June 13, 2024
Estimated Read Time: 10 min.

Changemaker Spotlight Series – Barbara Brooks, SecondActWomen

Welcome to Strat Labs’ Changemaker Spotlight Series! This blog series is dedicated to showcasing the inspiring journeys of remarkable individuals who have transformed their passions into purposeful endeavors, leaving a significant impact on the world around them every single day. Join us as we delve into the heart of innovation and commitment, celebrating the extraordinary stories of those who are not just dreaming of a better future but actively shaping it in their journey as a changemaker.


Barbara Brooks is a trailblazing force dedicated to championing women in the second half of life’s journey. As a powerhouse women’s community leader, pro-age speaker, and thought starter, Barbara embodies a unique blend of vision, savvy, humor, and heart. Amplifying the voices of dynamic women and those in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond, she’s the visionary behind the social enterprise SecondActWomen and the new podcast, Second Act, with Barbara Brooks.

Barbara’s unwavering passion is to inspire women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond to embrace their unique “chapter number” and fearlessly pursue what they want and truly deserve. Her infectious enthusiasm encourages women to break barriers and redefine possibilities.


What inspired you to embark on your journey in the social impact space?

I was 51 and couldn’t get hired. I’m an award-winning marketing director from the shopping center industry, and I have marketed and sold sponsorships into some of the largest shopping centers in the nation. I was at Park Meadows Retail Resort until 2011, when I became an entrepreneur and started my own marketing and public relations firm.

Fast-forward to 2018. I wanted to go back into corporate America because I missed it, but I just couldn’t find a job. I was honestly clueless as to why I couldn’t land a job, let alone land the interviews that I used to be able to land.

I then decided to create an event company for women. It was going to be similar to Denver Startup Week but specifically for businesswomen. As I was doing my research and listening to women of every age to decide what this “Women’s Business Week” should be, I found that 80% of the women were over the age of 40. I discovered that the issue that women over 40 face is age bias in the business world. They felt unwanted, undervalued, and unseen because that’s what society told them, so I created SecondActWomen.


Can you describe how you and/or your organization are making a significant social impact?

SecondActWomen provides personal and professional development workshops, conferences, content, and community for women 40 and 50+ to gather and grow.


In your opinion, what are some emerging trends or innovations in your industry that have the potential to drive significant change?

Ageism is the last remaining “ism” still allowed to be joked about. It’s acceptable to laugh about age and ageism in comedy shows, sitcoms, and with our family and friends.

When we talk about innovation, age is starting to show up in what’s called the Longevity Economy. The population of people who are 50+ contributed $45 trillion to global GDP. That’s 34% of the total. That said, Uber, Google, Microsoft, and other major corporations and startups are now paying attention to the aging population and launching Age Tech initiatives and technologies. After all, the world is not just growing older, but the number of people 50-plus will continue to grow over the next decade to 19 million, vs. a growth of only 6 million for the 18-49 population. 

That’s why I preach age is a superpower.


How do you define “Changemaker”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

A changemaker is a person finding a place in this world to make the change needed to better “a thing” for the good of the intended person or persons.  

For me, the answer is twofold. For me, my “changemaking” comes in with the eradication of ageism, where women over 40  are seen, heard, and valued, and I’m doing that through my pro-aging advocacy work. The other side of that is reframing aging by helping our women recognize there’s power in age and that while impostorism will set in, they’ve got this.


What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered while pursuing your purpose, and how have you overcome them?

Oh, gosh, there’s many! However, the biggest challenge was to get women to our first event, which meant believing in our company and mission. At the time, to have a conference for women over 40 was brand new. There was nothing in the United States that offered an event for middlescent women specifically to help them be seen and heard while also building a new community for them. We had sponsors come on board, and they loved it, but our own target audience didn’t understand our vision for them.

We had to reposition our messaging and move the event by a month because we had only sold 25 tickets. We ended up with 149 guests, and many expressed that it was the best conference they’d attended. Had we not sold tickets the second time around, who knows where SecondActWomen would be – or not.


Can you tell us about a project or initiative you’re particularly proud of and its impact on the community or issue it addresses?

That same conference, BizLifeCon, focuses on entrepreneurial and career women, but we also talk about life. We’ve now hosted seven BizLifeCons, and every year, our women say that it is still the best conference they attend. More than a few have said it’s changed their lives. It was held in April, and in the last couple of days, I’ve had three people tell me that they’ve booked thousands of dollars of business from BizLifeCon. That, to me, is a boon. 

I’m particularly proud of SecondActWomen and the lives changed, accolades and media attention we’ve gotten over the years, and having received $80,000 from Meta.


What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own journey as a changemaker within the social impact space?

My advice would be to do it. If there’s a problem that you have the solution for and you can make a change in the world or in someone’s life, like Nike, just do it.

I also always like to share the quote by Lizzo, “Has anybody told you today that you’re special? You’re special.” Be the changemaker in your ‘specialness’ and as the masterpiece you are, and don’t listen to the naysayers. You’ve got this.


Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals for the future of your work, and how do you plan to continue your journey as a changemaker?

I have the goal that SecondActWomen is looked at as an agency – a multimedia female-focused company providing services and products for women 40+ while giving companies access to a bevy of women who are valued at $15 trillion and growing.

I want the SecondActWomen community of business owners and career women to all be aligned in advocating for one another so that the powerful voices of women over 40 are echoed worldwide.


Why should people pay attention to the issues you work on?

If people ignore ageism, there will be a crisis, and as dramatic as that sounds, it’s true. There will be an economic crisis if people continue to avoid us in the workplace and everywhere in between. If we go unhired, our household budgets are lowered, leading to a lack of spending and the potential of much more.


To learn more about the impactful and important work that SecondActWomen is doing, visit their website at https://secondactwomen.com/about.

If you are interested in connecting with Barbara Brooks to learn more about her changemaker journey, you can contact her at barbara@bloomcopresents.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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