Christina Vuleta is the founder of 40:20 Vision, a non-profit dedicated to bridging the gap between 40-something women and their 20-something counterparts. Christina had too many interesting stories to fit into one post, so we’re publishing her interview in two installments. Enjoy the first half!
The Forty Women to Watch Over 40 list is an outgrowth of your organization, 40:20 Vision. When did that get started?
That started four or five years ago. I worked at a consultancy and we did a lot of work with generational research and trends, helping companies develop new white space or better positionings that are more future-focused.
I was out to brunch with some of my friends, all 40-somethings, and we were waiting for our table when these two younger girls, who were also waiting, started asking us questions about careers, boyfriends, dating in New York City, all that. We sat down, and I thought, “I wish we could just bottle it and give it to them.” They had this bravado, but they still didn’t have confidence. They were still asking the same questions we asked—they just didn’t know how awesome they were.
When I started talking about my idea, everybody was saying, “Oh, you can’t. You have to live it to learn it. 20-somethings don’t want advice.” I wondered where that came from. When you look at generational research, the boomer attitude was, “Don’t trust anyone over 30. It’s us versus them.” With millennials, it’s much more of a friendship with their parents, not an authoritarian relationship. They’re more focused on continual learning. Why wouldn’t you want to get more perspective from people who have been there and done that?
But I also didn’t want to be telling them what to do. At that brunch, I thought, “Look at us, there’s seven of us around the table. We’ve each made completely different decisions. There’s people who are married, not married, having a baby on their own, getting divorced, just getting engaged, starting a company, consulting. We’re all in totally different places, but the one thing we have in common is that now we’re making decisions for ourselves. Now we have that confidence to say, ‘This is what I want to do,’ rather than, ‘Oh, everyone’s getting married. I should get married.’” Our generation is the first that really had so much freedom to make the good choices.