Christina Vuleta
9 min readApr 12, 2015


10 Reasons to Nominate Someone for 40 Women To Watch Over 40

The 40 Women To Watch Over 40 list celebrates women who are reinventing, leaning in, and creating momentum that will be felt by those beyond their community and field of work. Now in its 3rd year, Forty Women to Watch over 40 was created by Christina Vuleta and Whitney Johnson to raise awareness that innovation gets even better with age. Here’s why:

1. To give younger women visibility to a more diverse set of role models …

These are the role models that young women need to see to keep moving forward and see new possibilities. They are not the most powerful women on the planet. Instead, they are leading and disrupting, professionally and personally.

More women today are not seeing age as a barrier. They supported by other women and are supportive of the women behind them. These are not women that want to be the only woman in the room. — Excerpted from Here’s to 40 Women over 40, Forbes, by Kerry Hannon, career expert, author, speaker, Forbes contributor,

…and show that you can lean in and out

The lack of visibility of women who have successfully “leaned in” throughout their career without leaning out of a fulfilling personal life leads many Millennial women to think they have few options. But that’s not true at all.

The list celebrates women finding simultaneous success in their professional and personal lives, without having to become a COO of multi-billion dollar company or an Ivy League professor first. By recognizing these individuals, we hope to give younger women access to role models who aren’t the 1% — who can show them they’re not confined to “traditional” options. — Christina Vuleta, Between Marissa Mayer & the Opt Out Mom: Why Women Need More Career Role Models, The Daily Muse,

2. To promote mentorship

One of the main takeaways from the 40 Over 40 list is the refrain of mentorship that runs through these women’s stories. Having mentors — women or men — to help guide your path (whatever your age) makes a huge difference in your ultimate success in life. We all need support to achieve our full potential. Having someone you trust and respect to cheer you on and offer smart advice can make your goals achievable and make the failures somehow not as harsh. — Kerry Hannon, Here’s to 40 Women over 40, Forbes

Do you have an inspiring mentor or sponsor who is over 40?

3. To defy the odds of what success after 40 looks and feels like

“Oftentimes, as women leaders, the expectation persists that our glory days as innovators and creators end either after our kids leave the nest or after we hit 30. I’ve been blessed to pursue and follow my passion well past that age and firmly believe I have much more to contribute to making the world a better place. I’m happy that Christina and Whitney continue to highlight women like me who are just reaching our stride and who continue to defy the odds of what success after 40 looks and feels like.” –Kimberly Bryant, 47, biotech engineer, founder and executive director of Black Girls CODE.

4. To instill pride in being 40+

When I first scrolled down the list and saw my name “Susan McPherson, 48,” I had a different reaction than I usually do when reminded of my age. In the past, I would have shuddered and thought — shhh, no one should know that! But, for the first time in years, I didn’t want to let out a “wahh!”

Instead, I relished seeing it, reading it and singing it out-loud. Me, a proud and confident 48-year-old gal, right there in lights. A woman who had overcome numerous challenges, who was able to re-jigger and re-engineer her life to start brand new in her late 30s, a woman whose world went from zero to 60 in just 10 short years after moving to New York City from a faraway place — a world that is now filled with the most incredibly gifted and talented people ranging from their teen years all the way up to their sprightly eighties. Not to mention, I’ve found a career that provides meaning and excitement. — Susan McPherson, Founder and CEO at McPherson Strategies, Cherishing the Over 40 Nametag

5. To dispel stereotypes. Like wine and cheese, innovation gets better with age.

Science offers some pretty compelling evidence that wunderkinds are the exception, rather than the rule. One researcher found that Nobel Prize winners’ age around a significant breakthrough is about 38 (and not recognized until they’re 60) and another posits that a lifetime of learning leads to greater breakthroughs between ages 55–65. Data from the Kauffmann Foundation bears this out as findings indicate people over 55 are almost twice as likely to found successful companies than those between 20 and 34. These statistics are seldom recognized, much less celebrated, in a youth obsessed culture. — Whitney Johnson, excerpted from 7 Inspiring Women on How They’ve Become Better with Age, Fast Company by Lydia Dishman, business Journalist at Fast Company and others

Nominate someone you know who is living proof.

6. To promote cross-generational collaborations….because “magic happens when power women and Millennials embrace each other”

My first thought when I saw my name on the list wasn’t about winning. I thought, “This is the perfect example of what happens when women from multiple generations truly support each other.”

