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Sasan Nikoomanesh

Rotary Club of Simi Sunset

April 13, 2009

Ms. Wendy Goldman
GeroBiz

Re: Simi Valley Rotary Presentation - “Successful Aging: How to Adapt to Tomorrow’s World”

Dear Wendy:

Your presentation at my Rotary Club really altered my perceptions about the way my company recruits, retains, and retrains older workers.

I want to fully support your efforts. Those of us who work for Corporate America need to challenge our understanding of older worker issues. On a personal level, I can try to improve my attitudes about diversity in the workplace.  Throughout my career, I have attended mandatory harassment and diversity training programs, but I walked out with little tangible utility. For several hours, I have to physically be in the training room, whether I find value or not.  Now I’m starting to “get it.”

I have often thought of the information you presented, especially when I’m preparing to interview candidates for positions in my department.  Did the candidate seem highly energized, or dull and lifeless in the chair?  Did they attempt to upgrade their skills to keep current, or rely on a decades old college degree?  The kind of staff we recruit often has years of experience and the ability to mentor others. I’m going to read some of the articles you mentioned, and learn more about Age Discrimination in Employment laws.  By the time I become part of the affected group, my children will have a better appreciation of age diversity in the workplace.  With so few younger workers entering the workforce, we need to consider all our resources to succeed.

Your presentation enlightened me about the common pitfalls that we fall into, in the marketplace, workplace, and community, creating opportunities for lawsuits.  If only we could hasten the type of changes you demonstrated during your presentation!  Positive examples of aging abound, too numerous to mention, yet the ageist stereotypes persist. We would be well served to adopt your program and stop diminishing the contributions of older workers.  It offers the antidote to the anger, frustration, and the “negativity that has no name” in most companies.

Smaller companies may benefit the most from adopting your “age neutral” practices, as well, whether targeting the older consumer market or recruiting a skilled, educated staff.  It’s time to rebuild our economy with all our natural resources, especially those over 40 who can lead the recovery.

May you find every success as you continue your valuable work, and may attitudes change to accept an age-diverse workforce sooner rather than later.

Sincerely,

Sasan Nikoomanesh
Treasurer

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