“I noticed that you’ve posted interviews of women over 50 pursuing new career paths and I was hoping I could submit my mom as a future subject. My mom is Diane Yeager and she is 60 years young. Every time we think it’s time for her to slow down and retire, it’s as if she starts another life.” said Nikki.
What a nice lead-in to an inspiring story. I like to hear about positive family relationships, especially when a daughter is proud of her mom. I wanted to learn more about how Diane, a former full-time nurse and now owner of EHR Tutor, navigated entrepreneurship. I also was curious to hear Nikki’s perspective — to understand how her mom has influenced her own success.
Here are excerpts from my interviews. Perhaps Diane’s story may motivate you to become an entrepreneur during your second act.
A Conversation With Diane Yeager
Q: What spurred you to start a company during your life after 50?
Diane: “In my 50s, I was working as a consultant for a healthcare software company and found myself working increasingly longer hours. Having a 100 hour work week at the beginning of a job is something I can do, especially when I’m excited about the work. However, when I was doing overnight support shifts on a regular basis after writing training curriculum, I realized I was well into my 50s and losing time at my job instead of gaining anything meaningful in my life.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and pursue a business idea that popped into my head on a rare evening without work. It was a perfect way to provide me with reliable income during my eventual retirement and employ my children, thus helping my family too. It isn’t completely selfless — I get to see my son and daughter all the time and I love that!”
Q: What strengths are important to start your own company later in life?
Diane: “Women over 50 have a big leg up on their younger counterparts: experience. The key is to make sure you capitalize on all your past jobs and different skills.
For example, I was a labor and delivery nurse when I was much younger and then a nurse educator. While working in education, I created a website for instructors to use with nursing and health students. From there, I became a consultant.
To successfully start my business, I incorporated experience from my past positions because the skills I learned at each job were entirely different. When creating our software, I used my nursing skills. When out selling at conferences, I utilized my teaching skills. It’s important that as experienced women, we don’t discard anything we’ve learned.”
Q: What tips do you have for post 50 women who are going through change?
Diane: “I believe that often the world will align when you want to make a change. You may start to see the signs from a mile away. In fact, these signs may be telling you that it’s time for a change. Don’t be afraid. Be smart about your decisions, but don’t be afraid of making a change.”
Q: Any other encouraging words for post 50 women?
Diane: “I’m an older female, software entrepreneur. When you look at me compared to your typical 20-something male, tech startup guy, I definitely stand out. Being different doesn’t make me any less capable. It simply means that I bring something unique (and sometimes better) to the table.
Q: What have you learned from your mom?
Nikki: “I learned how to be a strong woman, because of the strong mom who was, and continues to be, my role model. When I was younger, my mom worked while my dad stayed at home to care for the kids. She never brought up gender or compared women to men in the workplace. She worked hard and assumed she would be treated equally. In her eyes, gender has nothing to do with anything — work ethic, efficiency and intelligence are key attributes that matter.
She taught me to see people as true equals instead of seeing a difference between men and women. There has never been a point in my life when I stopped to think about the fact that I’m a female and/or how it impacts my career. In truth, it doesn’t.”
Q: How has your mom influenced you?
Nikki: “My mom has inspired me to be a more caring person. She has a limitless amount of love for the people around her and has no issue showing it. Since I tend to be more of an introvert, she encourages me to openly show those around me how much I love them. Whether it’s telling my husband how much I appreciate him or taking a step back to see another person’s point of view, I consider what my mom would do when I find myself speaking abruptly to another person or cutting a conversation short.”
Thank you Diane and Nikki for sharing your story. I think you make a dynamic mother and daughter duo. Much success as you continue your life journey.
Note: This week, I will be attending Tina Brown’s “Women In The World” Summit. I hope to share some highlights from the sessions with you next week. Meantime, if you would like to listen live to any of the talks you can check them out from Wednesday, April 22 – Friday, April 24 at http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/. It promises to be an enlightening event with speakers including Barbara Streisand, about her women’s heart health program, and former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will speak about women and girls’ advancement around the world. Also follow me @judiboomergirl for live tweets or Judi Boomer Girl for Facebook posts.