E84 | Flora Proverbio | Why I Am Passionate About The Silver Economy
Episode 841st December 2022 • My Fourth Act Podcast • Achim Nowak
00:00:00 00:41:15

Share Episode

Shownotes

Flora Proverbo is an anti-aging activist from Argentina who works to change the current storytelling about post-50 life. Her career in strategic planning and innovation began in Miami and led her to work in NYC, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Madrid, Moscow and Latin America, with major global brands like Nissan, Nestle and eventually serving as Head of Strategic Planning in Buenos Aires for the venerable Saatchi & Saatchi Agency.

Today. Flora helps companies and organizations to grow by satisfying the demands and needs of the elderly. She also founded Plateadas, a community for women over the age of 50 who share their stories and experiences with each other and make the most of this vibrant part of their lives.

www.ethnosstrategy.com


Transcripts

Flora Proverbio:

I want to work less. Sexually, I want to explore more, of course, more you know, things that I don't even know that exists. And I want to, to have fun I think that I have always been like very serious you know or like, not allowing me to talk just like simple fun, you know enjoying life just because so I want to come let me less responsible

Achim Nowak:

Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your FOURTH ACT? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected FOURTH ACTS, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you are listening on. Let's get started. I am so delighted to welcome Flora proverbio to the my fourth act podcast. Flora is an anti aging activist who works to change the current storytelling about post 50 life. Her career in strategic planning and innovation began in Miami and led her to work in New York City, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Madrid, Moscow, and in Latin America, working for mass consumption, finance and the automotive industry. Today, fluoride helps companies and organizations to grow by satisfying the needs of the elderly. She also is a founder of plateau Jada's a community for women over the age of 50. In this community says forum, we share stories and experiences we laugh and think while we make the most of this vibrant part of life. Hello, Flora and welcome to the my fourth act podcast.

Flora Proverbio:

Hello, ITT man, thank you for inviting me. I'm delighted to be here.

Achim Nowak:

I also look forward to this conversation. Like me, you and I have had this international lives. But you are originally from Argentina. You live in Argentina now. I'm always curious. So when you were growing up in Argentina, and you thought about what you wanted to do with your life, what were you dreaming about?

Flora Proverbio:

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress. Actually, I went to study with the greatest theatre, called what whatever. And I was like 1112. And he put me in the teenagers group. This is a story about age. That's why I'm telling this. So he put me in the teenagers group. But you know, like being 1211. And being a teenager is a completely different life stage. So he had asked why we were there, why we were interested in acting, and these teenagers great explanations about feeling and being someone else. And I was an 11 year old girl. And I was like, well, cuz I like it. And I didn't know how to stay. And I felt so self conscious that I never came back to perhaps my fourth act is the moment to come back to that dream. You know, I never went back and my mom was like, why don't you want to go? No, I didn't like it. But the truth is that the age difference made me feel uncomfortable.

Achim Nowak:

As you're talking I just think about how powerful and sometimes not so nice to the experiences are when I was the ages 511 I wanted to learn how to play the piano. And we lived in Turkey. And there was a German piano teacher and without knowing me. He told my parents, I don't think your son has any talent for piano. And so I never learned the piano and I've done other things. But you just realized if something else had been said, I might have studied the piano, right? So those come back to piano? No, and I have no yearning for it. So it's not I don't feel like I missed out on something. But as you're talking how I'm remembering how important early encouragement is, or can be if we're in the right place with the right teacher and the right mentor. You'll work for a long time. And this to me very fascinating field strategic branding. I want to talk a little bit about Saatchi and Saatchi because I used to live around the corner from the Saatchi and Saatchi offices in Manhattan. I've been in those offices. To me Saatchi and Saatchi is a very specific place. And I remember the energy and spirit of it that before we Go there. How did you end up in strategic branding? Like, how did that help?

