have far too many to choose only one.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

Live every day to the fullest, and don’t sweat the small stuff!