Chronicle of Experts - Letter from our Founder on BLM

From renowned thought and culture leaders, to members of our community, we learn about what gives meaning to what they do.

As a Mexican woman, it goes without saying that I strongly support Black Lives Matter. In Mexico, the colour of your skin tone defines your economic and social status, and it defines what doors will open. My parents had to explain racism to me at an early age: with my Mom, a white woman, life would be different than with my Dad, a man of colour. I was fortunate to have access to an extremely high level of education and know the value this brings to our lives. I don’t want to repeat something you have read and heard now many times – just to tick boxes in brand messaging.  To me, personally, the painful thing is to think of the countless killings and miscarriages of justice we did not get to witness on video - all those names we will never know. It is also a source of hope, as the Bandaid has been ripped away. The work we will all have to do to begin to right these wrongs will be ongoing, and we at MYKIGAI are committed to doing that work along with our community. 

​The whole concept of MYKIGAI is to listen to, and continue to learn from, one another. We will not only to defy ageism, but to seek out and share stories of lived Black experience. We also celebrate the twin (often overlooked) role of experience and purpose in life as we age. The fact that we are seeing this unprecedented questioning of our values and morals as a society makes us hope there will be an opportunity down the road to explore other areas of inclusivity, including the barriers that arise for all of us as we age.

Frailty of body and our ageist society has led us to a system in which elders are not respected, indeed they are often abused. The COVID nursing home scandal in Canada is testament to the lack of respect and the state in which we keep our elders. When the Canadian military, brought in to shore up retirement homes under siege, is telling you things are bad: you know it is really bad.

​This is not a comparison.  These are all difficult subjects intersecting right now. We highlight it as we want to bring this back to the point that much like anything else in every day life, it is also a fact that aging is harder for BIPOC communities. I would like to point out a great resource from the American Psychological Association (link here: African American Older Adults and Race-Related Stress). It serves to remind us that not only do African American older adults experience significant health disparities, including lower life expectancies and an increased risk of chronic health conditions, but also the serious repercussions of race-related stresses on mental health. Negative race-related encounters are cumulative over a lifetime, and often further impacted by diminished access to health care. This APA link shares resources and a call to action for what aging and health care providers can do to help with race-related stress in aging populations.

Let’s all work together to hear each other fully on these and other important issues. MYKIGAI is a community platform to facilitate learning, together. We want to hear from the community and learn from each other. 

We took some time to pause and reflect through the past week of protests. I'd like to invite you to join us as we start up programming again with a round table discussion on the issue of ageism in the workplace.

​-Laura Minquini


David Ing has a lot of impressive job titles—systems scientist, business architect, management consultant and marketing scientist. He put in 28 years at IBM. He has an MBA from Kellogg and a long and impressive list of academic papers and citations. Last year Ing published a book on Open Innovation Learning, dealing with issues of open sourcing software. He has taught in Finland, Japan and China and is in process of a PhD at Aalto University in Finland. 

Then, this year, at the age of 62, he made the radical decision to turn his job search over to his four “millennial” aged sons. And next week he starts his new job at what he describes as an “entry level.” He is actively “downshifting his career.” Ing will join the MYKIGAI career round table this Thursday, June 12 at noon to discuss his unusual career path, what he hopes to learn at his new job, and the misconceptions of aging in the workplace.

He cites his “systems thinking” way of looking at the world to explain his job search strategy. “In behavioral psychology, you look inside yourself and dig around to understand the world. The other way, in systems thinking, is ecological, which means looking at how you are in the world and appreciating how the world is changing.” The tech world has changed, he says, now that 50 percent of the workforce at his old alma mater IBM is in the millennial age range, he concluded he should take the advice of his similar-aged sons. The world operates their way now: “That tells me the millennials are right and I’m wrong. It’s simple market logic.”

He had sent out his resume, and got back crickets, nada. But when his third son stripped the resume down to “hard skills” and took all that experience and made it less than a page, he started getting calls back from recruiters. 

The non-traditional, non-linear arc of Ing’s earlier career—“I started at the top at IBM in headquarters as a planner, and worked my way down, to technical sales” also fits his current circumstances. Ing is more interested in what’s new and what’s next, and less interested in traditional markers of a climb to success, such as money and title. Life, he says, is about finding purpose. “I’m excited,” he says, “about trying something new. I can look at all the aspects of the company as an MBA and a former management consultant. But I want to keep moving, and learning.”

AGEISM IN THE WORKPLACE - MYKIGAI Careers Round Table on Friday, June 12 at Noon.