Flora Proverbio:

Well, during between my 20s and my 30s, I was like, in great cloud, I would say, the, you know, those periods in life where nothing, you feel like nothing happened. Or I don't want to start with a lot of drama, please. When I was when I was 20, I was raped by seven men. So that was a tough experience. And you know that, but then people didn't speak that much about those kinds of things. You know, like, after the meet to movement, whatever, like people speak more about that. Nevertheless, I decided to speak about what had happened to me. But I think that society wasn't ready to deal with a story like that. So Nevertheless, I continue going to university, I tried to work but you know, like, I put a lot of emotion and energy just on continuing, but like nothing seemed to work. So suddenly, I met my husband, the week that he was moving to Miami, got MTV, MTV back then was like, you know, like the place where everybody wanted to work. I met him. But that week, he was moving to Miami. We were together a couple of days, then he went to Miami, goodbye, have a nice life, whatever, I always remember who it was with. And a year later, he called me like, you know, like, we had such a great energy. Why don't you come to Miami to visit me. So I went to Miami, I loved it. I fell in love with him also. So I stayed in Miami, and in other countries that studied apparel design. So I started working with companies, like back then, you know, like the internet wasn't what it is now. So what I did is like I prepared packages of big fashion trends, and what they meant in culture, for example, for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, the colors that year were in passion, blue, red and white. So like translating what was going on in society and why fashion that year was what it was. And I was like, Oh, I really like this. I really like trends, understanding what is happening in the culture, and why people behave, how they do. And I wanted to study something related to that. And I was living in Miami Beach, and I didn't know what to study related to that. And I met someone in a bar that said, You know what, that is called. But then it was called Learning, communication planning or something like that. And, and in Miami Beach, you have a wonderful place, which is the Miami Ad School, and is the best place in the whole country to study that. And how great that is that it was like two blocks away from my house. So I was like, Okay, I just do that. And I love it. And I started working in advertising. So someone from the school hired me to work in an advertising agency, I really wanted to work in content. It wasn't called consumer content or branded content. But then but that is what I wanted to do. But this person called me to work in an advertising agency for General Motors. So I started working in advertising. So from there, I went to another agency, then I moved. This was for the Hispanic market. You know, most of the Hispanic agencies are in the Hispanic market. Then I got divorced, I moved to New York and I started working, I did work what we Latinos call the crossover, when you're able to move into the general market and start working for the general market. What means better salaries, better companies, etc. So I started working in an American advertising agency there. And then Saatchi and Saatchi hired me. So I worked in advertising in the States for 10 years. And then he hired me and brought me back to Latin America.

Achim Nowak:

Was I'm curious in during those 10 years in, in the crossover market. The company did you that you worked for did they appreciate the fact that you were Latina? Was that an asset? Did you were you was that? Did they use you to add value from your experience and perspective? What was that like?

Flora Proverbio:

Well, actually, I was hired because I was Latina, because they work for a global client, for Europe, Asian countries, the US, of course, and they had just got the Latin America account. Basically, they will do the same thing. But there were some cultural, you know, like, things that weren't working that well with the client and the client was Argentinian, as I was, actually I was they brought me like to to breach that relationship, you know, to make it work if you're what it did, actually. Yeah. The guy was Argentinian. So he was very happy to have someone from Argentina working in the account.

Achim Nowak:

That's wonderful. And make it makes complete sense that if you're an international company and an international clients, you have international people representing you, right, which is sort of a no brainer. I want to get to the work you're doing now and how you got to it, which is very different or is an evolution of it. But because I happen to respect the Saatchi and Saatchi brand a lot. And if I remember correctly, you're the head of strategic planning in when Osiris for Saatchi and Saatchi for quite a while I think is such insight Saatchi and Saatchi may be compared to other agencies as being a little wilder a little more creative, a little more out there. Is my perception Correct?