It was 2011 and I hosted a 60-person lunch — 30 power women and 30 Millennials. I thought the young women would benefit from meeting CEOs, government leaders and heads of foundations. I was right, but within the first 30 minutes of the lunch, I realized that the power to fix the world’s problems was being redistributed from boomers to Millennials, and it was time for women from multiple generations to truly embrace and support each other. It’s not just about traditional leaders helping women in their 20s (although that’s great) — it’s about collaboration, top down and bottom up working together. — Denise Restauri, Forbes Contributor. Author of Their Roaring Thirties: Brutally Honest Career Talk From Women Who Beat The Youth Trap, 40 Women To Watch Over 40 List Rewards Women of All Ages, Forbes

7. To give women of all ages a head start on “owning it”

I can truly, honestly, 100% say that today I am a better professional, better friend, and better person than I have ever been. I am owning my age. I am owning who I am. I am owning both my successes and my mistakes. I am also much more willing to stand up for what I believe in, and I am not afraid to be not liked, or ‘unliked’. In today’s world of instant feedback, social media, and internet trolls, this is not always easy, and speaking out for what I believe to be right is about being brave, courageous, and dare I say it, fearless! — Jackie Zehner, Chief Engagement Officer and President of Women Moving Millions, 40 To Watch Over 40

8. To inspire over 40 innovators to persist

What [all the honorees] have in common is that they have more ahead of them than behind them. We are thrilled at the opportunity to inspire these 40-plus individuals to persist despite age stereotypes. We aren’t out to out-do the under 40 movers and shakers, we just think it’s time to recognize the ‘over’ half who are also transforming the world. — Christina Vuleta, Take That Midlife Crisis

When I was named to the FortyOver40 list, it underscored my decision to step out more boldly with my philanthropic and social change work at the Harnisch Foundation. Our ability to be disruptive is enhanced by knowing other disruptors, and that’s where FortyOver40 makes a contribution. When we know about others, we can form alliances and support each other. We can reach out to recruit, encourage, and affirm the next disruptors. There is strength in numbers and we must continue to build our collective momentum through networking and concerted action. Ruth Ann Harnisch, 2014 honoree, President of The Harnisch Foundation

…and give younger women something beyond a 30 under 30 or 40 under 40 list to strive for

We were surprised by the almost audible sigh when people realized there was still time to make a list. Life wasn’t over because [these women] hadn’t made ’30 under 30.’

While I personally was honored and enjoyed the fact that you were celebrating women in the prime of their years, the reaction from my company surprised me. I work in a male dominate industry (which of course I’m trying to disrupt with both technology and gender), but they were really impressed with this honor. Awards do matter. As more women move into leadership roles it’s a great differentiator to be rewarded at a key time in our careers, not just at the beginning and the end. — Diane Danielson, COO Sperry Van Ness

9. To recognize the contributions of the less obvious women who are disrupting and innovating over 40

The list is public acknowledgement of the power that comes from growth, wisdom and experience.

Recognition for doing work you love is always a thrill. But when I was named to the inaugural ”40 Women Over 40 to Watch” list, I experienced a special mix of honor, excitement, humility and joy. To have my work recognized at any age by this impressive mix of women and men from tech, corporate, social impact, VC and media, WOW! Seriously. — Cali Yost, CEO & Founder, Flex + Strategy Group / Work+Life Fit, Inc. The Joyful Honor of Being One of the “40 Over 40 to Watch

The award was a validation of the work I had been doing. It is not that I needed the validation, I was going to keep on the path I was and am on, but this award allowed me to take stock of what I had done up to this point and it was great to know others felt that what I have done had meaning.Tracey Welson-Rossman, 2013 honoree, Founder of and CMO, Chariot Solutions.

…because they are often the ones who do not have the power or money or status to get noticed in the crowd.

There are 40-something women in my life whose small actions led to me founding a nonprofit that empowers kids in foster care to achieve success in life. Often media outlets celebrate the powerful women who head Fortune 1000 companies, or the female athletes who win shiny medals, or the women with celebrity status, but …I would like to see more media coverage on the 40-something “ordinary women” whose values cannot be monetized or defined by shiny pieces of metal, fancy titles, or significant brands. I hope fabulous women over 40 are nominated, because my world — in the words of popular singer James Brown — would be nothing (nothing!) without a woman. — Marquis Cabrera, 2013 judge, founder of Foster Skills, Nominate 40-something Women: Mothers, Teachers, and Mentors

10. Because it is good for business.

After spending years on the low end of the S-curve of experience, we are now ready to accelerate into a sweet spot of competence and contribution. According to famed developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, this is a period of generativity, where our wealth of knowledge and know-how can move innovation into overdrive. It is a time where we are supremely motivated to do not just for ourselves, but for others, as we ask the question, what can I do to make my life really count?

Data notwithstanding, some of the companies among us will continue allow these individuals to fall into the arms of independent work, if we don’t give them the boot first. The smart companies — and my money is on you — will harness this hunger of the underserved, ready-to-serve corps of talent, and upend the competition. — Whitney Johnson, Innovation Gets Better with Age, HBR

And good for the world…

A substantial body of research supports the fact that investing in women results in an increasing return on CSR investment. A recent Forbes article states that women are more likely to start businesses with both social and economic goals. We also know that women entrepreneurs are more likely to reinvest their profits in education, family and community. Women over 40 have reached a point in life where they are better able to align purpose and passion, and are making a difference. — Christina Vuleta, Investing in Women Over 40 –It’s a Good Idea

Nominate the women you know who are disrupting and making a difference over 40:



Christina Vuleta

Co-founder & CGO, Mindalt, brand innovator, community builder, & generational expert. Founder of Break the Future. 40:20 Vision and 4o Women To Watch Over 40.