Such is the case for Dr. Linda Brodsky, an internationally renowned pediatric ENT surgeon whose 30+-year personal career and achievements turned suddenly public when she came forward with claims of gender discrimination in her workplace. After 10 years of exhausting legal and professional battles, Dr. Brodsky is now transforming the lessons she learned into a movement and online community for medical professionals everywhere. Here is how she's doing it.
The goal is lofty: "Expediting the Inevitable" aims to promote gender equity in the healthcare marketplace by engaging female physicians, their employers, and the surrounding communities. The challenge for Brodsky's brainchild is that it must encourage Boomers in top-level positions to lead the way and make room for the next generation.
Dr. Brodsky's platform is not unique in that it straddles generations. It is unique, however, in the fact that it promotes something that was once at the forefront of the Boomer agenda but has now fallen by the wayside. Complicating the issue is that many Gen-Xers, Yers, and the like see the world as mostly equal or "equal enough."
Reaching Boomers with the "Inevitable":
Using the right words. Advocating feminism in the traditional sense can sometimes be seen as an outdated and aggressive tactic. Dr. Brodsky instead approaches the subject with softer, (almost) politically correct terms like "gender equity," "gender bias" and "gender stereotyping" that will get the point across while reminding Boomers of their bra-"burning" days. Promoting the agenda in a positive light may encourage even the most on-the-fence feminists (and men!) to join the cause.
The lesson: Choose words that make your point, but indicate progression. The Boomer crowd drawn to the "Inevitable" will be hip enough to adapt and to use the new language to promote the cause.
Look back, but think future. Dr. Brodsky and her team have been careful to pay homage to the past -- the women who have paved the way for others in medicine -- while looking to the future. Mentioning, celebrating and capitalizing on the past achievements of women evoke Boomers' nostalgia for the days when women were trailblazers in medicine, not half of a med school class. The messaging on the site is current -- imploring users to join the cause on Facebook, Twitter and the like -- and has the power to overcome the generational divide.
The lesson: Remind Boomers of how far they've come, but also of how much farther there is to go.
Promote "it's never too late." Dr. Brodsky reinvented herself in her 50s, which is no easy task. By tracking her transformation from surgeon to gender equity leader (and taking some snazzy new photos to boot), Brodsky proves to Boomers that second acts can happen. Though Brodsky has yet to leave her practice behind, she has concretized the next stage of her life via the "Inevitable."
The lesson: Boomers who are contemplating retirement may feel that reinvention is no longer in the cards. Use marketing to inspire Boomers to reexamine their lifestyles, their goals and their missions.
Speak the truth. Above all, the "Inevitable" is a place for facts on gender discrimination in healthcare, the success stories of women and a community of likeminded individuals working for a cause. Dr. Brodsky was careful to seek out proper documentation and backup for every claim made on the site.
The lesson: Savvy Boomers want facts to back up all of the claims put forward by today's media. Without hard numbers and research reports (self-published and otherwise), "Expediting the Inevitable" would be just another blog with just another cause.
To effectively reach out to and connect with Boomers, remind them of the achievements of their past, but don't dwell on them. This is a generation whose hard work and determination laid the groundwork for today's marketplace and its effect will be felt for generations to come.