Calling all IP “seniors” and their allies!


Here’s a guest post from IP professional Julie Barrett of Purposive Step Consulting. Julie is already a member of our Careers in Ideas task force and the IP Inclusive Advisory Board, and she’s now keen to help set up a seventh IP Inclusive community – for IP professionals who are retired, approaching retirement or just generally thinking about changes to their work-life balance later in their careers. She tells us the background to the idea and why she believes it’s important to pursue.

Naturally this group’s remit is still up for discussion, so we’re keen to hear from anyone who’s willing to help shape it. If you’d like to get involved, there are contact details at the end of the post. Or you can write to us at [email protected].

Julie writes:

OK – I shall come clean – I am rather shy about this topic. I am referring to the idea of setting up a “senior IP citizens'” network – for those in or transitioning to retirement or concerned with aging more generally, and for those interested in such matters (“allies”).

This idea didn’t receive much response from IP people in the past, nor did it generate any follow-through. Was that because – as an older person – I am now somewhat less visible than when younger? Or was it because I mentioned it too quietly – with some embarrassment, perhaps, which is not exactly encouraging to others? Or was it because others are even more shy than me about becoming older and changing their work-life balance or becoming retired? Perhaps they thought: “Ah! A network and resource for older IP professionals – what a good idea!”, but nevertheless felt awkward about appearing to support it or to admit to their own need for it? I doubt that it was because I am the only person of advancing years (in or associated with IP) who feels and thinks that these matters could do with some discussion, sharing, information dissemination, etc.


New momentum…

But things may be changing: at IP Inclusive’s 26 April 2022 annual meeting and “Gather Round” webinar, we divided into breakout groups to come up with suggestions for events, groups and other plans for 2022-23. In the breakout discussion that I was facilitating, the participants each mentioned ideas that I totally agreed with and could vote for. So, when it finally came to my turn to contribute suggestions, I thought: “I’m going to propose something we don’t yet have – a ‘Senior IP Citizens’ Network’.” I did feel a bit embarrassed to suggest it, as no one else in the “room” was anything like retirement age or older than about 50 (I think!). But this suggestion was the only one to get 100% of the vote – which I found encouraging. So, after feeding back to the plenary session that followed, I popped my contact details in the “chat” to enable anyone who would like to join with me in starting such a group to link up – and immediately I received a few emails from interested members.


Please join us!

It would be great if you would join us, whether because such a network would be useful for yourself or because you’d just like to share experiences or help us out – someone with a bit of spare time to organise/administer the network would be especially welcome. I’m also happy to receive suggestions for what we might do together to increase awareness of issues around aging and retirement, and to improve the lot of any who are finding these things a bit tricky to navigate.

And proposals for a catchier name for the network than “Senior IP Citizens” would be helpful – it needs to be clear who the network is aimed at but distinguishable from those it isn’t (ie it would be for IP professionals in all roles, no matter how “senior”).

Please do get in touch ([email protected])!



Page published on 11th May 2022
Page last modified on 11th May 2022
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