Modern Elders and Wisdom@Work

Coming up on the next season of In The Spirit of Things we talk ending Ageism starts with recognising contribution, value and wisdom. A series of great guests will unpack this important subject and how we can all contribute to ending Ageism.


A recent report released today by the Australian Human Rights Commission has found most Australians (90%) agree ageism exists in Australia, with 83% agreeing ageism is a problem and 65% saying it affects people of all ages.


These findings were included in the Commission’s latest report, led by Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson AO, What’s age got to do with it? A snapshot of ageism across the Australian lifespan.


The report found ageism remains the most accepted form of prejudice in Australia, with 63% having experienced ageism in the last five years.


“Ageism is arguably the least understood form of discriminatory prejudice, with evidence suggesting it is more pervasive and socially accepted than sexism or racism,” Dr Patterson said.


The research was undertaken by the Commission in 2020 and 2021 to explore what Australians think about age and ageism across the adult lifespan. It found ageism is experienced in different ways:

  • Young adults (18-39) are most likely to experience ageism as being condescended to or ignored, particularly at work.

  • Middle-aged people (40-61) are most likely to experience ageism as being turned down for a job.

  • Older people (62+) are more likely to experience ageism as being ‘helped’ without being asked.

It also shows the generations have much in common – but that there are ongoing tensions, which arise from stereotypes held by one generation about another.


We are delighted to welcome Chip Conley s a guest on In The Spirit Of Things when we will unpack the Importance of Intergenerational Collaboration.

Chip Conley joined the tiny tech start-up Airbnb nearly a decade ago after a successful career as a boutique hotel company founder and CEO. He was twice the age of the average Airbnb employee which earned him the title "Airbnb's Modern Elder" who was as curious as he was wise. As the internal mentor to the young Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, Chip got to see the value of intergenerational collaboration in a company that has now grown to be the most valuable hospitality company in the world.


His bestselling book "Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder" is a testament to rethinking the value of having 5 generations in the workplace and why more companies are doing their best to encourage their older workers to stay in the workplace longer. Chip's Modern Elder Academy has more than 2,000 alums who've come to the Mexican beachfront campus and MEA will be opening two campuses in Santa Fe, New Mexico soon.

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