Flora Proverbio:

Yes, your perception is correct. And actually, they will not say this office, although when Argentina is a small country very far water very far away from almost everything. It was called Rock one of the jewels of the crown, meaning that it was one of these interesting offices where a lot of interesting work come from. So although I was in painting, I was doing a lot of global work, launching brands, to global meaning low income markets, you know, like, we have two words like the developed world and low income markets worries, almost the whole world. But the US Canada and some countries from Europe, you know, most of the world is a developing world. So I launched some some brands in China in Russia. So it was although I was in Argentina, I was doing global work. And I loved it, it was a lot of fun. Those years were a lot of fun. And it was very interesting to understand. Especially in Russia and China. When I was working, they were coming. They like the communist stage was ending, and they were starting to understand what capitalism was about. So it was a very interesting moment, from a social point of view. That was a great time. And I used to go like very often to China and Russia. And also I was working a lot with Brazil, but Brazil is our neighbor is like, very close, but the main markets were Brazil, China and and Russia.

Achim Nowak:

Just want to test one more thing, and then I'm going to use myself as an example. I am an executive coach in big international companies and I I feel like I often get hired because I'm not American because I'm German, even though I'm very Americanized German. Because the people I get to coach even though they work for American company, people don't see like I'm there to Americanize them. So with you in such instantiate Was it an advantage that they didn't send an American to Moscow or they didn't send an American to China, but they had somebody from Argentina who was from a different part of the world? Was that strategic uncertainty in Southeast part, or was that beneficial?

Flora Proverbio:

It was quite a global team. I think that it wasn't an obstacle, like sometimes it is. But it wasn't like a special skills. You know, I wasn't choose because of that. Like most of the people weren't in the global team. Most of the people weren't American. And actually, my boss or the office that I reported to wasn't in New York, but in London, you know, where you have a lot of global influence. So the fact that I wasn't a Western, at least it wasn't a weakness, like, it usually is. Because, you know, it's not the same thing to be German than to be Argentinian. Sometimes this was funny because, you know, like, I don't look like what people think that Latinos look like you Okay, so um, the Argentinian accent is very much like the Italian accent, like we speak. So it was part of many times it happened to me in the States. For example, if a guy comes and picks it Oh, are you Italian? No, I imagine Tina is like, Ah, you're not that sexy anymore. I think dahlias. Exactly.

Achim Nowak:

Now, I'm sure our listeners are listening to you and the story of this international work, which sounds first of all amazing, say sexy, exciting. And then the obvious question is, why did you move on? Why did you move on to other things? Why did you leave Saatchi and Saatchi,

Flora Proverbio:

Saatchi and Saatchi left me the work was organized, like in five big, big hearts around the world. And then as we move into a more globalized reality, where we really you have to be the mindsets, as I said, develop work and developing work. Suddenly, they they decided to merge a lot of the work that was being done. And all the unit that I work in was closed. And I decided that I didn't want to go back what I was very free working there, because I travel a lot. So I didn't have you know, like a nine to six job that now, no one does. But but then most of the people did. And I didn't want to go and work in an office all day. So I decided to try like a solo career and see where life takes me. I went back to work with social trends, you know, like macro social trends. And there, I realized that the fact that the population was aging was changing everything. Before that, I thought that I was, you know, a 50 plus person. And I realized, for example, that some because I went back to some job interviews. And in some job interviews, I realized that there was some ageism in the corporate culture, what I didn't realize before because I was very busy. So I didn't realize that ageism existed. But when I when I started having interviews, I realized that ageism existed, at the same time, my dad got sick. So I realized what the struggles of having someone that you have to take care of, and the burden of fate. So like many things come together and make me realize that this, these things that are happening to me, are really the things that are shaping society. And I realize how important the fact that we are all going to have long life is and how many things needs to be changed in the way that society is designed, or the world is designed. Because we have always had old people, no platform, the philosopher was old. But most of the people died young. So the fact that now, almost all of us will have an inner having long life was the changes everything changes what how we live the journey of life, how cities need to be designed, how products need to be designed, how we think about the work that we did, how we're going to support ourselves with longer lives. So I realized that that is like the big connecting idea for everything that I want to do. From now on.

Achim Nowak:

There are so many things you just said that I'd like to go deeper into. Let me just start with one and we'll get to the others hopefully. So when you mentioned that you that you personally became more aware of ageism. Let me just test this was it that and I'm using myself again, I remember interviewing for a job when I was 35. So I wasn't old. But I was interviewing for somebody who was 24 it was going to be my boss. And I suddenly felt really old, you know, and I was only 35 Was it that suddenly you were the older woman interviewing with younger people or people, at least United States are not allowed to ask how old you are. But people were sort of curious about how old you are. describe that a little bit.

