Re-engineering Imagineering


One of the biggest challenges I deal with every day at Gen Plus is changing the mind-set and perception of a nation of employers. In many cultures, past and present, the elders of the tribe were the sages. They were revered for their lifelong learning and their living experience. In the world of today, over three decades of marginalization of 50-plus stand between a secure next age or a fragile existence. Anyone over 50 can expect to live to 75, 85 and beyond and being one of them, I can safely say, most of us will not be able to live on our own means.

I love Disney. Not because of Mickey or Minnie or any of the wonderful characters that live in Disneylands and Disneyworlds in many continents. No. It is because Walt Disney had an imagination. And in his imagination he conceived of creating a forward-thinking fantasyland in a bit of desert in California. Most people thought he was a nut. Actually he was an imagineer. He was able to take his imagination and engineer a concept from the ground up.

Gen Plus is the concept of my imagination. I was raised in Canada and bred with an unavoidable sensibility for the support of community — through medicare, through education, through social programs. As a result, even though I am now an American and call LA my home, I have an internal calling to social responsibility that compells me to connect (not cast), a wide net.

My wide net is the 78 million boomers that will all be in their 50’s within the next five years.

The challenge: to change the perception of a strongly individually driven society and create recognition for a strong tribe of workforce-able 50-plussers,

The American Dream focuses on the accomplishments of the individual. But 78 million indivuals are “the many” and this tribe has particular meaning to and impact upon the fabric of what US society will be over the next 30 or so years. Canadians will easily “get” the focus of Gen Plus and the need to support the 50-plus tribe. There is a looming employment crisis — not enough workers to support the jobs and an inbred ageism that stops employers from hiring 50-plus. Americans will need to come along with me more gently. I’ll nudge and cajole until you (my tribe, my Gen Plus) is firmly understood as the champion of the 50-plus worker.

Come imagineer with me. It is a great ride.

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