Accelerating the Advancement of Women Leaders 


January 28, 2019

For motivational speaker and slayer of fear (, Michelle Poler, friendship with a woman 20 years her senior helps her see the world through different eyes.
“She already has this strong career trajectory and that enables her to help and guide me,” Poler says of mentor and branding expert Debbie Millman. “It’s really relevant that she’s older than I am because I’m able to see the world through her experiences.”
An intergenerational mix
Women across the country are seeing increased value in connecting across the generations. A recent New York Times article chronicled the experiences of several groups bringing women from their twenties to their nineties together to “share their stories, concerns and triumphs not just with people in their same age group, but across generations.”  
Groups like Moxie and the Spaghetti Project bring women together in settings similar to LeanIn Circles, but with a broader emphasis connecting those of diverse ages. Generation Women engages women from multiple generations in reading essays loosely centered around a theme.

A new view
“From millennials to baby boomers, we tend to stick with a same-aged cohort, rarely associating out of the office with people in very different life stages,” said James Pogue, Ph.D., intergenerational expert. “But there is real value in interaction across the ages where young people gain the perspective and long-view from their elders and more seasoned folks gain new insights, energy and understanding from people coming of age with a whole different set of opportunities and pressures,” he said.
Poler launched her 100 Days Without Fear (shared at the 2017 and 2018 WFF Conferences), speaking and writing career based on a course assignment in Millman’s class at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. “Debbie changed my life through her course A Brand Called You where I gained a better understanding of obstacles that stood in the way of my goals. It just would not be the same to have these conversations with someone who is my age,” Poler said.

Poler is returning the favor. She has spent a year touring girls’ middle and high schools to share her message of moving through fear. “Because my relationship with Debbie has meant so much to me, I want to be that same person for younger people,” Poler said.

As you grow your professional and personal network, consider the value of interacting with people of all ages.

Back to News