Flora Proverbio:

Yeah, and also because I was working in advertising, and it was like the tipping point where everything was becoming digital. That everybody assumed that I that I wasn't that skilled in that area because Tai was in my 50, where it wasn't like that, because I was working in China for a long time. So I was not more capable to be the job that needed to be done even more capable than the people that was interviewing me, I thought. But the fact that I wasn't young, meant that I wasn't able to leave a digital pin. And then people had the idea that we're in agencies, during companies, you had all the things that the company was doing. And then you have the digital team. Today, maybe four or five years later, we understand that everything is digital. We don't speak about digital things because everything is digital, if something is not digital, is meant to die.

Achim Nowak:

The word from your sponsor, that's me, I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast www.my, fourth act.com, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own fourth acts. Please check it out. And now back to the conversation. You did such a wonderful job of sort of setting the stage for we're all getting older, we're gonna live longer. And we need to figure out what we're doing during that time. You use the term silver economy not here yet. But the work you do you identify as somebody who wants to make a change in this silver economy. So for somebody who doesn't know the word, celebrate economy, what does that mean to you?

Flora Proverbio:

Savor economy, it means what not to me, but for example, to, you know, like, organizations like the word World Bank, Oxford economy, saver economy is all the economic movement. That comes as a consequence of the demographic transition that humanity is going through. Again, the fact that less babies are born, less babies are born and our lives are longer. It's not only the fact that our lives are longer is the fact that the way in which humanity is structured is changing, because also we have less babies. In 2018, for the first time, in the world, we had more people that are over 65, than children that are under five, you know, so this, this pyramid that is not is not longer a pyramid, although we're still seeing that this shift in the demographic, in the way that humanity is set up from a demographic standpoint, has a lot of impact in our economy. So it's not only selling things to this new old people, we have more people as hey, let's see what we're going to send to them. But it's all the economic movement that comes from, for example, from all the new jobs that are going to be created. All the ecosystem or taking care of the people that are that are not able to take care from themselves, is the fact that we have more enterpreneurs that are over 50 than young enterpreneurs. Although if I say intrapreneur everybody thinks so far hipster that is in his or her 20s. The fact that is successful Venters are more likely to be guided by someone that is over 50 is the fact that we have to rethink corporate cultures and introduce the age perspective into the corporate culture to understand that I don't like to speak about generations, because generations are labels that mean that because you have a certain age, you have certain values and certain skills and certain way of doing that. So I don't like to speak about generations. But we need to think and design work cultures that are age diverse.

Achim Nowak:

You when I write the introduction to you, I use language that you use to describe yourself and you describe yourself as an anti aging activist. An activist is a powerful word. Some people could hear when you're anti aging is oh, I have a lot of cosmetic surgery and keep looking young and I have a feeling that's not what you're talking about. So when you talk about being an anti aging activist languaging what does that mean to you?

Flora Proverbio:

What I In karyam, I try. What I try to be admit, is an anti ageism activist, like the fact that we are all getting older and we are all going to be old, we need to understand that being old is not bad. I hate these, you know, like this idea of like 60, or the new 40s? Have you heard that? Stupid? What does that mean? Without, we have a new way of living our 60s. Because we are healthier, we are stronger we are, we have more projects, like 30 years have been added to our lifespan. And we have the opportunity to fill them with projects with ideas. With more act like you, you speak about this? No, we have more adds a new Act has been added to our life. So I think that we need to be okay with the idea of being old. You know, there's all these ideas like die late the youngest you can be I don't know how you say that it is a stain that people say in Spanish like die, the latest that you can die being the youngest that you can be that is so stupid. What? What does that mean? So I tried to change the narrative about around age. Also, the truth is that I'm 53 and not 85. So sometimes I in my community, I have many older women that sometimes commit or you can say that you make a lot of fun, but come on, you're 53, you're not 90. So you speak you don't even know what you're speaking about. Maybe I do my best, maybe in 20 years, I'm going to say Oh, I was I was so confused.

