April 13th, 2021

Athena Alliance, the global, digital learning platform for top women executives, today published an infographic that highlights women’s approach to vocational freedom, when she has the time, treasure, and talent to pursue any passion or interest she desires. The infographic is based on a survey Athena sent to its membership community of more than 1,000 women executives. 

The survey was inspired by Athena’s podcast, Third Act, hosted by Liz Tinkham, former senior managing director at Accenture and Athena board director. Tinkham shares the stories of both men and women who are currently in the “third act” of their lives, doing what they wish to do after their big careers have ended. Through the podcast, Tinkham explores what it looks like to find new passion and meaning later in life.

“The common thread throughout the podcast and also demonstrated in the survey results is that giving back becomes the focal point for women later in life,” Tinkham said. “These women are not going to retire to a golf course or to sit at home – they are ignited by new passions and an excitement to give back, especially to women and girls who are up and coming. These women want to pass on their knowledge and vast experience, often through mentorship, starting new businesses, or by joining a board.” 

Some key takeaways from the vocational freedom survey include: 

  • 81% of survey respondents were between ages 45 & 65 – with 70% reporting that they’ve achieved vocational freedom or are within five years of it. Yet, more than half of respondents report that they still work full time. 
  • 60% of women look for help from organizations like Athena Alliance to make the transition to vocational freedom. “Traditional means of ‘retirement’ support, such as books or groups are not necessarily the right fit for these modern, ambitious women,” Tinkham observed. 
  • 90% of women are interested in for-profit or non-profit board service. 

“The survey results and Third Act podcast stories illustrate what we see every day at Athena, that women who have achieved so much truly want to send the elevator back down to others,” said Coco Brown, founder and CEO of Athena. “This is a value deeply integrated within the Athena community. I love seeing women extending their power and influence in so many impactful ways.” 

The full infographic can be viewed here.





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