I was so excited. New to my city (Phoenix), I found a faith-based organization that was hosting small Saturday night dinner parties.

I filled out the form and paid $15.

A month went by. The week of the party, I sent an e-mail to the organizer asking for the details and was told that I couldn’t come because I’m older than 45.

Can you imagine if I had told the hostess that she couldn’t come to MY party because she is under 45? Or because she was of a particular ethnic or racial group?

But somehow, excluding someone because she is “too old” has become acceptable.

Of course, I wrote back and pointed out that having dinner with someone under the age of 45 would not make me uncomfortable in the least. In fact, I know many people in that age group who are less interesting and have less energy than I do.

I didn’t hear back.

Because I am older and wiser, I no longer take things personally. I made other plans for the evening. But this post will serve as an open note to younger people who may assume that my generation has nothing to bring to the (dinner) table. The group that uninvited me will ultimately lose out on:

  • Career and romance advice gleaned from 50+ years of mistakes and learning
  • Funny stories
  • Potential media exposure for their businesses — because my social media follower base is more than 20k people
  • Tips on new technologies (one of my passions)
  • A vibrant and smart older person who doesn’t drool, slurp her soup or forget where she is

Ageism is just like any other “ism” today, and we need to call it out when we see it.

My editor who will review this post is less than half my age, but I respect her for who she is and what she knows and not her college graduation year.

So, please pull out that chair at your dinner table (literally or metaphorically) for someone who may be “outside the age range.” Just as you may discover that you really DO like green bean casserole after all, you may find out that some of us old classics can be a real treat.


  • Nancy A Shenker

    The Silver Hair Playbook: How to Be a Bad Ass >50™

    Nancy A. Shenker is a marketing innovator, brand builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule breaker. Over the course of her 40-year business and marketing career, she has been a C-level executive, an entrepreneur, and a mentor to hundreds of small businesses at all stages. Founder of theONswitch marketing, Nancy was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, and publishes a women’s entrepreneur community (www.sheBOOM.com), as well as AI/machine learning/robotics site www.EmbracetheMachine.com and travel and lifestyle site www.BleisureLiving.com. She also wrote a column for Inc.com called Bots & Bodies (about the human side of tech) and is a contributor to a wide range of consumer and business media. She recently won the "Killer Content Award" for a major project for a fast-growing technology company.