Achim Nowak:

Well, you started this community called Tatiana's for, if I understand correctly, it's for women in their 50s. And it also first and correctly that you what you just described, which is to investigate the stories we have about aging, and maybe look at what different stories we might have. But you do this collectively. Can you talk a little more about what happens in flat the others I'm curious

Flora Proverbio:

Platja come a flat the other means silver, it comes obviously, because of the braid hair, although is not the act of dyeing your hair kind of thing. But you know, even if you cover your braid here or not, it is there. And it means that you live many years and you have experienced and you have success in some things you have failed, you have learned no. And also I like to say like the silver, we are strong, like the metal, we are strong and we shine on our own. So that is an unbloody has actually started in a very rational way. When I decided to start working in these, when I decided to start working on my own first I thought okay, I'm going to just do freelance doing planning stuff. So I'm going to prepare a paper on this. And I'm going to use the paper to be see potential clients. And I couldn't find find data. So I created a Facebook and an Instagram profile. To start collecting data, I asked questions. So I created a group of women to ask them questions, and I was whatever, then I won't speak to them anymore. But it grew on its own. So first my idea was like, Okay, I'll speak about these. And then I'll speak about some, you know, like some consultants that speak about different stuff that would happen in that community like that I created to collect data was so strong. So I did an event and then whatever COVID came and we and the community grew online and well right now it's not that big either. I have like 1000 women, and we speak about different stuff. And now we speak a lot about sex, like trying to change the ideas and the ideas that we limited ourselves in terms of equality. And also because I have a lot of fun doing that is a subject that that I like a lot so we speak a lot about that but we also speak about Yes, mostly the ideas that constrain ourselves sometimes is something. So, more like saying, at what would make up do you have to use when you are 60? Whatever you want, and they love it. It's such a simple idea you wouldn't make up suits you better when you are 60, the one that you like. And they're like, yeah, no, such a simple idea. But sometimes, when it comes to age is not that obvious, it seems that when you become 5060, you have to become a less vibrant version of what you were.

Achim Nowak:

I know that you have been working on a book about sex and desire and its expression for women as they get older. And you since you just mentioned this, how far along are you in the womb? And what are some things you've learned about sex and desire for women who get older, as you have been writing this book?

Flora Proverbio:

What I plan to have 10 chapters, and I'm in the middle of chapter number nine. quite advanced. And well, actually, I first I wanted to, I didn't decide to write the book, like, people started telling me stories like, oh, you know, Florida, this, I never told this to anyone. There was like, Okay, this is really powerful. First, I wanted to do something lighter. You know, like, heard stories from older woman without thinking that much. But then people started telling me some stories that were really deep, and personnel. And sometimes we struggle then when fun also. So I don't know if it's, if it's going to end up being something like a sociological kind of thing. You know, like, I wanted to make it lighter. But I don't know, I guess I'm not a light and fun person. And so we ended up being like, a little bit more gray. So now as I go through, I'm like, No, this is too, you know, like, too complicated, too. Yeah, too grainy, and I wanted to make something like was more like, about empowerment and fun. So what I learned is that really, they're like, desire, six, six desire, but six desire as a metaphor for the salary, like this desire for life, is something that is very personal, to the first thing that I learned is that I wanted to write about desire to know other women. And I couldn't generalize. You know, like, but I think that that happens in every area of life. As we grow. We become more different one of each other now, as we decide in which direction we want to go. So that was a huge learning. And also, I think that it's interesting, because I feel that we are in a in a tipping point, in terms of older women, sexuality, because we have, well, of course, all the impact of feminism, you know, and changing the rules. Also the place that women in society, our place in society is changing, year after year, like the spaces in which we are allowed to develop ourselves and have fun and enjoy and be ourselves and say, This is what I want. For me, this is what I'm not going to do anymore. This is what I want to do now. So I realized that sex is a metaphor of this big social change. And also the fact that we are getting more educated in everything every year. And sex is one of those areas in which we wouldn't. Women didn't have a we didn't have a lot of information about ourselves before and thanks to social media, we are being increasingly educated and understanding how our bodies work and with information you have power and pleasure.

