In its fourth year, the 40 Women To Watch Over 40 List celebrates the achievements of women over 40 who are starting up and starting over and making an impact. Christina Vuleta, VP of the Women’s Digital Network at Forbes and Whitney Johnson, former Wall Street equity analyst and author of Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, founded the list to challenge age stereotypes and raise awareness that “over 40” is in fact when many women come into their most productive era.
Data from the Kauffmann Foundation bears this out, as findings indicate there are twice as many successful entrepreneurs who are over 50 as there are under 25. Yet the misperception persists that innovation and startup potential lie with the young.
Vuleta and Johnson want to change that perception. The list aims to honor women who have reinvented despite the gender and age bias that so many women continue to experience across industries ranging from Wall Street and Silicon Valley to Hollywood and advertising. These women are disrupting in their careers and are harnessing their power to help other women do the same. Vuleta and Johnson’s goal is to inspire 40+ disruptors to continue to reinvent while showing women in their 20s and 30s new possibilities. Younger women often believe their career options will narrow with time these women prove the opposite is true.
The honorees, ranging in age from 40 to 70 come from a variety of industries including the arts, sports, science, media, business and tech. Some are recognizable names and some less well-known, but all have more in front of them than behind.
They have all made an impact. Anima Patil-Sabale, age 43, is a scientist at NASA Ames Research Center who has worked on NASA’s Kepler Mission and is on her own mission to be an astronaut. Julie DiCaro, age 67, is a sports writer and Broadcaster at 670 The Score, WSCR in Chicago. Before moving into social media and sports writing in her forties, she was a lawyer for 15 years (Assistant Public Defender, Domestic Violence, Family Law). Kyle Ann Stokes is the founder of IRIS which established the Writers Lab, a new screenwriter’s lab for women over 40, with New York Women in Film & Television and funded by Meryl Streep, to cultivate more content created by women.
And they are just beginning. The full list of winners is listed below.
Winners were selected based on a rigorous application and judging process that evaluated three criteria:
- Impact: Are they creating growth or making an impact in their field of work, community and beyond?
- Role Model: Is this person a positive role model, through mentoring, leading by example, innovating around work/ life issues or promoting women for leadership, whether in business, board rooms, building diverse communities?
- Reinvention / Momentum: Are they engaged in personal disruption, taking on new challenges and harnessing the power of their experiences?
The vetting process also included the participation of a judging panel that spans generations, gender and industry including: Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist, Salesforce; Karen Carter, Global Business Director, Packaging & Performance Plastics Division, Dow Chemical Company; Ray Leach, Founder, CEO, JumpStart Inc; Clare O’Connor, Reporter, Forbes; Carly Strife, Co-founder, Bark & Co. (BarkBox); Daniel Fountenberry, Founder / CEO, Books That Grow.
The host committee provides cross-generational perspective. Molly Ford, a digital marketer and founder of SmartPrettyAwkward.com andStephanie Florence, an Account Supervisor at Edelman PR, both bring a millennial perspective to the initiative. While Canadian strategy and management consultant Catherine Saul leverages her both her lifestage and years of experience across industries to the process.
2016 Honorees: 40 Women to Watch Over 40
1. Adina Levin, Co-founder of Collab
2. Alma Alexander, Novelist
3. Angelina Fiordellisi, Founding Artistic Director, Cherry Lane Theatre
4. Anima Patil-Sabale, Scientist-Astronaut Candidate, Projects PoSSUM, PHEnOM, NASA Ames Research Center
5. Ann Marie Habershaw, COO, Bully Pulpit Interactive
6. Asha Curran, Chief Innovation Officer, Director, Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact
7. Caroline Boudreaux, Founder, Miracle Foundation
8. Céline Schillinger, Head, Innovation & Engagement, Sanofi Pasteur
9. Chia-Lin Simmons, CEO/Co-Founder, RedHelicopter; Founder #binderfullofwomenfounders
10. Christine Harada, Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, White House Council on Environmental Quality
11. Deborah Dugan, Chief Executive Officer, (RED)
12. Diahann Billings-Burford, Executive Director, Cultural Investments, Time Warner Inc.
13. Ekpedeme “Pamay” M. Bassey, Global Learning and Development Executive, Author, Speaker, Facilitator, BlackRock / My 52 Weeks of Worship Project
14. Emily McKhann, Co-Founder, The Motherhood
15. Fif Ghobadian, CEO, Road 22
16. Frances Colón, Deputy Science and Technology Adviser, US Department of State
17. Ilana Golan, Founder and CEO, Stiya
18. Jenny Lefcourt, VC, Freestyle Capital
19. Jessica Flechtner, Chief Scientific Officer, Genocea Biosciences
20. Jill Van den Brule, Humanitarian & Social Entrepreneur, MPOWERD
21. Julie Bombacino, CEO, Real Food Blends
22. Julie DiCaro, Sports Writer and Broadcaster, 670 The Score, WSCR
23. Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh, CEO, betwixt.us
24. Karen Cahn, Founder & CEO, VProud
25. Karen Walrond, Owner, Chookooloonks Media; Co Director, Collaboration & Development, The Daring Way
26. KJ Dell’Antonia, Columnist and Contributing Editor, The New York Times Well Family. The New York Times
27. Kyle Ann Stokes, Co-founder, The Writers Lab, IRIS
28. Laurie Kilmartin, Comedian
29. Libby Schaaf, Mayor, City of Oakland
30. Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO, Global Fund for Women
31. Myra Nawabi, Sr. Program Manager, Lockheed Martin Space Systems
32. Rachel Weiss, VP, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, L’Oreal
33. Rebecca Carroll, Writer/Producer, WNYC, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times
34. Rebecca Odes, Co-founder, Wifey.tv
35. Sharon Wienbar, CEO, Hackbright Academy
36. Shelley Westman, VP, Operations & Strategic Initiatives, IBM Security
37. Vanessa Alvarez, Global Marketing Manager, Amazon Web Services, Seattle
38. Vanessa Quigley, Co-founder, Chatbooker-in-Chief, Chatbooks, Orem
39. Vanessa Schenck, Founder, TIA Girl Club
40. Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, Executive Director, WITNESS, NY