SOURCE: Center for Productive Longevity

Center for Productive Longevity

October 08, 2013 09:09 ET

Dr. Ralph Sorenson, 'Visionary Entrepreneur,' to Chair Panel at 'Over 50, Start Anew' Washington, DC, Conference Nov. 7-8

President Emeritus of Babson College, Harvard Faculty Member, Corporate Boards Member, Will Be Joined by Carol Gardner, President, Zelda Wisdom; Jeff Williams, President, Bizstarters and Victor Ahmed, Founder, Innovation Pavilions

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Oct 8, 2013) - With a lifetime of experience to draw on from teaching, building, managing, and directing entrepreneurship, Dr. Ralph Z. Sorenson, President Emeritus of Babson College and founder of its Center for Entrepreneurship in 1978, former dean of the University of Colorado Business School, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston director, and board member of more than a dozen public companies, will bring advice and encouragement to Americans 50 and older (50+) who are ready, willing and able to "start anew" as panel chair on entrepreneurship at the National Conference on the Entrepreneurship Imperative for Engaging People 50 and Older, November 7 and 8, 2013, in Washington, DC.

Three eminently successful entrepreneurs on the panel will be:
Carol Gardner, creator of Zelda Wisdom, Inc., in Portland, Ore., which leaped from a few personal greeting cards assembled in her living room featuring her English bulldog Zelda to Hallmark's top-selling card line in 2006, leading Charlie Gibson of ABC's Good Morning America to declare Zelda "the industry's top dog." 

Entrepreneur Jeff Williams, founder, CEO and chief coach of in Chicago, Ill., who left the corporate world after 20 years at age 39 to start his first business, Go Smart Business Start-Up Center, which evolved into Bizstarters in 1999. His company focuses on helping people 50+ launch new businesses.

Victor Ahmed, chairman and founder of Innovation Pavilion in Denver, Colo., which has housed more than 70 start-up companies in the last year and plans to open ten more centers across the United States, and CEO of Business Genetics in Englewood, who will share his strategic vision on entrepreneurship.

"A panel this strong is intended to provide encouragement, energy and enthusiasm for Americans 50+ to create a new business at a time when few options to continue working are available because of high unemployment and low economic growth," said William Zinke, president of the Center for Productive Longevity, the non-profit organizer of the National Conference. "Entrepreneurship is the driver of the U.S. economy, and this is an opportunity for these people to become drivers." 

Zinke noted that there are 99 million Americans 50+, almost one-third of the total U.S. population, many of whom want or need to continue working. 

"This is a large and growing talent pool with experience, expertise, seasoned judgment and proven performance that must be tapped for their individual benefit and in the national interest," he said.

The purpose of the National Conference is to attract thought leaders from business, government, academia and non-profits to discuss and reach agreement on actions necessary to encourage and stimulate substantially more new-business creation by Americans 50+. The meeting will conclude with a Call to Action, discussed and agreed upon by participants. CPL will be committed to facilitate its implementation within 12 months following the event.

The National Conference will feature other noted speakers and panelists, including:

  • Carl Schramm, described by The Economist as "the evangelist of entrepreneurship," who is an economist, entrepreneur, president emeritus of the Kauffman Foundation, and Syracuse University professor;
  • Sergio Arzeni, director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship in Paris;
  • Technology trailblazer Candace Johnson, co-founder of SES ASTRA and SES, the world's pre-eminent satellite system;
  • D. Bruce Merrifield, former Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs and chaired professor of entrepreneurship at The Wharton School;
  • Zoltan Acs, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy and professor at George Mason University; and,
  • Donna Kelley, Babson College associate professor of entrepreneurship and a director of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which conducts an annual global survey on entrepreneurship.

(For media registration and for expanded biographies of conference speakers and panelist, please visit

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