Achim Nowak:

Oh, that was so beautifully said. Now, I was thinking about the 90 year old woman who said, Oh, Flora, you're only 53 You're not really that old yet. So I want to put this question to you. You just you just spoke so beautifully about growing and discovering new things including sexuality, but even every aspect of life. So based on what you Flora know about yourself at this age. If you look to the future others Some things that you would like to explore that you haven't yet, or there's some things that you go, I want to do less of these things. And what comes up for you, as you think of the next few years and things to play with for yourself,

Flora Proverbio:

Oh, I'm just going to be very original here, I want to work less. I want to work less sexually, I want to explore more floors, more, you know, more people marks, things that I don't even know that exists. And, and I want to have fun, I think that I have always been like, very serious, you know, or like, not allowing me to have just like simple, fun, you know, enjoying life just because so I want to cover less, be less responsible, be more, be less responsible, not really that bad way. But, you know, like understanding that I can't control everything and try to just flow. I guess that's what people want after 50s are not very original.

Achim Nowak:

Well, the question that often comes up for people in the 60s who have had big careers and stop. And I love what you said about wanting to work less, I feel totally the same way. But people always ask so well, what are you going to do with your time? You know, and you have all this time and before your time was structured, but now. So you mentioned some of those things, which I hear just, it's a you're a lot of desire to explore, and have fun. Other other specific activities, hobbies, travels, anything else that's floating around for you.

Flora Proverbio:

Problems? Of course, I would like to work well, I don't know because Kobe and work, the fact is, I work a lot, because a lot of things, I find that they are amazing, interesting. So I find myself entangled in a lot of projects that don't give me money. But, you know, that I'm passionate about. So I think that I have to try to separate like, is this bringing me pleasure or is just work, although I need to survive and pay for my bills, and I have two sons that I need to support. I need to work. Sometimes they come different. Do you know who John price is? Yes. And price. The sex educator for elderly people, I would love to be the Latin American drug price. I hope she heard that I would love to be brutal, I guess that that is work by there is work with a lot of fun and with meaning, I would like to do the meaningful work. And I really don't care that much about helping you know, companies selling shampoo to older people. But sometimes that pays the bills.

Achim Nowak:

So last question based on what you Flora know about life right now. And you've had an very rich life with many amazing experiences. And if you had the chance to give younger Flora has some advice not to change what she doesn't like But based on what you know, now, what would you say to younger flora?

Flora Proverbio:

Don't worry so much for approval. And I would say you are right. Because as time goes by, I realized that in many situations, I was right. But I trusted more what other people said what other people thought or what, what I thought that other people thought and at the end of the day I was right. Sometimes, you know the all that other people that you worry about? They don't exist, they are in your head. You worry about what people would say but then it is Who are those people who exactly you realize that is is no one is just your own self holding you back.

Achim Nowak:

So true. Now, I'm sure there are listeners who want to learn more about the work you do and your work in the silver economy. I know you have a business you have a website. Where would you like to direct people who want to just follow you little more?

Flora Proverbio:

Well, they can for example, find me in Instagram. That is complicated because it's led by Flora proverbial warning, but I guess that if you in Instagram you just write Flora L O or I proverbial p r o v e r B I O I get If you just said that I'm going to appear, you can find me in LinkedIn also for more professional type of thing.

Achim Nowak:

Wonderful.

Flora Proverbio:

Unfortunately, everything is in Spanish but

Achim Nowak:

everything these days so that's that's no barrier whatsoever. I thank you so much for this conversation and for just the the wonderful explorations around getting older that you're doing for your community, but for all of us, really. So, as an man in the 60s, I thank you for what you're doing. Thank you,

Flora Proverbio:

thank you for what you're doing. And I love having this conversation with you.

Achim Nowak:

Thank you so much. Bye bye for now. Like what you heard, please go to my fourth act.com And subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us a review and let us all create some magical fourth acts together. Ciao