After a Full Career in Consulting and Education, Intrepid New NABBW Member Ardith Bowman Is Focused on Coaching Boomer Women Positioning Themselves to Take On New Life Adventures

by Anne Holmes on September 30, 2020

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…..



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