Letter from the Publisher

Summer is here, and we can breathe a collective sigh of having winter behind us. Travel is on a comeback. And older adults are on the move again. One study shows that more than half of Americans plan to hit the road (or air) for a summer vacation this year.

There are still many pent-up travel dreams squashed by the pandemic to be fulfilled. If you are thinking “road trip” and are looking for a fun theme, check out our article on great music museums to visit around the country. Fun, fun, fun …

In this Healthy Aging® Magazine issue, as always, we share inspirational and thought-provoking articles on such topics as family relationships, retirement, encore careers, gardening, mental wellness, and more. And, of course, don’t miss the fabulous recipes and gorgeous photography we share from new cookbooks we have discovered. Broiled shrimp cocktail or white chocolate mousse, anyone? Delicious!!

The cover feature for each issue is someone who has either achieved success, changed their life, given back, or overcome adversity. We do not choose someone just because they “turned 50.” Ginni Rometty is our cover feature and checks all of the boxes.

I was personally compelled to read her memoir, Good Power, Leading Positive Change in Our Lives, Work, and World, not only as a woman in business myself but as a daughter of an IBMer who also worked for the company for 40 years.

What is it about a company with a track record of keeping employees for four decades, I wondered.

I was curious if she shared the same passion for changing technology, loyalty, and good character that I saw in my Dad. And did their paths cross somewhere along the line?

Her story is also about how she had to learn self-reliance and independence at a young age when her father deserted her family.

I saw some similarities in their lives. My father, some 34 years older than Rometty, was also born in Chicago and faced a family upheaval early in his life. As a baby, his parents divorced, and his grandparents raised him. However, despite the setback, he grew into an amazingly self-sufficient and loving person.

IBM was known for its dress code. I remember my Dad wearing his gray suit, white shirt, and jacket with a pocket protector for his pens (This was before cell phones, mind you.) Rometty would have preferred to have worn colorful dresses but said she buckled down with tailored suits. She made her style statement with her long hair, always pulled back with a thin headband that she still sports today.

My Dad started with IBM in 1951 after serving in World War II, setting up communication lines in New Guinea under General McArthur, and after attending UCLA at age 16, later finishing at USC. His passion was technology, and he always told me … “Always keep up with technology.” And he was right. Based on her career, Rometty agrees.

There was so much opportunity for IBM-ers who were passionate about technology. Around that time, in the late 1980s, my Dad, based in New York, focused on UPS as a client, helping develop the first hand-held package delivery devices used by the drivers. He retired in 1991.

In 1981, when Rometty started with the company, IBM introduced its first desktop computer for the consumer. Many competitors soon copied it. When I started my business in the early 80s, my Dad encouraged me to get a computer. And so, I did – an IBM PC I bought with a bank loan of $15,000 (including the printer). We’ve come a long way!

But my real takeaway from this story is the fact that both Ginni Rometty and John Worthington overcame early life challenges to thrive at IBM. Yes, she became CEO, and he was a successful senior systems engineer. But it’s a great example of how talent can overcome pedigree in companies that reward the value of good ideas and long-term commitment.

Enjoy this issue and come back for more this fall. We are preparing a fabulous piece on cycling in Tenerife, the Canary Islands – a place you will definitely want to put on your bucket list, especially if you are a cyclist!

publisher letter

Carolyn Worthington, Healthy Aging Magazine publisher


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