Historically women have bonded together in groups to support and learn from each other. If the need and momentum is there, some grassroots groups grow into organizations. The Transition Network evolved from a small group of women who came together to talk about needing support and connection to navigate life transitions. The spirit of that group launched an organization that now has thirteen chapters across the USA. TTN is an organization for women 50 and forward who are going through transition, and exploring what’s next in their personal and professional lives. Women join TTN to meet other interesting women, get a fresh perspective on their own opportunities, learn about resources and supports and explore new possibilities. They often discover that they are energized by the opportunity to define this new period of healthy older adulthood.
It was 2007, at the first Positive Aging Conference in Florida, that I met Mona Kreaden, a founding member of TTN, who described an organization that welcomed and supported women 50 and forward and helped them connect, socialize and grow through transition. I thought, “We need this in Boston.” But I was not able to pick up the ball.
Sowing the seeds
Four years later my path crossed with Betsy Werley, who was, at that time, Executive Director of The Transition Network. Betsy reintroduced me to TTN and to Mary Klein, chair of the Philadelphia chapter. With their encouragement, support, and mentorship, the seeds of Boston TTN were sown. In November 2012, Gail Ellis and Susan Crown signed up for the ride, and together, we committed to starting the Boston TTN chapter. The word was out that TTN was coming to Boston.
With a small but hard-working steering committee sharing roles and responsibilities, we envisioned a vital chapter—one that fostered connection as we navigated and grew through transition and throughout life. Fifty women attended the first Mix&Mingle eager to share, learn and connect.
Over the next several months, similar get-togethers were held and membership grew. In October 2013 Boston proudly became an official Chapter of The Transition Network with close to 75 members.
The heart of TTN
Over the next several months, volunteer committees were formed around essential areas such as communication, programs and peer groups, the heart of TTN.
Some women join a peer group for support around a specific life transition such as retirement, divorce, widowhood or empty nest and move on once that transition is navigated. Others come for connection that often results in lasting friendship and support as they grow together through various transitions. One of the original peer groups continues to meet after almost two years and never runs out of interesting and relevant topics. Bonds are deepened in the sharing while traveling similar paths.
Wide-ranging programs, including Jan Hively
A cornerstone of TTN is programming. Many interesting and informative programs have been held over the past few years including a March 2014 evening at WGBH with Rebecca Eaton, Executive Producer of Public TV’s Masterpiece Theater, sharing her journey and experience. In April 2014 we co-hosted a program with Suffolk University Alumni Association featuring Abigail Trafford, author of My Time: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life. Members’ interests drive the planning and programs range from sexuality after 50, sleep disorders and career issues to volunteering and many others.
A range of programs have been planned based on member interests including: sexuality after 50, sleep disorders, careers, and volunteering and many others.
In April 2016, Jan Hively, who co-founded the Pass It On Network with Moira Allan, met with a small group of women to talk about the presence and impact of role models in our lives. Jan shared the chronology of her own life and the impact of various role models at different phases. She encouraged us to talk about significant role models who had shaped our lives. An awareness and appreciation of the mostly female role models was experienced by many in the group. Learning from the sharing of others is always valuable and women tend to do that very well.
In addition to programs, the chapter has supported the growth of special interest groups that developed based on member interests. Women meet periodically to participate in cultural events, theater, music and museums, learning, food and, most important, they come together to have fun and enjoy the many activities and opportunities in the Boston area.
Although the steering committee plans, organizes and grows the chapter, our vision for TTN Boston is to be a member-driven organization with a mission to engage women 50 and forward through events, activities, and discussions that foster community, friendship, growth and support.
With the support of the national organization and the contributions of members and the steering committee, TTN Boston is now a thriving, organization looking forward to continuing to grow and help women create the best, next chapter of their lives!
Roberta Taylor, RNCS, M.Ed. is founder and Co-Chair of the Boston Chapter of The Transition Network. She is an experienced psychotherapist, board-certified coach, retirement transition coach, author, and speaker. Roberta Taylor and Dori Mintzer co-authored The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle: 10 Must-Have Conversations for Creating an Amazing New Life Together.